Assistant Professor, Philosophy
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I work on the history of European philosophy from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, especially in the German context. My main interests are in metaphysics and philosophy of science. My primary research project (funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant) deals with the reception of Descartes in seventeenth- and early-eighteenth century German universities--a phenomenon sometimes called 'Cartesian Scholasticism'. I am tracing the development of theories of causation and substance in the confluence of Cartesian and Aristotelian ideas in the German scholastic tradition from Johann Clauberg (1622-65) to Christian Wolff (1679-1754). Of especial interest to me are various attempts in this tradition to reconcile mechanistic and teleological forms of explanation. The project looks forward to (as well as back from) Kant.
A second research project concerns the philosophy of the human sciences in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany. I am especially interested in Wilhelm Dilthey's (1833-1911) account of historical science--its psychological foundations, its relation to natural scientific explanation, and its critical and empiricist underpinnings. The project aims to situate Dilthey's 'critique of historical reason' in the context of a) the emergence of new empirical sciences of human nature in nineteenth-century Germany, such as anthropology, sociology, and psychology; and b) contemporaneous currents in German philosophy to interpret the new scientific situation, such as positivism, idealism, materialism, and neo-Kantianism.
I also have interests in Islamic philosophy, both classical and modern. In the former, a special concern is the role of ibn Sina and ibn Rushd in shaping subsequent debates on final causation (but also causation in general). In the latter, I'm interested in colonial era reformers--e.g. Jamal-ud-din Afghani, Chiragh Ali, Muhammad Iqbal--and their responses to Enlightenment views of history and progress.
I took my PhD (2018) from the University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation titled "Being and the Good: Natural Teleology in Early Modern German Philosophy." Before that, I took MAs in Philosophy (University of British Columbia) and Applied Linguistics (Macquarie University), and a BA in Philosophy (University of Wisconsin).
1. Forthcoming. "Physicotheology in Kant's Transition from Nature to Freedom." Kantian Review.
2. Forthcoming. "The Cartesian Physiology of Johann Jakob Waldschmidt." In Descartes and Medicine, edited by Fabrizio Baldassarri (Turnhout: Brepols).
3. 2023. "Reason in Kant's Theory of Cognition." Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
4. 2022. "Substance, Causation, and the Mind-Body Problem in Johann Clauberg." Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 11:31-66.
5. 2021. "Efficient Cause as Paradigm? From Suárez to Clauberg." Journal of Modern Philosophy. 3 (7):1-22
6. 2021. "Law and Structure in Dilthey's Philosophy of History." British Journal for the History of Philosophy 29 (4):633-651.
7. 2020. "Domesticating Descartes, Renovating Scholasticism: Johann Clauberg and the German Reception of Cartesianism." History of Universities 30 (2):57-84.
8. 2019. "Wolff's Science of Teleology and Kant's Critique." Ergo 6 (17):489-515.
9. 2019. "Teleology and Realism in Leibniz's Philosophy of Science." In Leibniz and the Structure of Sciences, edited by Vincenzo de Risi, 271-298 (Berlin: Springer).
10. 2018. "Kant's Antinomy of Teleology: In Defense of a Traditional Interpretation." In Proceedings of the 12th International Kant Congress, edited by Violetta Waibel and Margit Ruffing, 1641-1648 (Berlin: de Gruyter).
11. 2016. "Dilthey on the Unity of Science." British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (4):635-656.
12. 2015. "Hume's (Berkeleyan) Language of Representation." Hume Studies 41 (2):171-200.
Work in progress
My main project currently is a monograph on German Cartesianism from Clauberg to Wolff.
In addition, I have several papers under review or otherwise in progress. Feel free to email me for drafts and/or abstracts of any of the following:
1. On Wolff's account of substance and force in his Latin works.
2. On Wolff's cosmology as an innovation in special metaphysics.
3. On Kant's concept of purposiveness in light of the theory of final causation among the Wolffians.
4. On Dilthey's early account of historical method and historical evidence.
5. On Clauberg on divine creation, conservation, and concurrence.
6. On ibn Sina/Avicenna on final causation.
Regularly taught courses:
PHIL 281: Philosophy in the Islamic World (Winter 2023 syllabus)
PHIL 360: 17th-Century Philosophy
PHIL 361: 18th-Century Philosophy
PHIL 4xx/6xx (upper undergrad/grad seminars): recent topics have included Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment; Teleology in Early Modern Philosophy; and Kant and 18th-century German Philosophy
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