- Kant's Organicism: Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Review of Kant and the Concept of Community, edited by Charlton Payne and Lucas Thorpe, North American Kant Society Studies in Philosophy, vol. 9 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2011), in The Goethe Yearbook, vol. 20, 2013.
- "Intuition and Nature in Kant and Goethe," European Journal of Philosophy Vol. 19:3, Fall 2011.
- “Understanding Affinity: Locke on Generation and the Task of Classification,” Locke Studies Vol. 11, Fall 2011: 49-71.
- "Material Unity and Natural Organism in Locke, " Idealistic Studies Vol. 40, No. 1-2, Fall 2010.
- “‘The Key to All Metaphysics’: Kant’s Letter to Herz, 1772” Kantian Review Vol. 13, Fall 2007.
- Review of Kant’s System of Nature and Freedom: Selected Essays by Paul Guyer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, http://ndpr.nd.edu, Summer, 2006.
- “Kant and the Problem of Idealism: On the Significance of the Göttingen Review,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 44, No. 2, Summer 2006.
- “Morality and Politics in Kant’s Philosophy of History” in Toward Greater Human Solidarity: Options for a Plural World, ed. Anindita Balslev (Kolkata: Dasgupta & Co, PVT. Ltd, 2005).
- “Between Sense and Thought: Synthesis in Kant’s Deductions,” Epoché. A Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. 10, No. 1, Fall 2005.
- “Kant on Truth,” Idealistic Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2, Fall 2004.
“Kant’s Early Views on Race,” invited talk, Department of Philosophy, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., February 1, 2013.
“Kant’s Organic Legacy,” invited seminar (3 lectures), Department of Comparative Literature, SUNY Buffalo, March 26-28, 2013.
“From Gray’s Electrified Boy to Shelley’s Frankenstein: Experimental Physics and the Case for Animal Electricity in the Age of Organicism,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Cleveland, Ohio, April 4-7, 2013.
Workshop on Kant’s Organicism. Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy, respondent, Institute for Philosophy, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, May 29, 2013.
“System and Organism in the Critique of Pure Reason,” keynote talk, Leuven Kant Conference, Leuven, Belgium, May 31, 2013.
“The Poem as Plant: Philosophy, Science, and Literature in the Age of Goethe,” invited talk, annual meeting of the Hermeneutics Society, Freiburg, Germany, June 28, 2013.
I am interested in the philosophy, science, and intellectual history of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. My research profile represents a mixture of highly focused, specialist work on Enlightenment figures such as Locke and Kant, and broadly interdisciplinary investigations, ones crossing the boundaries between philosophy, anthropology, and the history of science. I currently have two large projects in development. The first project, Kant’s Organic Legacy: Morality, History, and Art from Kant to Hegel, carries forward the discussion begun in Kant’s Organicism (Chicago, 2013). Part I traces the impact of Kant’s organic theory of reason on the development of the critical system between 1784 and 1798. Part II demonstrates the precise manner by which Kant’s theories, viewed through the lens of his organicism, make sense of their reception and transformation by the German Idealists. The second project, Heredity and Race: Historical Contributions to the Idea of Race from Kant to Darwin, investigates the historical turn to racial difference as a means for understanding both generation and heredity between the 17th- and 19th-centuries. After opening chapters on Maupertuis and Buffon, the book takes up Kant’s anthropological essays on heredity and race with chapters devoted to Kant’s engagement with Buffon, Herder, and Forster. The end chapters discuss Darwin’s account of the inheritance of traits and the subsequent eugenics movement before closing with an overview of 20th-century anthropological discussions of race, including its most current conception as a category resulting from notions of “folk heredity.”
Download Complete CV: Curriculum Vitae
- PHIL 502: Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
This course will offer a close reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The first Critique appeared in the Spring of 1781 and was immediately attacked for embracing variously the skepticism of Hume and the idealism of Berkeley. Stung by his critics, Kant took the opportunity for a second edition to rewrite central portions of his argument; the publication in 1787 of this “B-edition” sparked scholarly debates that continue to this day. Our goal in this class will be to gain a solid grasp of Kant’s epistemic project as it develops from Kant’s initial attempts to redefine metaphysics as a “science of limits” in the 1760s to his fully developed account of the limits and extent of reason in 1787.
- PHIL 103: Introduction to Ethics (Writing Intensive)
This semester we are going to examine different traditions within the history of ethics with the aim of providing a good, first grounding in basic moral theory. The readings chosen for the course will present us with a variety of perspectives from which we will draw our weekly discussions—Aristotle, Epictetus, Boethius, Hume, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche—and the focus throughout will be on the ongoing attempt to reconcile conduct and character when discussing the basis of morality.
