I am a Research Instructor at The UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. I am the Resident Philosopher in the Department of Psychiatry. I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of Virginia.
My areas of specialization are Bioethics, Philosophy of Medicine (especially Philosophy of Psychiatry), Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Law, and Political Philosophy. I am particularly interested in the ways that Ancient Greek Virtue Ethics can illuminate conceptual and practical challenges in Medicine.
I am currently working on two main research projects.The first explores the contributions of Ancient Greek Philosophy to conceptual foundations of Medicine and Medical Ethics. More specifically, my inquiry focuses on conceptions of mental disorder and irrationality that emerged in Ancient Greece. I am writing a series of articles that I plan to culminate into a book, tentatively entitled, Mental Disorders in the Ancient World. This project focuses on the development of Ethics and Medicine from the Homeric era through Galen. My current work-in-progress focuses on Plato. I contend that these historical and philosophical investigations have important implications for central questions in contemporary Medical Ethics, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Medicine, and Moral Psychiatry that are too easily overlooked by those with their eyes on the technological and scientific horizon.
That being said, the second ongoing research project does look to those horizons, in the context of emerging technologies for human enhancement. This project is a continuation of my postdoctoral work with Eric Juengst, which culminated in our Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on “Human Enhancement”. We are working on a major update of that entry to follow the trajectory of that philosophical discussion into questions of moral enhancement and human flourishing. This current project turns to Ancient Greek Philosophy again, to bring the insights of Virtue Ethics to those topics. We have been invited to present our explorations of these perspectives in an essay on “Human Enhancement and Meaning in Life” for The Oxford Handbook of the Meaning of Life (under contract and forthcoming 2020).