B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Researches and teaches moral and political philosophy, environmental ethics, heritage ethics, and philosophy of art.
My primary research interests concern moral and political issues surrounding cultural heritage, art, and the environment, particularly with respect to themes that unite these areas of inquiry, such as preservation of, access to, and control over objects, practices, and places. I have published papers on historical value and irreplaceability, cultural heritage and universal value, cultural appropriation in the arts, and loving people in spite of who they are. I am currently working on essays about the ethics of historic preservation and the moral/political consequences of different conceptions of heritage.
I teach in all of my research areas, and my teaching has an important impact on the shape of my research. For instance, I recently co-authored a paper on the preservation of street art with two Philosophy of Art students, which we presented at a conference on philosophy and street art in New York City. I regularly teach Introduction to Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theories, Environmental Ethics, and Philosophy of Art. In Spring 2015, I taught a seminar on moral questions about history and heritage, and in Fall 2015 I taught a Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing called "Ethics for Everyone." I am also a member of the Advisory Faculty for Environmental Studies.
I am the husband of Jaclyn Hatala Matthes, a scientist whose research focuses on global environmental change, specifically with respect to the carbon cycle and ecosystem ecology. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Geography (and Adjunct in Biology) at Dartmouth, and starting July 2016 will be an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley. We are currently collaborating on an article about the ethics of food waste. Our son Henry, another collaboration, was born in June. I am on parental leave during the Spring 2016 semester.
Outside of philosophy, I enjoy playing games, going to the movies, hiking, trying new restaurants, exploring my neighborhood, and spending time with friends and family.