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Philosophy opens up the possibility of thoughtfully engaging life. The study of philosophy allows students to develop a capacity to formulate questions about themselves, the various worlds they inhabit, their responsibilities to others and what makes life meaningful. It does this by cultivating an attitude of creative attention. Patiently attending to life’s concerns—be it a friend in need, an ancient text, a pressing social issue or an unsolved math theorem—creates possibilities for participating in the world in a deeper way. Philosophy provides a way of cultivating this attention. It does not offer a prescription or formula for living. Rather, it helps develop what Hannah Arendt calls thoughtful reflection that asks us to interrogate the way we live and the values we hold. Thinking philosophically raises questions about assumed foundations and provides criticisms of normative patterns of existence. Although raising these questions can be challenging, and at times destabilizing, bell hooks reminds us that this process is also liberatory and even healing. The study of philosophy allows students to develop the capacity for alternative ways of thinking and the engaging reality that can be at once thought-provoking, exhilarating and joyful.
My research spans the broad area of social and political philosophy and focuses on the work of the French thinker, Simone Weil. Specifically, I am interested in her developments of Marx’s idea of labor as a category through which to understand life.I am currently working on a book, entitled The Spirit of Labor: Simone Weil’s Political Theology.
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University (Religion), 2005
Doctoral Thesis:Thinking Nothing: Simone Weil’s Cosmology
M.Div. Yale University, 1993
AOS:Philosophy of Religion
B.A. Washington University (Political Science), 1989
Areas of specialization
Philosophy of Religion
Areas of competence
20th century continental philosophy
History of Philosophy
Social and Political Philosophy
Phil 1010 Introduction to Philosophy
Phil 2000 Critical Thinking
Phil 2400 Contemporary Moral Issues
Phil 2700 Introduction to Political Philosophy
Phil 3050 Existentialism
Phil 3100 Introduction to Continental Philosophy
Phil 4000 Philosophy Through Literature
Phil 4600 Philosophy and Feminism
"Simone Weil on Labor and Spirit," in Journal of Religious Ethics, 45:2, June 2017, 291-308.
“Simone Weil’s Political Theology” in Political Theology, Vol 17 No. 3, May 2016, 226-242.
““Completion without any Representable End:” A Theory of Artistic Creation in Simone Weil’s Timaeus” in Cahiers Simone Weil Tome 38:2 (Juin 2015):161.