Éliot Litalien

I am currently a PhD candidate in philosophy at McGill University. I also hold a MA in philosophy and a BA in political science and philosophy, both from Université de Montréal.


My primary research interests are situated at the intersection of political philosophy and social ontology. The central argument developed in my dissertation is that certain groups can qualify as (collective) agents and that their qualifying as agents means that their agency can be thwarted through interference, domination or oppression. This should raise normative concerns and, I argue, the fact of this arbitrary interference or domination offers legitimate normative grounds for the recognition of collective rights to (at least some of) the groups qualifying as agents. For instance, collective rights to self-determination for cultural or national minorities can be conceived as rights seeking to ensure free agency to group agents that could otherwise encounter arbitrary interference and domination.


I am also more generally interested in the notion of agency and what its protection and promotion could mean for political philosophy. For instance, at the moment, I am working on a paper in which I argue that the wrong-making feature of relational inequalities is to be located in the effects they have on one’s agency and that one of the mechanisms through which inegalitarian relations hinder or reduce individuals’ agency is by undermining their self-respect. In other words, this paper is interested in identifying (one of) the source(s) of our normative concern with relational inequalities. I contend that one of the reasons we have to think that relational inequalities are wrong is based on the value we see in free agency.


In short, my primary philosophical interests express a concern about the relation between normative theory and society.