My Interests

    I have standing interests in (broadly analytic) epistemology, phenomenology (esp. Husserl), applied ontology, the metaphysics of function (especially biological function), the life and work of Walter Kaufmann, and topics related to the philosophy of health and medical humanities.

    My dissertation is in the area of contemporary analytic epistemology and focused on the issue of a priori justification, though with lengthy excursions into issues in internalism and externalism (about both justification and content), and drawing heavily on ideas from the phenomenological tradition at times, especially the work of Edmund Husserl.

     More recently my interests in epistemology have shifted squarely to issues of epistemic justification (esp. internalism and externalism) and how these are affected by and affect the agency of epistemic subjects, especially in relation to the phenomena of dogmatism, confabulation, and gaslighting. I am also interested in phenomenal conservatism as a position about epistemic justification.

    I am the co-author of a book in the area of applied ontology, focusing on ways in which philosophical metaphysics and logic can be used to organize large amounts of data, especially scientific and biomedical data, in computerized or electronic formats. In relation to this work I have interests in the metaphysics and epistemology of science, and have recently begun focusing on the metaphysics of function, especially biological function.

    I am also interested in the phenomena of trust and of depersonalization as these are realized in the context of medical care and treatment, an interest that has recently lead to some presentations on these topics at Western Michigan University’s annual Medical Humanities Conference.

    I have a standing interest in both phenomenology and existentialism. In phenomenology my interest is on the work of Edmund Husserl and on developments of Husserl’s ideas in the 20th Century by thinkers such as Maurice Natanson, Aron Gurwitsch, and Alfred Schutz. 

    In existentialism my interests are more eclectic and fall largely on the side of personal interest and teaching. The exception to this is that I maintain the Walter Kaufmann web-site project; a web-site devoted to the life and work of the Princeton philosopher Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980), who was instrumental in revitalizing Nietzsche scholarship and in introducing existentialism to the English speaking world. Kaufmann also wrote a number of original philosophical works on issues in the philosophy of religion, philosophy of art, existentialism and political philosophy.  The web-site can be found here.

Current Projects

I am currently working on issues at the intersection of agency and epistemology such as dogmatism, confabulation, self-deception, and gaslighting. Results of this work thus far appear in my essays “Epistemic Dimensions of Gaslighting: Peer-Disagreement, Self-Trust, and Epistemic Injustice”, and  “Gaslighting, Confabulation, and Epistemic Innocence”. For near-future research I am particularly interested in how some of these phenomena, especially gaslighting, might be deployed in social and political contexts.

I am also interested in issues at the intersection of biomedical ethics and the philosophy of health. In particular, I am working on an essay exploring the nature and limits of patients’ trust in their physicians, and on sources of depersonalization in medical practice.

I am also continuing to work, in part in connection with interests in the philosophy of health, on the metaphysics/ontology of function. This research takes its point of departure from my co-authored essay (with Barry Smith and Werner Ceusters) “Functions in Basic Formal Ontology” (Applied Ontology 11(2), 2016).