Summary. This page contains a summary of my job
responsibilities and research interests, links to
publications, a list of ongoing research projects,
legislative/political initiatives, and links to other
personal information and photos.
|Administrative Positions at Fordham||
|Honors||2007-2008 Professor of the Year
Award, Graduate Student Association, Fordham University
NEH Summer Stipend, 2004: for work on a new book project, Autonomy and Authenticity.
|Publications & Papers||Monographs, Books
edited, Chapters in Edited Collections, Journal Articles,
and Review Essays.
(I have recently added links to public talks available for presentation in powerpoint).
See my Research Topics page for more links to articles, conference papers, and drafts.
Love, Reason, and Will: Kierkegaard after Frankfurt co-edited with Anthony Rudd (Bloomsbury, 2015).
This is an integrated set of philosophical essays about love: they address ways in which our identities are shaped by what we love; the extent to which our loves are or are not under our control; how love relates to reason and to volition; whether love is a response to the value of its objects or whether it is love that endows its objects with value (or both). The collection is also an attempt to bring two philosophers – Søren Kierkegaard and Harry Frankfurt – into conversation. Some may find these two unlikely conversation partners. But Frankfurt himself has said, “Philosophers need to pay more attention to issues belonging to a domain that is partially occupied by certain types of religious thought – issues having to do with what people are to care about, with their commitments to ideals, and with the protean role in our lives of the various modes of love" (NVL, x). Kierkegaard is certainly one of the modern religious writers who has thought most deeply and insightfully about these questions concerning love. We are convinced that to compare and contrast his ideas on love, caring, values, and identity with Frankfurt’s more secular approach will not only shed light on both of these philosophers, but will also enable us to think better ourselves about these fundamental issues.
Narrative Identity and Autonomy: from MacIntyre to Kierkegaard (Routledge, July 2012).
Available soon as print-on-demand pb.
See a sample chapter: "Narrative Realism about Practical Identity" (ch.2)
This work defends a narrative account of practical identity and character against recent critiques of narrative theory both as an approach to explaining the structure of selfhood and as a basis for distinguishing aesthetic and ethical selves in Kierkegaard. The first chapter explains the concepts of practical identity and existential autonomy as deep responsibility, while also responding to Galen Strawson's 'episodic' self. The second chapter defends MacIntyre's narrative approach against major criticisms by developing a realist account of narrative continuity (drawing on Carr and Ricoeur) that begins prior to explicit reflective articulation: a 'narravive' is a lived structure with cumulative significance-relations that is analogous to literary narrative. This central chapter also distinguishes different levels of unity in life-stories and provides a robust conception of what constitutes narratival sequence in lives. The third chapter extends this narrative realist model to personal autonomy, which involves deeper levels of continuity implied by volitional cares and coherence among the values that ground ones cares. This account supports distinctively Kierkegaardian claims about narrative identity, including the need for ethical norms to regulate our personal projects and relationships. This narrative model of autonomy clarifies Kierkegaard’s aesthetic-ethical distinction. Chapter four argues that “purity of heart” in Kierkegaard’s sense is a strong kind of wholeheartedness grounded in an ethical ideal willed to the point of infinite resignation. Finally, the fifth chapter develops Kierkegaard’s answer to the objection that mortality prevents human beings from attaining narrative unity while alive, and explains how narrative identity is related to the present consciousness of a freely choosing agent.
See the Review by William MacDonald on Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
See the Analytical Table of Contents
See Routledge flyer with discount code
Will as Commitment and Resolve: An Existential Account of Creativity, Love, Virtue, and Happiness. (Fordham University Press, June, 2007). This book argues that willing is more than the voluntary process of forming intentions; it also includes the formation of new motivation (and the alteration of existing motivation). I contrast the active "projection" of new ends with the passive attraction towards them according to the dominant "erosiac" model coming from ancient Greek eudaimonism. Eudaimonist conceptions of human motivation are incapable of fully accounting for phenomena such as virtue, radical evil, deontic motivation, and other types of volitional caring. These phenomena cannot be explained without the idea of projective motivation, which is implicit in a counter-tradition that runs from early Christian thought to Scotus, Kant, Frankl, Levinas, and Harry Frankfurt. Yet I also argue, with Frankl against Frankfurt, that projective motivation requires goods objectively worth caring about.
