Research

My research is primarily in metaphysics, and often falls at the intersection of least one of three categories: early modern history of philosophy, contemporary biomedical ethics, and philosophy of religion.

My research in early modern has primarily focused on the metaphysics and philosophy of language of George Berkeley (1685-1753). Particularly, I hone in on his rejections, appropriations, and reactions to medieval metaphysics of universals and abstraction. I have also been working on accounts of essences in the works of René Descartes (1596-1650), John Locke (1632-1704), John Sergeant (1623-1707), and Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749).

With respect to biomedical ethics, my work has primarily focused on the Informed Consent Ontology, which gives an account of what exists in the domain of informed consent and what are the relevant relations that hold between these entities (for example, an informed consent form is used in an informed consent process, which produces new permissions and obligations for organizations). This account is useful to software and databases used in health information technology. I have also written two different sides of a recent debate regarding the creation and research of human-nonhuman chimeras (genetic therapies in animals to make them more human, so that they may be used in organ transplant or other research) — that is, I have argued in one paper that there are clear benefits and that the morality of the issue does not ride on species membership, and likewise I have argued in a later paper, that there will be untoward consequences such as massive exploitation and bigotry, and that this merits a moratorium until we can set up preventative or protective policies in advance.

Publications

  • “Toward an Ontology of Commercial Exchange” in Proceedings of the Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO), Graz. (2019) [fulltext: philpapers.org] (co-authored with Eric Merrell and Barry Smith)
  • “Human-Nonhuman Chimeras, Ontology, and Dignity: A Constructivist Approach to the Ethics of Conducting Research on Cross-Species Hybrids” Hilltop Review: A Journal of Western Michigan University Graduate Student Research 9 (1): 49-62. 2016. [fulltext: ScholarWorks

Book Reviews

  • Review of Trinity and the Vindication of Christian Paradox, The: An Interpretation and Refinement of the Theological Apologetic of Cornelius Van Til, by BA. Bosserman, Theological Book Review (Liverpool Hope University), Vol. 27 No.1, 2016.

Presentations

Informed Consent Ontology

Human-nonhuman Chimera Research

  • “Human-Nonhuman Chimeras, Ontology, and Dignity — moral considerations on the creation and use of certain interspecific hybrids” at Romanell Conference (University at Buffalo). July 2019
  • “Human-nonhuman Chimeras, Ontology, and Dignity: a constructivist approach to the ethics of conducting research on cross-species hybrids” at Sixth Annual Medical Humanities Conference (Western Michigan University). Sept 2016

Ontology of Commercial Exchange

  • “Toward an Ontology of Commercial Exchange” (co-authored with Eric Merrell and Barry Smith). Ontology of Social, Legal, and Economic Entities (SoLEE) as a part of the Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO), Graz, Austria. Sept 2019

John Sergeant

  • “The Problem of Individuation and John Sergeant”. Lunchtime talk at Graduate Philosophy Association (University at Buffalo) Oct 2019

George Berkeley

  • “Berkeley’s Concrete General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” at the International Berkeley Society (session during APA Eastern Division). Jan 2019
  • “Berkeley’s Concrete General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” at 8th Margaret Dauler Wilson Philosophy Conference (University at Buffalo). June 2018
  • “Berkeley’s Concrete General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” at Graduate Philosophy Conference (University of Iowa) Apr 2018
    Lunchtime talk at Graduate Philosophy Association (University at Buffalo). Apr 2018
  • “Berkeley’s Concrete General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” at 24th Annual Waterloo Philosophy Grad. Conf. (University of Waterloo). Mar 2017
  • “Berkeley’s Concrete General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” at North Carolina Philosophical Society Conference (UNC, Wilmington). Feb 2017
  • “Berkeley’s Non-Abstract General Ideas and the Problem of Universals,” for Brown Bag Colloquium (Western Michigan University). Nov 2016

Fundamental Metaphysics

  • “Conditions of Fundamental Metaphysics: A Critique of Jorge Gracia’s Proposal” at Graduate Philosophy Conference (University of Iowa). Apr 2016
  • “Conditions of Fundamental Metaphysics: A Critique of Jorge Gracia’s Proposal” at 12th Annual Essays of Significance: A Grad. Phil. Conf. (University of Windsor). Mar 2016