My name is Frédérick Armstrong and I am a PhD candidate in philosophy at McGill University. In spite of my last name, I am Francophone (but you can call me Fred). I grew up in Montréal and I went to F.A.C.E., a bilingual musical high school, where I saw that it was possible to bring together two solitudes and a sizeable immigrant population in harmony—literally. This unique experience provided me with a rare and valuable perspective on inter-group relations in advanced democracies. These relations are at the heart of my doctoral research.
My most important work, my thesis Minoritization and Vulnerability: New Foundations of a Non-Ideal Theory of Multiculturalism, is an exercise in contemporary political philosophy where I do two main things. (1) I defend an original terminology to characterize the subjects of multiculturalism. (2) I propose new normative foundations to support multicultural policies. In sum, my argument is that multiculturalism should cover all “minoritized groups”—not “minorities” or “cultures”—as well as other social groups that are vulnerable to minoritization. This significantly expands the scope of multiculturalism, but my claim is that it clarifies its normative groundings. This research is conducted with the support of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholarship of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Lately, I have turned my attention to the concept of vulnerability, on which I plan to work for the next 3-5 years. For the time being, my main focus in on conceptual issues. The best question to summarize this project is: Vulnerability: What is it and what do we want it to be, given our normative commitments and practices? To conduct this research, I engage with contemporary political philosophy, feminist theory, care ethics, bioethics, philosophy of law and metaphysics.
As the last two paragraphs illustrate, pluralism is important to me. Pluralism in society, but also pluralism in methodologies and theoretical perspectives. I strongly believe in the virtues of interdisciplinarity. In keeping my work informed by other areas of philosophy as well as other social sciences, I hope to develop and clarify concepts that already play important roles in the struggle for justice and fairness.