I am an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Georgia.
came to philosophy for what I would call
existential reasons concerning the (non) existence of a Christian God
and the implications for death. Not surprisingly those concerns led to
an exploration of other religions, primarily Buddhism. Over
the years the extent to which those existential concerns are also
ethical concerns has become clearer and clearer. And now I am
particularly interested in the question of what constitutes a life
worth living and the nature of the relationships between a life worth
living, philosophy, and religion. Part of that deep interest
requires thinking seriously about Nietzsche, his work on the question
of value(s), and the role and nature of suffering in human existence.
while existential interests compelled me to pursue philosophy (despite
my trying to give it up after my BA), at Georgia State University I
"found Wittgenstein," so to speak, and that led to years of
Wittgenstein, philosophy of language, and then to Putnam and issues of
ontology. Work that has created the fruitful background against which I
approach everything else.
graduating from the University of Iowa in 2008, I have slowly begun to
return to many of my original concerns, doing research, writing, and
teaching classes on topics such as happiness,
suffering, death, awe, Buddhism and enlightenment. In the past two
years I have begun to work out what I take to be important connections
between the middle-late Wittgenstein's work on language and Japanese
Zen Buddhism's views on language. In doing so I have been focusing on
Dōgen's rehabilitation of language in the Zen soteriological context.
In this context I am interested in applying my version of conceptualism
to Zen Buddhist claims about enlightenment experience.
My interests, as I'm sure is true of
many, are diverse and far ranging, and I am constantly seeking to find
ways to draw connections between seemingly disperate areas and ideas.
My present interests have me doing this with comparative philosophy,
particularly East Asian and Western philosophy. While I believe that
certain aspects of the analytic tradition are suspect, the drive for
clarity is of great value and I seek to apply the "tools" of (post)
analytic philosophy to East Asian thought.