Associate Professor Department of Philosophy Boston University
I work in ethics and nineteenth-century philosophy. I'm currently working on a cluster of questions concerning the relationships between meaning, nihilism, fanaticism, and sacred values. My paper "Fanaticism and Sacred Values" is a good introduction to these topics; it argues that fanaticism arises from a particular type of psychological and evaluative fragility. Another paper, "Fugitive Pleasure and the Meaningful Life," discusses Nietzsche's view on the connection between sacred values, nihilism, and happiness.
Most of my work has focused on topics at the interface of ethics and philosophy of mind, including the way in which normative claims might be justified; the nature of self-consciousness; the nature of agency; the notion of drive; and the concepts of free agency and unified agency.
I address these topics in part by mining the work of certain eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophers. I draw especially on the work of Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, arguing that by appropriating and developing aspects of their accounts, we can gain insight into the above topics.
As these remarks may indicate, I treat the history of philosophy not merely as a subject of antiquarian interest, but as a wellspring of ideas containing the resources to shape debates currently at the forefront of our field.