I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Rochester. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in November 2007. I taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 2007-2015, and at Colgate University in 2006-2007.
My main areas of research are metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. I am especially interested in the metaphysics of properties and relations, including the ontology of mental and normative properties. I also work on the relation of grounding (non-causal determination) and associated areas (fundamentality, truthmaking, explanation, metametaphysics, etc.). Some of my other interests are causation, consciousness, composition and constitution, personal identity, freedom and moral responsibility, and moral generalism.
I have been fortunate to teach a variety of different different courses, including: Metaphyics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, Ethical Theory, Symbolic Logic, Early Analytic Philosophy, Advanced Philosophical Writing, Critical Reasoning, and of course Introduction to Philosophy.
My non-philosophical interests include fitness and weightlifting, bowling, dressing to match my son, playing the piano, cooking (read: eating), and playing fiercely competitive Nintendo with my wife. Until December 2012, I had the single best dog in the four-dimensional cosmos. (I hope one day to command an army of French Mastiffs.) In Omaha, I had a close relationship with the snakes that lived in my garage door. I hope I can eventually return to performing stand-up comedy.
Associate Professor of Philosophy