See the Analytical Table of Contents with Preface.
See the Book Abstract; See a sample chapter on Frankfurt, caring, and objective grounds for care.
See a sample chapter on Existential Psychology and Intrinsic Motivation
See Amazon.com listing: price $61 now.
There is a good deal on this book for Barnes and Noble members.
This book has been reviewed in Faith and Philosophy and also in ACPQ (in addition to small reviews).
Freedom, Narrative, and Virtue, co-edited with
Anthony Rudd (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co., 2001).
This book is a collection of published and new essays
responding to MacIntyre’s critique of Kierkegaard and
exploring the interfaces between Kierkegaard’s thought
on moral agency and MacIntyre’s neo-Aristotelian ethics.
The volume includes responses by Alasdair MacIntyre and
KAM has become a standard text in Kierkegaard
Articles in Journals and Edited Volumes
(links to PFD versions: view for personal use only)
[For a manuscript version of forthcoming papers, contact me]
For a thematically grouped list of my publications with links, see my Research Topics.
“The Virtues of Ambivalence: Wholeheartedness as Existential Telos and the Unwillable Completion of Narravives,” to appear in the Narrative, Identity, and the Kierkegaardian Self, ed. Patrick Stokes and John Lippitt (Edinburgh University Press, fall 2014).
“Eschatological Faith and Repetition: Kierkegaard’s Abraham and Job,” to appear in the Cambridge Guidebook to Fear and Trembling, ed. Dan Conway (Cambridge University Press, 2014) – ms approved by Cambridge UP and now going to copyeditor.
"Frankfurt on BS, Sincerity, and Love: A Comparison With Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre," forthcoming in Love, Reason, and Will: Kierkegaard after Frankfurt, eds. Anthony Rudd and John Davenport (Bloomsbury Publishing, spring 2015).
Published (by Jan.1, 2014):
“Earnestness,” in Kierkegaard’s Concepts, ed. Jon Stewart and William MacDonald, volume 15 in the series, Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources (De Gruyter, 2014): 221-27.
“Selfhood and Spirit,” in the Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard, ed. John Lippitt and George Pattison (Oxford University Press, 2013): 230-51.
“A New Existential Model of God: Open Theism, Agapic Personalism, and Alterogenesis,” in Models of God and Other Ultimate Realities, ed. Jeanine Diller (Springer, 2013): 567-586.
"Norm-Guided Autonomous Agency in the Formation of Cares," in Autonomy and the Self, ed. Michael Kühler, and Nadja Jelinek (Springer, 2012): 85-116.
"Life-Narrative and Death as the End of Freedom" in Kierkegaard and Death, ed. Patrick Stokes and Adam Buben (Indiana University Press, 2011): 160-83.
“Just Wars, Humanitarian Intervention, and the Need for a Federation of Democracies,” Journal of Religious Ethics, 39 no.3 (2011): 493–555.
“Accidental Devotion and Gratitude: Kierkegaard in My Life Story,” in Why Kierkegaard Matters, ed. Marc Jolley and Edmon Rowell, Jr. (Mercer University Press, 2010): 82-97.
For a Federation of Democracies, Ethics and International Affairs 23.1 (spring 2009): Roundtable: "Can Democracies Go It Alone?" (online at http://www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/2009/for-a-federation-of-democracies-response-to-stephen-schlesinger/)
"Religion in the Public Sphere: How Deliberative Democracy offers a Middle Road," in Rethinking Secularization: Philosophy and the Prophecy of a Secular Age, ed. Gary Gabor and Herbert De Vriese (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009): 289-325.
"Augustine on Liberty of the Higher-Order Will: Answers to Hunt and Stump," Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (forthcoming, November, 2008).
"A Global Federalist Paper: Consolidation Arguments and Transnational Government," Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (Fall, 2008): 353-375.
"Kierkegaard’s Postscript in Light of Fear and Trembling," Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia (Dec. 2008) 64 nos 2-4: 879-908.
