Writing

ARTICLES

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.

MONOGRAPHS

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.

SELECTED ESSAYS

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.