The Distinctiveness of Polyamory 

The Journal of Applied Philosophy (DOI: 10.1111/japp.12240)


Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy. To render it palatable to critics, activists and theorists often accentuate its similarity to monogamy. I argue that this strategy conceals the distinctive character of polyamorous intimacy. A more discriminating account of polyamory helps me answer objections to the lifestyle whilst noting some of its unique pitfalls. In section two, I define polyamory, and explain why people pursue this lifestyle. Many think polyamory is an inferior form of intimacy and, in section three, I describe four of their main objections. In section four, I explain how commitment to “the polyamorous possibility” prompts one to viscerally experience personal, practical, and social constraints. Unlike monogamous dynamics, these confrontations are mediated by third parties who destabilize the familiar dynamics of coupled life. Polyamory can be emotionally challenging but, as I outline in section five, it is sustained by interpersonal emotional work that helps people feel and understand their emotions, communicate without confrontation, and contain the difficult emotions of others. This work is qualitatively and quantitatively intensified in polyamory. In sections six and seven, I rebut objections to polyamory whilst also acknowledging the ways polyamory has its own pitfalls. 

I talk about some of this work here

Reconsidering the Soteriological Significance of Sunyavada 

The Journal of Contemporary Buddhism, 2014, Vol. 15 Issue 2. 


The doctrine of emptiness is of significant soteriological importance for the Madhyamaka Buddhism. Therefore it is a reasonable prima facie demand that interpretations of emptiness must accord with this fact. This hermeneutic consideration has been taken to present particular problems for Mark Siderits’ semantic interpretation of the doctrine of emptiness. This paper examines Siderits’ attempted reconciliation of his semantic interpretation of the doctrine of emptiness with its purported soteriological aspects. I question whether Siderits can successfully respond to these problems in order to adequately incorporate the hermeneutic requirement. I argue that the semantic view is not immune to the problems that it was formulated to avoid. It too can be asserted. What is more, the semantic view can generate its own particular forms of attachment which can obscure soteriological goals. These conclusions lead me to question the general project of trying to develop a soteriologically efficacious interpretation of doctrine of emptiness in the first place.