- PHIL 474: Kant’s Practical Philosophy
This course will be devoted to a comprehensive review of Kant’s practical philosophy. As an introduction to Kant’s technical understanding of the roles assigned to “Providence” and “Reason,” the course will open with some shorter essays meant to establish the relationship between reason and history. From that point we will concentrate on each of the major ethical and social and political works written by Kant in the 1780s and ’90s. Special attention will be paid to Kant’s developing understanding of the relationship between freedom and law, and the consequences this will have when connecting reason and nature both from Kant’s own perspective, and from those of his German Idealist successors.
- STS/HIST 428: The Darwinian Revolution
Although Darwin’s name is present everywhere in church and state debates regarding the teaching of evolutionary theory, few people have actually read any Darwin for themselves. By way of introduction, the course will open with two biographical accounts: Janet Browne’s biography of the Origin, and Darwin’s own autobiography. By the end of this semester you will be fully versed in Darwin’s theories of natural and sexual selection, and you should have a good idea of the exciting developments and remaining challenges facing contemporary evolutionary theory in terms of taxonomy, evo-devo, and the new science surrounding epigenetics.
- PHIL 473: German Idealism
German Idealism coalesced in the 1790s as a concerted effort on the part of some of its main “players” during that decade—the Schlegel brothers, Hölderlin, and Schelling—to break free of Enlightenment thinking, and above all of the methodological approach taken by Immanuel Kant, in order to establish an entirely new set of grounds for philosophy. Kant’s critical system had been dominated by the issues of nature, freedom, and art and his German Idealist successors worked, therefore, to redefine these issues without recourse to the presuppositions and limits set by Kant with respect to cognition and its objects. While this yielded individual studies devoted to nature and freedom, these independent lines of inquiry intersected in the study of art. Starting from Kant’s provocative suggestions regarding the parallels existing between artistic productions and organic life in the Critique of Judgment (1790), the German Idealist thinkers turned to art as the paradigmatic site of possibility for both rethinking the connections between freedom and nature, and establishing the new methodological approach that this rethinking would require. In order to provide some historical background to the state of aesthetic theory as the German Idealists would have come to know it, the course begins with time devoted to the classic accounts established by Winkelmann, Lessing, and Schiller before taking up specific works by Schlegel, Hölderlin, and Schelling.
- STS/HIST 124: History of Medicine
The manner in which a society understands and treats health and illness reveals not only the state of that society’s knowledge, it reflects its values, ideals, governing assumptions, and social hierarchies. This course serves as an introduction to the history of medicine in the Western world viewed from this broad perspective. We will examine major developments in the understanding of health, illness, medical treatment, and medical practice from ancient times to the present. Relying on both primary and secondary sources, the course will explore such themes as the changing status of medical practitioners, the experience of patients in different historical settings, artistic depictions of illness and healing, and the increasingly prominent role of medicine in public policy in order to better understand the links between medicine and its social, cultural, intellectual, and political contexts.
- PHIL 108w: Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy (Writing Intensive)
What does it mean to govern? From the perspective of many social and political theorists, the place to start answering this question is with the creation of a set of rules that will form the basis of a government. That said, it is the subsidiary questions—who will come up with these rules, how will the rules function over time as national circumstances change, who will enforce the rules, what can be done when there is disagreement about the rightfulness of the rules—that require the most careful attention, since the answers to these questions will produce a constitution, a congressional and judiciary system, and the bureaucratic infrastructure that will be necessary for the implementation of a society’s governing rules. And there’s more to governing than just this, for a nation also has to be prepared for the possibility of war, perhaps even revolution. It has to think about the political tensions involved in the need for the government to control its citizenry—to literally govern them—and the need to protect their liberty at the same time. A nation has to have an expansive moral horizon, that is, an ability to expand its conception of liberty in a manner that will allow it to become increasingly inclusive. And government, in response to this kind of progress in a nation’s moral sentiments, has to be able to respond: to end the slave trade, to enfranchise women, and most pressingly today, to protect the environment under the shelter of law.
- PHIL 202: Medieval Philosophy
Although Medieval philosophy is traditionally centered upon the many important works produced by Christian writers during the mid to late Middle Ages—Abelard, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham among others—the acknowledged starting point for the Medieval philosophical tradition is Neoplatonism, and indeed Thomas Aquinas’ own great fame lay precisely in his reconciliation of Neoplatonism and Aristotle when it came to establishing Christian doctrine for the church. There were, however, other strands of Medieval philosophy, ones leading more directly from the Neoplatonists—Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus—and focusing on the more mystical elements of Christian spirituality. For these writers, the starting point of their reflections lay in Plato’s dialogues and in the Timaeus in particular. It is this trajectory which we will be tracing this semester, as we aim to chart the course of Greek thinking within the Medieval philosophical tradition.
- PHIL 202: Modern Philosophy
- PHIL 403: Environmental Ethics
- PHIL 122: Philosophy of History
- PHIL 432: Bioethics
- PHIL 118: Environmental Ethics
- PHIL 432: Bioethics