Research Interests and Work in Progress
I think that I am unusually puzzled by the nature of the discipline around which I have centered most of my professional life. What is philosophy? What are its objects of inquiry? How is it possible to gain philosophical knowledge? These questions have led me to the origins of Western Philosophical inquiry to see how the discipline began and developed. My earlier work focused on the Socratic method of question and answer (sometimes known as "dialectic") that Plato dramatizes in his dialogues and which remains the primary method of philosophical inquiry today. I was interested in figuring out the distinctive features of the method, how (if at all) it differed from other intellectual methods (e.g., the scientific method, sophistry), and how the world and our mental faculties must be if such a method of inquiry were to be a reliable method for discovering truths.
More recently, I have attempted to apply the philosophical insights of the Ancients, especially those of Plato and Aristotle, to contemporary philosophical debates. In particular, I’ve applied some of Aristotle’s thoughts about the nature of eudaimonia to contemporary ethical questions about what makes a life worth living and so what constitutes a death with dignity. Most recently, I’ve attempted to show how Plato's insights can contribute to contemporary debates about the nature of well-being, moral knowledge, and practical rationality.
Work in Progress:
"Pseudo Value-Neutrality in Contemporary American Bioethics: Three Case Studies:
- Defining Death
- Defining Competence
- Defining Personhood"