A Seriously Non-Serious Introduction (as of Nov. 2010)
In June 2010, I became a Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Auckland. I love it here, but my colleagues probably regret their association with someone who occasionally frequents as a pineapple. Here's a little bit about the journey that finally led to New Zealand.
My interest in philosophy began during my years as an undergraduate at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I enjoyed arguing about religion and, of course, I enjoyed it even more when I won! Since a number of these arguments turned on controversial philosophical assumptions, I thought that I could improve my odds of winning by taking some philosophy courses. I’ve been doing philosophy ever since. At times I even do philosophy when I ought to be doing other things instead.
After graduating from Emory with my BA and MA in 2003, I went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. My time at Purdue was well worth it. I came away with not only a Ph.D., but also a wife. Jenny and I have been married for about 6 years (no kids). I’m surprised that she’s put up with me for so long, but perhaps her career as an ER nurse has given her a special patience for dealing with irritating people.
In 2008, I took my brand-new PhD to Massachusetts, where I was a visiting assistant professor at Stonehill College. After the academic year was up, we moved all the way back to South Bend, Indiana. I spent a year as a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. At the time, the 1,600km moves to Massachusetts and then back to Indiana seemed so far…but not after the more than 13,000km that brought us here!
When I’m not teaching critical thinking or epistemology, I’ll be working on two research projects. The first concerns non-inferential justification, i.e., the property a belief has when it is rational in any way except in virtue of an inference or argument. You'll be happy to know that my view, if true, entails that most of your beliefs are rational. This consequence of my view is a relief; it is much easier to make friends when you don't have to tell people that most of their beliefs are irrational. The second concerns the problem of evil. One aspect of this project is so bizarre and far-fetched that it just might be right. My co-conspirator in this bizarre endeavor is Mark Murphy, an ethicist from Georgetown University.
Perhaps there is hope for these projects. Through a series of well-placed bribes and fortuitous clerical errors, some of my other esoteric ramblings have appeared in such venues as Philosophical Review, Philosophical Perspectives, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Erkenntnis, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and Religious Studies, among others.