Education: Ph.D., University of South Carolina (Philosophy); M.A., Boston College (Philosophy)
How Long at COC: Since January 2007.
Philosophical Interests: I have published and given talks on topics such as existentialism, free will, the philosophy of religion, just war theory, minority rights, free speech, tolerance, and the nature of evil. I specialize in the work of Søren Kierkegaard, modern and contemporary German philosophy (particularly the German Idealist tradition and the thought of Jϋrgen Habermas), free will, and self-deception. I am also very interested in the work of Karl Jaspers and process philosophers like Alfred North Whitehead. I am a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Søren Kierkegaard society.
Teaching Philosophy: At its simplest, philosophy is a rational dialogue about the most pressing and thought-provoking questions that face human beings. For instance: Do we have free will? Does a god exist? What is the relation between the mind and the body? What can we know? What is justice? What is the difference between a right and a wrong decision? As a professional philosopher, my job is never to teach people what to believe about such topics, and I do not tell students what I personally believe about specific beliefs. Instead, my aim is to help them to think more clearly about what they believe and why they believe it. Being able to think intelligently about these matters empowers a person to make wiser decisions and to live as a free individual in society. Philosophy also prepares people for any discipline or profession because unlike other subjects, it does not tell us what to think, but how to think well.