About

the basics | curriculum vitae

I received my PhD in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas, TX, with the Center for Thomistic Studies in 2016. My dissertation, Ens Primum Cognitum in Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition (now published by Brill), was written under the direction of Dr. John Deely, with whom I studied the thought of Heidegger, Peirce, and Thomas Aquinas.

I taught undergraduate courses, including human person, ethics, medieval philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy at knowledge, at St. Thomas from 2013 to 2016. I currently teach philosophy at the Wentworth Institute of Technology.

I am also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Digital Life, where I consult as an expert in Thomistic philosophy, Peircean semiotics, and phenomenology. The Center for the Study of Digital Life:

is a not-for-profit strategic research group dedicated to understanding the effects of digital technologies on civilizations — both East and West. Our goal is to improve decision-making worldwide, in the interest of avoiding confrontations, by assisting people to take responsibility for their actions under conditions of a digital environment which shapes our behaviors and attitudes.

My work focuses on the relationship between traditional metaphysical thought and semiotics, as a more reliable approach to so-called epistemological questions, grounded in the nature of the human person. I draw heavily in my thinking upon the aforementioned trio of Aquinas, Peirce, and Heidegger, but am also deeply engaged with Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Cajetan, John Poinsot, Jacques Maritain, Karol Wojtyla, and many others.


publications

Books: Cover-Final

  • Ens Primum Cognitum in Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition (Boston: Brill, 2017)
  • The Intersection of Phenomenology and Semiotics: Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue (Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming)
  • Narratives and Nihilism (in progress)

Articles:

Among my research interests—outside of semiotics, phenomenology, and the Thomistic tradition—are the dissemination of philosophical thought to the public sphere at large, the nature of socially-constituted reality, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.


philosophy

Beyond the biographical, professional information, I’m male, in my early 30’s, and, more than a professor of philosophy, I aspire to be an actual philosopher. The difference, as I see it, is that I do not simply profess adherence to any particular set of doctrines, to the thought of historical figures; nor do I merely profess the opinions and teachings of others to students.

The philosopher considers human experience, and what can be inferred from that experience, according to the first and the highest principles of natural human reason. Thus, the philosopher is not confined to the consideration of this or that particular subject matter; his subject of study is “everything”. He may have an expertise within the realm of “everything”—ethics, for instance, or philosophical physics (“natural philosophy”)—but the exercise of his office begins and ends with “being”.

If this seems vague and abstract, this is only because “being” is an object that is mysterious and difficult to consider—though an object very real, and very important. The philosopher does not avoid the mystery. Indeed, his task is to make the mystery intelligible, a task which never ends, which is not a problem that is “solved”, but which is nevertheless not a futile endeavor. The task is endless not because it produces no result, but because the object considered, “being”, is infinite, and can therefore be unfolded for us infinitely.

So what do I do? To put it in somewhat more concrete terms: as a professor, I philosophize with my students, meaning that we ask what things are, why they are, why they are what they are, how they ought to be, why they ought to be how they ought to be. I might ask a student a question seemingly as simple as, “What do we mean by the word ‘one’ when we say that ‘this is one thing’?” I can ask, “Do we mean the same thing when we say that something is ‘good’ for a human being and something is ‘good’ for a dog?” and see that students, while they take it for granted that something is good for them and not for a dog, have never actually stopped to think about what the term “good” really means.

We get into these questions by reading texts—some as old as the mid 4th century B.C., some published just a few years ago—written by very smart men and women who have also engaged in questioning the mystery of being; and in so doing, we see that the answers to these questions aren’t really answers if they are treated as facts to be memorized. I, along with my students, enter into the mystery again, anew, and always discover something new.

As a philosopher outside of my role as a professor, I try to push deeper into the mystery, both as discussed by other philosophers and from my own experience of the world; both as it appeared to them and as it appears to me. Mostly, this means thinking. A relatively tiny portion of it involves writing down those things that I have thought. An even tinier portion results in sharing those things written with others. My own speciality is nuanced, pedantic, and is probably boring as hell to most people (“metaphysics” and “philosophy of knowledge” might sound really exciting, but the terminology is very specialized and far removed from ordinary experience, making it difficult to appreciate for someone who is not similarly vested in the issues).

At any rate: I am someone who believes firmly in Truth, big capital T and all. I believe that Truth is something real, and something that can be known, and that knowledge of the Truth guides, or ought to guide, our actions.

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