"What Kierkegaardian Faith Adds to Alterity Ethics: How Levinas and Derrida Miss the Eschatological Dimension," in Kierkegaard and Levinas: Ethics, Politics, and Religion, ed. J. Aaron Simmons and David Wood (Indiana University Press, Oct. 2008): 169-198.
"Faith as Eschatological Trust in Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling," in Ethics, Love, and Faith in Kierkegaard, ed. Edward Mooney (Indiana University Press, July 2008): 196 - 233 (and notes).
"The Deliberative Relevance of Refraining from Deciding: A Response to McKenna and Pereboom," Acta Analytica 21 no.4 (Fall 2006): 62-88.
"The Binding Value of Earnest Emotional Valuation," International Journal of Decision Ethics 2 no.1 (Fall 2006): 107-23.
"Aquinas’s Teleological Libertarianism," in Analytical Thomism: Traditions in Dialogue, ed. Matthew Pugh (Ashgate Press, 2007).
"Just War Theory Requires a New Federation of Democratic Nations," Fordham International Law Journal 28 no.3 (Feb.2005): 763-85. On this topic, also see my Executive Summary of the proposal.
"Happy Endings and Religious Hope: The Lord of the Rings as an Epic Fairy Tale," in The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, ed. Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson (Open Court Publishing Co., 2003): 204-18.
"Liberty of the Higher-Order Will: Frankfurt and Augustine," Faith and Philosophy 19 no.4 (October 2002): 437-61.
"Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Sanity and Weakness of Will," The Journal of Ethics 6 (2002): 235-59.
"Eschatological Ultimacy and the Best Possible Hereafter," Ultimate Reality and Meaning 25 (2002): 36-67.
"Kierkegaard, Anxiety, and the Will," Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook, Vol. 6, ed. Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Hermann Deuser, and Jon Stewart (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, fall 2001): 158-81.
"Towards an Existential Virtue Ethics: Kierkegaard and MacIntyre," new in Kierkegaard After MacIntyre (Open Court Publishing Co., 2001): 265-324.
"Entangled Freedom: Ethical Authority, Original Sin, and Choice in Kierkegaard’s Concept of Anxiety," Kierkegaardiana 21 (2001): 131-51.
"My Schindler’s List: A Personal Kierkegaardian Reflection," Religious Humanism 34 nos. 2 and 3 (summer/fall 2001): 13-23.
"The Ethical and Religious Significance of Taciturnus’s Letter in Kierkegaard’s Stages on Life’s Way," in the International Kierkegaard Commentary 11: Stages on Life’s Way, ed. Robert Perkins (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, November 2000): 213-44.
"A Phenomenology of the Profane: Heidegger, Blumenberg, and the Structure of the ‘Chthonic,’" The Journal of the British Society of Phenomenology 30 no.2 (May, 1999): 183-207.
"Levinas’s Agapeistic Metaphysics of Morals: Absolute Passivity and the Other as Eschatological Hierophany," Journal of Religious Ethics 26 no.2 (Fall 1998): 331-66.
"Piety, MacIntyre, and Kierkegaardian Choice: A Reply to Professor Ballard," Faith and Philosophy 15 no.3 (July 1998): 487-501.
"Deontology and the Antinomy of Libertarianism: A Response to James Sterba," in Rending and Renewing the Social Order, Social Philosophy Today series, Vol. 12, ed. Yeager Hudson (Edwin Mellen Press, December 1996): 177-218.
"The Essence of Eschatology: A Modal Interpretation," Ultimate Reality and Meaning, 19 no.3 (September, 1996): 206-39.
"The Meaning of Kierkegaard’s Choice Between the Aesthetic and the Ethical," Southwest Philosophy Review 11 no.2 (August, 1995): 73-108. Revised /reprinted in Kierkegaard After MacIntyre (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Co., 2001): 75-112.
Alan Donagan’s Problem of Exception-Rules," Analysis
55 no.4 (October, 1995), 261-70.
of Charles Larmore, Practices
of the Self (University of Chicago Press,
Ethics 122 no.2 (Jan. 2012): 434-40.
Review of Normativity and the Will, by R.J. Wallace in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (online since Dec. 2007 at http://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews.cfm).
