Research and Publications

What is happiness? What role should it play in ethics, if any? These two perennial questions animate the bulk of my current research. I focus primarily on rich historical treatments of these issues from the Middle Ages, especially in Thomas Aquinas, and on the lessons we can learn today from those historical discussions.


Central Projects
Aquinas on Happiness and Ethics. 
Supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, I am writing a monograph that attempts to show how Aquinas joins being good, doing what is right, virtue, well-being, happiness, and meaning into an interconnected whole. Happiness, understood as fundamentally a matter of engaging in and enjoying genuinely good activities, is the key to achieving this unity. Whether or not such a holistic view of ethics can ultimately be sustained, the result is a vision of what it is to live a good, meaningful, and happy human life, which brilliantly weaves together well-being, connection to others, and a morality of rules integrated with virtues.

A translation of Books 1-3, John Buridan's Commentary on the 10 Books of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. 
Buridan is one of the truly great thinkers of the Middle Ages and this commentary is one of his most important and influential works. In these three books, we have a philosophical treatment of everything from happiness to virtue to interactions between the will and intellect from Buridan's characteristic nominalist perspective, indebted not only to Aristotle, but also to the Stoics upon whom Buridan freely draws. The result is a unique, magisterial treatment of ethics.
 

Publications

"Locke on individuation and kinds." Locke Studies. Forthcoming.

"The Experience Machine Objection to Desire Satisfactionism." Co-authored with Dan Lowe. Journal of 
    the American Philosophical Association. Volume 3, Issue 2 (Summer, 2017), pp. 247-263.

"Entirely necessary, but not a part: Aquinas on virtue and perfect happiness." Recherches de Théologie et 
    Philosophie Médiévales. Volume 84, Issue 1 (2017), pp. 75-105.

    Philosophical Quarterly. Vol. 90, Issue 4 (Fall, 2016). (NB: Winner of the ACPQ Rising Scholar Award.)

Considerandum quid sit beatitudo: Aquinas on what happiness really is.” Res Philosophica. Vol. 93, 
    Issue 1 (January 2016), pp. 161-184.

Divine properties, parts, and parity.” International Journal of Philosophy and Theology. Vol. 75, 
    No. 5 (2014), pp. 388-405.

Book review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles: A guide 
    and commentary by Brian Davies. 2017.

Book review in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews with Robert Pasnau. Grand theories and everyday 
    beliefs by Wallace Matson. 2012.