My research is primary in the history of philosophy, in particular 17th and 18th Century Philosophy and Post-Kantian European Philosophy. In terms of traditions and thinkers, my research areas include Early Modern Philosophy (especially Descartes and Spinoza), Kant, German Idealism, and Phenomenology (especially Husserl and Heidegger). I also have longstanding interests in art and aesthetics, as well psychology and political philosophy (especially Marxism).
In recent years, my work has more narrowly focused on Kant’s theory of understanding and the many challenges posed to Kant’s theory by the hermeneutical accounts of understanding provided by the philosophies of Heidegger and Gadamer. Drawing on these latter two thinkers, I ultimately argue for two main theses: (1) that the representing viajudgment that Kant argued allows us to grasp sensible particulars in fact marks a derivative or secondary form of understanding, and (2) what enables understanding, including understanding by way of judgment, is an interpretive context that allow objects to appear in light of our (historically and socially situated) existential self-making.
Going forward, I have become interested in the philosophy dialogue between Fanon and Sartre and, in particular, Fanon’s criticism of Sartrean phenomenology that it fails to appreciate the unique way in which the condition of colonialism structures self-understanding and social interaction. The question that I have been pursuing most recently is: to what extent Fanon’s philosophy forces phenomenology, specifically the Husserlian tradition of phenomenology in which Sartre works, to rethink some of its basic philosophical commitments regarding how we grasp the self’s relation to itself and others? I aim to discern whether phenomenology can successfully incorporate Fanon’s insights and re-work itself, or whether Fanon’s work has shown that, due to the limitations of its approach, phenomenology cannot accomplish one of its chief aims: to provide a compelling account of the self and the way it relates to others.
Teaching in 2022-23
PHLB35 Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy
PHLB91 Human Nature: Kant to Foucault
PHLC09 Topics in Continental Philosophy - Phenomenology of Race and Gender
PHLC37 Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Early Modern, Kant, German Idealism, Phenomenology