Review of Religion in the Liberal Polity, ed. Terence Cuneo, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (online since summer 2005 at http://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews.cfm).
Review Essay on Natural Law and Practical Rationality, by Mark Murphy, in International Philosophical Quarterly 43 no.2 (June 2003): 229-39.
Review of Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility, by Fischer and Ravizza, in Faith and Philosophy 17 no.3 (July 2000): 384-95.
Review Essay on
Tradition(s), by Stephen Watson, in The
Owl of Minerva: Journal of the Hegel Society of
America (December 2000): 65-82.
of The Will,
2nd ed., by Brian O’Shaughnessey. In International Philosophical
Quarterly 51 no.2: 259-64.
Review of Virtue Epistemology, ed. Linda Zagzebski and Abrol Fairweather, in International Philosophical Quarterly 42 no.3 (summer 2002): 401-4.
Review of Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, by Chris Sciabarra, in Canadian Philosophical Reviews 16 no.2 (April, 1996).
Some Recent Conference Papers & Lectures
for a complete list of refereed conference
presentations, invited lectures, and replies.
Copies of any of these papers and commentaries are
available on request. Recent Samples:
"Kierkegaard and von Hildebrand on Human Loves," presented by invitation at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Steubenville, OH: March 30, 2014).
"Westphal's Kierkegaardian Appreciation of Levinas: Some Doubts," presented at the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology, meeting concurrently with SPEP (Oct. 29, 2009)."A Democratic Federation is Both Feasible and Just: A Response to Habermas and to his Postmodern Critics," delivered at the Critical Theory Roundtable (Fordham University, Sept. 2008).
Public Talks in powerpoint
(can be presented on request)
Limits: Projections of Human Footprint to 2050." Developed for Global Environmental
Justice class at Fordham University (Feb, 2, 2012).
"Environmental Limits to Resources Use." Developed for Global Environmental Justice (2013).
"Environmental Ethics : Overview of Theoretical Issues" Developed for Global Environmental Justice (Spring 2013).
"An Argument for a Federation of Democracies " presented at Central Connecticut State University (March 17, 2010).
"Lincoln, Slavery, and Race: An Analysis of Lincoln's Changing Views" Presented at Columbia High School (South Orange-Maplewood NJ school district) Feb. 2009 for Lincoln's 200th birthday.
"An Existential Analysis of Inauthenticity: Frankfurt on BS and Wantonness, Kierkegaard on Aestheticism and Idle Talk: Presented at the College of Charleston (Feb. 2008)
"An Existential God: New Perspectives in Philosophy of Religion." Presented at the South Orange-Maplewood Adult School (November, 2007)
"Dwelling in Tolkien and Heidegger." Developed for Fantasy and Philosophy course at Fordham University (2006)
Core Ideas of Kant's Ethics." Developed for a
class presentation at Fordham University.
"God and the Structure of the Hubbelian Universe." Presented at the Hiddenness of God conference, University of Colorado (Boulder, CO: October 22, 2004)
"Does the Good End Justify an Evil Means? Problems with Utilitarianism," South Orange-Maplewood Adult School (Nov. 3, 2003).
|Work in Progress and/or under consideration||
Federation of Democracies: The End of Tyranny and
Global Market Failures in the 21st Century.
monograph will synthesize three published articles and
several conference presentations on global justice into
a new short monograph on the need for a worldwide
federation of democracies to meet the demands of human
rights and other global public goods (including solving
environmental issues involving international collective
action problems). I argue that the central flaws in the
UN system cannot be fixed by amending that system; the
Security Council must be replaced by a transnational
authority with effective coordinative power that is
directly answerable to democratic peoples. The one
feasible option that meets these standards would be a
league of democratic nations from all parts of globe
dedicated to ensuring at least the most minimal rights
of every human person, and to solving a wide array of
global collective action problems that cause poverty and
threaten the collective future of humanity.
