My primary areas of research are Augustine, Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, Ordinary Language Philosophy (especially the thought of Stanley Cavell), and Philosophy and Popular Culture. Much of my research to date in the history of philosophy has focused on issues associated with questions about cognition in later medieval philosophy, for example, intentionality, sensation and knowledge of the singular. The reason for this focus is my suspicion that the precise contours of Descartes’ indebtedness to Late Scholastic thought are still not well understood due to a failure to appreciate some distinctive turns made in discussions concerning the intellect in the 15th and 16th centuries. My writing on popular culture–tv shows, music, comic books, etc.–allows me to explore some interests I have in contemporary philosophy, including the social context in which philosophy finds itself. Recent published work includes an essay on Zabarella and regressus
theory (in the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
), an essay on comic book heroes and modernity in a volume of essays edited by William Irwin and Jorge Gracia
, an essay on the Beatles and the practice of philosophy
, an essay on Veronica Mars and Skepticism
, and the volumes James Bond and Philosophy
(co-edited with Jacob M. Held), Buffy Goes Dark
(co-edited with Lynn Edwards and Elizabeth Rambo) and Mad Men and Philosophy
(co-edited with Rod Carveth). My most recent published work, with Jacob M. Held is a co-edited book entitled Philosophy and Terry Pratchett
for Palgrave-Macmillan. I sometimes blog at andphilosophy.com. For the last eleven years, I have edited the journal Philosophy and Theology
. I have also begun coursework as an Academic Candidate at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute.
You can find more information about my publications at my bepress.com
I regularly teach undergraduate courses in Social and Political Philosophy. My interests there are directed at the development of the modern tradition of political thought from Machiavelli to Mill and the criticism of that tradition begun by Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and others. I also regularly teach a course on the history and philosophy of crime and punishment. I have recently developed several new courses. One, “Philosophy and Popular Culture,” explores several philosophical issues associated with popular culture, while also looking closely at various ways of thinking about the discipline of philosophy. Another, “Philosophy and Film,” takes as its central text Stanley Cavell’s Cities of Words
. Another, “Conceiving the Subject,” look at various texts from 20th century literature and thought to see how we can best approach the vexed question of the notion of ‘the subject.’ I am especially concerned in this course with making problematic the notion of ‘authenticity’ by focusing on several challenges stemming from the work of Freud, Wittgenstein, Adorno, and others. On the graduate level, I often teach a Plato course, specialized courses on Augustine, Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy (“Franciscan Philosophy,” “Humanism and Platonism in the Renaissance”), and a course on Marx and Moral Theory. Most recently, I developed a course on the thought of Cora Diamond and Stanley Cavell. For many years I taught a freshman seminar in the honors program on the work of Joss Whedon.