Professor of Philosophy
Areas of Expertise
Research: Critical Media Studies: Ancient Greek philosophy, Teaching: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Literature, Philosophy of Science
PhD, University of Texas at Austin 2000
MA, St. John’s College 1990
BASS, Stephen F. Austin University 1984
I have two areas of primary research, both related around concerns with the ways we talk to each other (our discourse and rhetorical practices), and questions of how we come to know and judge the world.
One area is the relation between the discourse practices of what I call the “truth-telling media,” i.e. marketing and journalism, and our moral heuristics. This investigation focuses on the growing moralism in mass media, the way that marketing and journalism explicitly build and maintain moral meaning systems and use these to leverage their interests. I explore how this explicit moralism impacts our everyday thinking about ethical and moral issues.
Another area investigates pre-socratic insights into our most fundamental ways of seeing the world, i.e., such concepts as space, time, language and order or pattern. I am particularly interested in the unusual expositional practices of these earliest thinkers and the relation of what they think about the world to how they choose to talk about those insights.
“…As He Says in His Poetical Way: Empedocles and Anaxagoras on the Motive Forces of the Kosmos,” in Companion to Ancient Philosophy, Northwestern University Press (Forthcoming)
Mass Moralizing: Marketing and Moral Storytelling, Lexington Press (2015)
“Mass Moralizing,” in Advertising and Reality, Continuum Press (2012)
“Weaving the Fishbasket: Heraclitus on Riddles and the Relation of Word and World” Epoche 13:2 (2009).
“To Say What is Most Necessary: Expositional and Philosophical Practice in Thucydides and Plato,” in Philosophy in Dialogue: Plato’s Many Devices, Gary Scott, ed. (Northwestern University Press, Topics in Historical Philosophy Series, John McCumber, ed., 2007).
“Zeno’s boetheia toi logoi: Thought Problems about Problems for Thought,” Epoche 11:1 (2006).
Honors and Awards
Holder of the Lurlyn and Durwood Fleming Professorship in Religion and Philosophy
Southwestern University Teaching Award, 2004