My main research interests are life meaning and spirituality. My approach to meaningfulness judgments emphasizes the internal standpoint (what makes living meaningful to me as I live it?) over the external standpoint (what would a third-person bystander say about the meaningfulness of my life?). The external approach has become dominant in recent theory (e.g., Susan Wolf, Thaddeus Metz) and merits foundational critique. I also explore the meaningfulness of things apart from their contribution to a meaningful "life" - for instance, the meaningfulness of attachment to other people.
My approach to spirituality seeks a secular standpoint that makes sense of the common phrase "spiritual but not religious", building on the insights of John Dewey and Robert Solomon. "Gifts without Givers" (forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journal Sophia) applies rigorous philosophy of language and metaphor to show that viewing life as a gift worthy of gratitude is an advisable attitude that's available to the secularist as an appropriate response to reality.
- "Gifts without Givers: Secular Spirituality and Metaphorical Cognition" (forthcoming)
Ph.D., Tulane University
The Human Person
Making Moral Decisions
Areas of Expertise
Philosophy of Life Meaning, Philosophy of Spirituality, Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Language