“Scattering the Stars: Personalist Pedagogy and Catholic Higher Education”
Journal of Catholic Higher Education (forthcoming)
“Osama bin Laden’s Global Islamism and Wahhabi Islam” (Full text)
McGill Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. VIII, 2006, pp. 33–54.
“The Politics of Personalism” (Full text)
PhD Dissertation, Religious Studies. Brown University, 2016, 274pp. Abstract
This study examines the history and constructive prospects of a movement in modern thought and practice known as “personalism.” Concerning its history, I argue that personalism does amount to a broad yet distinct movement, extending from the late-eighteenth century to the present, though it emerged most influentially in Europe around 1930 in connection with phenomenology and existentialism. Constructively, I argue that certain ideas and forms of practice associated with personalism can inform the effort to build what I call an “ethos of respect for persons” in liberal democratic political culture. This ethos, I claim, can in turn be of use in overcoming the motivation gap often apparent in this culture by encouraging personal engagement and commitment. The study consists of two parts. In part one, I begin by situating its aims in relation to recent work in political philosophy. Drawing on the work of Charles Larmore and William Connolly, I develop the notion of an “ethos of respect for persons” (chapter one). Then, I offer a history of personalism and introduce what I call “the personalist idea” as a term of art to designate a family resemblance apparent across personalism’s many forms. Here I draw on the work of William Miller, Roger Scruton, and Richard Kearney (chapter two). In part two, I examine how the personalist idea was developed in three contexts in the twentieth century. I begin by examining the work of Emmanuel Mounier between 1930 and 1950 in France, who was the main representative of personalism as a political movement (chapter three). Then I trace how Mounier’s ideas informed the work of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, founders of the Catholic Worker movement in the United States (chapter four), and of Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, who are shown to exhibit a certain creative fidelity to his work (chapter five). In conclusion, I state the findings of the study and consider the relation between personalism and the recent work of Pope Francis.
“Secularization and Political Myth: The Schmitt-Blumenberg Debate” (Full text)
MA Thesis, Philosophy. Catholic University of Leuven, 2010, 113pp. Abstract
Analyzes a debate between Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) and Hans Blumenberg (1920–1996) over what it means for political concepts to be “secularized.” Includes a working translation from the German of Schmitt’s and Blumenberg’s published correspondence.
“Openness and Orthodoxy: Charles Taylor’s Therapeutic Ambitions in A Secular Age” (Full text)
BA Thesis, Philosophy. Catholic University of Leuven, 2009, 37pp. Abstract
Presents a close reading of A Secular Age in it entirety to show how it may be read as a self-contained therapeutic project in Wittgenstein’s sense designed, in two stages, (1) to liberate the reader from the standard story of secularization and offer ‘the immanent frame’ as a new ‘best account’ of our lived experience, then (2) to offer a redescription of the immanent frame to lead the reader into an ‘open space’ where the possibility of a relation to ‘spiritual sources’ may again appear as a ‘live option’.
“After Rationalism: Taylor and Rorty on Epistemology, Morality, and Religion” (Full text)
MA Thesis, Religious Studies. McGill University, 2006, 122pp. Abstract
This paper examines and compares the different ways in which Charles Taylor and Richard Rorty critique the representationalism and foundationalism characteristic of modem epistemology (Chapter One), then considers how their critiques affect their respective understandings of morality (Chapter Two) and of the role of religious belief in modern secular societies (Chapter Three). Rorty’s and Taylor’s epistemological debate is presented as an example of the differences between, on the one hand, ‘anti-ontological’ or pragmatic post-foundational philosophies (such as Rorty’s) and, on the other, ‘weak ontological’, contact realist alternatives (such as Taylor’s). The paper concludes with a defense of Taylor’s position over Rorty’s, and, in doing so, makes a case for the rejection of strictly naturalist accounts of the moral and religious life in favor of a (weak ontological) picture of the human person as necessarily oriented in relation to transcendent goods of other trans-human realities.
“Violence divine and revolutionary: Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’” (Full text)
Brown University, April 2012, 19pp.
“The original position: A ‘stark fiction’ in Rawls’s theory of justice” (Full text)
Brown University, December 2011, 25pp.
“Daemonic freedom: On the missing sublime in Schiller’s Aesthetic Letters” (Full text)
Brown University, May 2011, 23pp.
“The sick and the imperfect: Augustine and Hegel on the Fall” (Full text)
Brown University, May 2011, 16pp.
“Nature and Spirit in Emerson’s Nature” (Full text)
Brown University, December 2010, 20pp.
“Arendt and Kant on politics” (Full text)
Catholic University of Leuven, January 2010, 14pp.
“The ‘philosophical passages’ in Plato’s Republic” (Full text)
Catholic University of Leuven, May 2009, 12pp.
“Saint Paul on the Resurrection of the Body” (Full text)
St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, June 2007, 12pp.
“The Healing of the Paralytic: An Exegesis” (Full text)
St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, June 2007, 14pp.