Current Work

My current research projects mostly involve Kant in some form or another, with some additional forays into virtue ethics. I've just finished a book manuscript for Oxford University Press called Choosing Freedom: A Kantian Guide to Life. This book is part of a larger collaborative project on philosophy as a way of life. I'm also working on several papers on Kantian vice, such as contempt, ridicule, and indifference to suffering. In virtue ethics, I'm focusing on practical wisdom, which has been puzzling me for several decades now. I'm also continuing work on the main themes of my latest book (Minding the Gap), especially the role that social conventions play in our capacity to act as better people and perhaps even become better people. Someday I hope to indulge my adoration of Jane Austen and write something about the intertwining roles of moral norms, social conventions, and aesthetics in her novels.

Works in Progress

Choosing Freedom: A Kantian Guide to Life (Oxford University Press, forthcoming January 2022)

"Global Poverty and Kantian Vice"

"The Moral Boundaries of Mockery"

"What's Wrong with Contempt?"

"Faith in People and their Projects"

"On Helping Badly"

Recent Talks

Contempt in the Public Sphere workshop, July 2020 (held virtually)

“Musings on Contempt”

American Philosophical Association, Central Division, February 2020

“Inner and Outer Vice”, invited main program symposium,

“What’s Wrong with Contempt” invited group session, North American Society for Social Philosophy

Oxford University and University of Birmingham, Jubilee Centre, Virtues and Flourishing, January 2020

“Heroes Always Win: Virtue, Flourishing, and Moral Education”

Washington University-St. Louis, October 2019

“Evil Together: The Social Dimensions of Kantian Vice”

Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea, September 2019

“Straightening Crooked Wood: Kant and Xunzi on Moral Improvement”, invited lecture, “Confucianism, Buddhism, and Kantian Moral Theory” conference , Sungkyun Institute for Confucian Studies and East Asian Philosophy

Clemson University, March 2019

“The Ethics of Impersonation,” invited lecture

Ruhr University, Bochum Germany, February 2019

"Beneficence and Indifference," invited lecture, conference on Kant and Poverty,

NEH Summer Institute, Wesleyan University, July 2018

“Kantianism as a Way of Life”

Bates College, invited lecture, April 2018

"The Value of the Veil of Philanthropy"

American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Meeting, March 2018

University of Tennessee - Knoxville, October 2017

"The Moral Boundaries of Mockery", invited symposium (APA), invited lecture (UT)

Oxford University and University of Birmingham, Jubilee Centre, Virtues in the Public Sphere, January 2018

"Moral Contempt and Moral Faith"

University of Iceland, October 2017

"Mockery, Contempt, and Social Power," conference on "Who's Got the Power?"

National Institutes of Health, Department of Clinical Bioethics, May 2017

"Feminism and Moral Theory"

University of St. Andrews, May 2017

"Cultivating Self-Control through Etiquette," invited workshop on self-control

Johns Hopkins University, March 2017

"Saturday Night Live and Fiendish Joy," invited lecture

American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Meeting, January 2017

"Civility as Moral Scaffolding," invited main program symposium

Creighton University, April 2016

"Advance Directives and Self-Sacrifice," invited lecture

Auburn University, March 2016

"Knowing Better: Self-Improvement in Aristotle and Kant," invited workshop on "Aristotle and Kant in Conversation"

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, March 2016

University of Maryland - College Park, February 2016

"The Starry Sky Above Me: Living Non-ideally by my Ideals" (invited seminar/lecture)