My primary research interests in philosophy are 19th Century philosophy (especially Hegel and Kierkegaard) and classical Confucian philosophy.
Currently, I am actively working on two different projects related to Hegel. Next on the docket is a classroom management tool paper. After that, I have several projects where I am waiting on collaborators. In the long time, I am planning to write a book on relational selfhood.
Other than that, I am hoping to translate some sections of Nishida Kitaro's critique of Kierkegaard and then to evaluate how accurately he understands Kierkegaard and the substance of his critique.
Project #1: Hegel and Crime
I am developing a paper on Hegel's views on crime.
While there are already several articles that provide "Hegel's idea of crime" or Hegel's view of crime, I argue that these are mistaken on two fronts.
First, most earlier work on the passage looks exclusively at the unrecht
section of Abstract Right in Philosophy of Right
without placing the section in Hegel's philosophical system or even in the dialectical structure of PR itself.
To make my argument, I am also working from Spirit of Christianity
and System of Ethical Life
. My claim is not that these texts by themselves clearly reveal Hegel's mature views. Instead, I am contending that features which remain from first to last are our best hints at Hegel's views.
Project #2: Hegel and Kierkegaard on Recognition
Before I started working on the Hegel and crime project, I started to research Kierkegaard's notion of recognition and compare it with Hegel's account of mutual recognition. For Kierkegaard, this occurs in several places and at least two pseudonyms: Johannes Climacus's Philosophical Fragments
and Anti-Climacus's Sickness Unto Death
To make sure I was not missing any loose ends, I read the Philosophy of Right
, and in the process, I found the current accounts of crime to be inadequate. The main focus of this project is to look at how Kierkegaard thinks we can have our identity consituted by an other (God) without us being necessary to give that other a coherent identity.
This is very much the opposite of Hegel's notions in political philosophy where mutual recognition stands at the root of value.
Project #3: Hegel's Treatment of Chinese Philosophy
I am always on the look out for areas where Chinese philosophy and Western philosophy interact. And one of the major lacuna here is Hegel's relationship to Confucianism. I say this because both share relational accounts of the self and both have a very communitarian image of society. Despite this, Hegel's most well-cited remarks with respect to Confucius are whole-heartedly negative.
In his lectures, Hegel said that China has no "spirit" (geist
). In my article, I will suggest describe this as an unfortunate misreading and point to common ground between the two. At the same time, I want to explain why Hegel would say this and assess whether this is a slight Confucians should ignore or respond to.
Project #4: Hegel and Kierkegaard on Faith
In response to a CFP on faith, I wrote a paper on how Hegel and Kierkegaard treat Abraham. Hegel interestingly enough focuses on Abram and his decision to leave the land of his fathers. For Hegel, this is enough to already view Abram as a terrible person (without even considering the akedah
), because he breaks with social ethics. Conversely, Kierkegaard sees faith as good precisely because it is a break with social ethics.
This project is presently with the reviewers.
How Relational Selfhood Rearranges the Debate between Feminists and Confucians
Stephanie Komashin joined me as a co-author in this paper where we look at the debate between Confucians and feminists anew. We contend that before we can really articulate whether "Confucians" and "feminists" agree we need to understand what each of the respective terms is supposed to mean. Both groups find common cause in highlighting a relational account of the self that seems neglected in Modern philosophy, but there are real differences both among and between feminists and Confucians about how relational the self should be / is.
This research appeared as part of Feminist Encounters with Confucius in December 2016
Ethics is for Children: Revisiting Aristotle's Virtue Theory
Building on the research of Daryl Tress and others in terms of Aristotle's views of children and the function-argument in the Nicomachean Ethics
as analzyed by Ackrill and Nagel (inter alia), I first look at how Aristotle viewed children within ethics.
I then suggest an alternate approach where children could be virtuous agents and have their own form of eudaimonia
, which includes but is not wholly defined by the fact that they grow into adult humans
This project was published as part of Philosophy of Childhood Today in October 2016.
"How Kierkegaard can Help Us Understand Covering in Analects 13.18."
In this article, I looked at how Kierkegaard through his deliberation on how love covers a multitude of sins can help understand yin
("covering") in Analects 13.18. In the process, I work through two things: (1) the variety of ways that Kierkegaard suggests covering could work in the delieration in Works of Love
and a variety of interpretations of yin
that are featured in a contemporary debate in China about Analects
13.18. Chief among these are questions of whether the term should be taken to me straightening or hiding. And then correspondingly whether this should be understood as a moral philosophy we should admire or detest.
This project became an article in Asian Philosophy
“A Hegelian Approach to Applied Ethics and Technology”
In this paper, I argue that Hegel’s Encyclopedia Logic provides a framework
for moral thought that can handle scientific discoveries in a robust and versatile
way. As I will argue, this framework gives us the tools to make moral thought
resilient towards new scientific discoveries rather than dependent on science for
its framework (see Rózsa 2012 and Quante 2002). I believe it thus proves useful
for applied ethics.
This paper became a chapter in the volume Applied Ethics:Ethics in an Era of Emerging Technologies
Anti-Climacus’s Pre-emptive Critique of Heidegger's “Question Concerning Technology”
In this article I argue that The Sickness unto Death, authored by Kierkegaard under the pseudonym Johannes Anti-Climacus, has resources for an interesting critique of technology in some ways like that of Heidegger’s critiques in “Question Concerning Technology” and Being and Time. I suggest that Anti-Climacus's account of “despair” resonates with much of what Heidegger says about inauthenticity and the self’s orientation toward death. But I also contend that in maintaining that the self can only be complete by understanding itself as essentially relating and related to God, Anti-Climacus has a critique of the sort of solution that Heidegger would provide. Finally, I trace the origin of this view to fundamental differences in ontology that must be settled outside of the problems posed by technology.
This project became an article in International Philosophical Quarterly
In my dissertation, I looked at the role of interpersonal relationships in the formation of moral knowledge. I first evaluate Kant, arguing that he provides an account where moral knowledge has its origin in reason alone. In the second chapter, I evaluate Hegel's critique of Kant's non-relational moral philosophy, maintaining that the Kantian view is problematic. I then look at three different ways to make relationships essential to our moral knowledge: Confucius, Levinas, and Kierkegaard, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each approach in terms of moral knowledge and moral motivation.
Maybe Happiness Is Loving Our Fathers: Confucius and the Rituals of Dad
In this article, I investigate the nature of fatherly love. Working from Confucius’s Analects, I argue that the most important concept is not rule-following but developing a good relationship with one's father. Building on the example of sheep-stealing Yang, I compare this with Plato's treatment of filial piety in the Euthyphro. In the Analects, it is considered appropriate to cover up for one's father whereas Plato advocates revealing this. I then turn to the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Matthew 15 to explicate the Confucian ideal of fatherhood.
This project became a chapter in Fatherhood and Philosophy
“A Transcendental Phenomenology that Leads out of Transcendental Phenomenology: Using Climacus' Paradox to Explain Marion’s Being Given
In this paper, I suggest that Johannes Climacus's presentation of the paradox in Philosophical Fragments
hints at a critique of Marion's notion of the saturated phenomenon.
This article became a chapter in Quaestiones Disputatae