Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
324 Founders Hall
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Avid teacher and historian of modern philosophy studying Spinoza, Cavendish, and the 17th Century.
NOTA BENE: I have left Wellesley College and am now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida International University.
I study the history of modern philosophy, especially the rationalists, though I also have an interest in other periods of the history of philosophy. I focus on issues in moral psychology. My specialty is Spinoza.
I have finished a book, titled, The Spiritual Automaton: Spinoza's Science of the Mind, that has just been published by Oxford University Press. The book, as well as much of my recent research, concerns Spinoza's psychology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. My other recently published work has addressed Spinoza's views on adequate knowledge, innate ideas, the affects, and akrasia. I am continuing to work on Spinoza, but I am also writing on the philosophy of Margaret Cavendish, 17th Century naturalism, panpsychism, vitalism, and more. See the Research section, linked on the left, for more information about my research.
I teach across the history of philosophy, intro to philosophy, seminars on Spinoza and the Enlightenment, feminist history of philosophy, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, among other things. I have recently taught classes titled Women of the Enlightenment and Teleporters and Time Travel: The Metaphysics Behind Science Fiction. I have also recently published a paper in the journal Teaching Philosophy, titled, "How To Teach Modern Philosophy." I have been invited to produce a textbook on the history of modern philosophy based on this article. See the Teaching section, linked on the left, for more information about my teaching.
My wife Amy Marshall recently completed a PhD in History from Brown University. Her specialty is the history of modern Japan. She won a Fulbright scholarship (as well as a Fulbright-Hays), which allowed us to live in Yokohama for much of 2010, where she conducted research for her dissertation. Our first child, Eli Owen, was born on October 14th, 2009, and our second, Maxwell Oliver, was born on March 20, 2011. Amy was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department here at Wellesley College from 2012-2014.
As of the summer of 2014, both Amy and I are taking up positions as tenure-track assistant professors at Florida International University, in Miami -- she in history/asian studies and I in philosophy. I am grateful for our time here at Wellesley, but I am also excited that Amy and I have managed to find two permanent positions at the same university, in the same city -- and such a lovely city and wonderful institution at that!
Other interests: running, cooking, science fiction, geek culture, left politics, coffee, punk rock, board and video games...
Also, I am a signatory of the 'Online Petition in Support of the Gendered Conference Campaign'; please visit the Online Petition for details.