Dr. Richardson works on practical reasoning and moral & political philosophy.
His earliest work defended the possibility of reasoning about final ends, a topic that he approached both systematically and by engaging historically with the work of Aristotle, Plato, and Sidgwick. He then brought this work to bear in political philosophy, developing an account of how our reasoning with one another in institutional contexts can make democracy (rule by the people) possible. His interest in how institutions and practices shape and allocate people’s moral and deliberative responsibilities has since given rise to a range of work in ethical theory. In bioethics, he has led the way in pioneering discussions of specification and balancing of moral principles on the one hand, and the question of medical researchers’ special ancillary-care obligations to participants on the other. In moral philosophy more broadly, he has been working on how we, the members of the moral community, can exercise our authority to establish new moral norms.