Refutations of Libertarianism: NeoLiberal Errors from Ayn Rand to Rand Paul. This book aims to explain in a clear and focused way central points about rights, property, the limits of markets and the need for public goods, including democratic participation, that reveal the fundamental errors of political libertarianism as a set of views about social justice. Libertarianism is too rarely given serious attention in philosophical scholarship, given how deeply it has affected our popular culture since the 1930s on, making much of the public irrational about issues as basic as what the federal government should do and how to fund its operations in ways that are fair to all. This study will distinguish four different forms of libertarian argument, show why each of them fails, and how their problems point towards an alternative account of social justice that I call the 'Endowment Model of Justice as Trusteeship.' This model makes possible a comprehensive refutation of all four major forms of political libertarianism.
|Older papers in in draft form|
(with no planned publication)
to the Past, Present, and Future. This is an
edited version of four talks given in spring 2002 at All
Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City.
For the Wordperfect version, click
The Matter of Britain: The Mythological and Philosophical Significance of the British Legends (manuscript used as a gift to friends and to supplement a course packet on Tolkien).
|Research & Teaching Goals||
See my statement on Research Achievements and Goals
See my statement on Teaching Experience and Goals
|Interviews on Internet, Television, and Radio||Interviewee on Tom Morris's Huffington Post
Interviewee on the Beowulf and Tolkien episodes in the Mythology series titled "Clash of the Gods," The History Channel (September - October, 2009).
Interviewed with Bill Irwin and John Blythe on Fordham Conversations, WFUV Radio, Aired December 27, 2003.
Interview with Larry Petracarro on Books in Action, SOMA-COM Local Access Channel 35, Maplewood NJ, October 7, 2003.
Interviewee on the Morning
Show, Channel 12 NYC, Spring 1999. The topic was
the ethics of fetal gender selection.
| Dissertation: Self
and Will: Projective Motivation, Existential Autonomy,
and Frankfurt’s Concept of Identification. Director:
Karl Ameriks, Hank-McMahon Professor of Philosophy.
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1992-1998. Ph.D. conferred August 8, 1998. High honors for MA level work.
Yale University: B.A. May, 1989. Graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Philosophy.
TASIS England: High School Diploma, June 1985. Graduated Valedictorian.
Legislative Initiatives, Political Arguments, and Community Involvement
|In addition to academic pursuits, I am involved in real-world political debates relating to my local school board's educational priorities, the State of New Jersey's school funding mechanisms, national political issues such as the federal debt and Social Security, and the need for stronger global governance to uphold fundamental human rights. Here are a list of links to some policy initiatives and papers.|
The Democratic Federation
is my proposal to solve the ever-more urgent problems of
global governance in the world today. A federation of
democracies is a third way between bankrupt American
unilateralism and the outdated/corrupt U.N. Security
Council system. The goal primary goal is that atrocities
of the kinds witnessed in Bosnias, Rwandas, Darfurs, and
Syria finally become preventable through a stable global
alliance. Here is a link to the Executive
Summary of the proposal.
And see my Carnegie Council editorial: For a Federation of Democracies
Federal Debt Cannot be Solved without Tax Increases
For a series of older editorials on school issues, state
issues, and international conflicts, see
A Constitutional Convention to solve the fundamental problems facing the United States
|We have reached the point where the structural problems in the US systems of governance, elections, media, and education of citizens are so dysfunctional that the only adequate solution is a series of constitutional amendments of a fundamental depth, as last undertaken at the end of the Civil War. We need to root out corruption, lobbying money, and stalemate from our federal government once and for all. The very core of the federal government is the US Senate, which has ceased to function due to the filibuster. As a result, people elect majorities to both houses of Congress and to the Presidency and still see little of the party platform enacted. As a result, citizens become ever more frustrated, cynical, and withdrawn. As a result, they pay less attention and know less about what is going on; then they are more easily manipulated by massive monied interests. But significant amendments cannot now pass Congress or be ratified by enough states one by one. Only a new convention called directly by the states can break through these stalling factors, and offer us the chance to fix the main ailments that are depriving America of its future. See the webpage on the New Constitutional Convention Summary here.|
Fun Stuff for classes
|Hermione's Riddle of the Potions (I made this handout for use in logic courses)|
The Personal Section: Some Family History and Photos
|The following section is primarily for family and friends.|
Last updated Dec.29, 2013. Comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org