publications

PDFs of most of my publications are available in the PhilArchive, which you can access via my PhilPeople publications page. Book reviews and translations are not listed below, but can be found on my CV. If you cannot find a publication and would like a copy, feel free to email me.

 

2022. “Husserl on Significance at the Core of Meaning.” Husserl Studies (issue not yet assigned).

I reconstruct the notion of significance [Sinnhaftigkeit] in the later Husserl, with attention to his conceptions of judgment and transcendental logic. My analysis is motivated by the idea that an account of significance can help to connect analytic, Anglo-American conceptions of meaning as a precise, law-governed phenomenon investigated via linguistic analysis and Continental European conceptions of meaning in a broader “existential” sense. I argue that Husserl’s later work points to a transcendental-logical conception of a founding level of significance [Sinnhaftigkeit] prior to language, and that this conception meets characteristically analytic demands for precision and governance by logical constraints. At the same time, since it is based in descriptions of perceptual intentionality at the level of essential possibility, it leaves room for an account of meaning as a partially undetermined phenomenon of lived experience, and not just of our language and concepts, and thereby meets the characteristically Continental demand to take at face value meaning’s vagueness and indeterminacy in everyday human life.

 

2021. “The Fate of the Act of Synthesis: Kant, Frege, and Husserl on the Role of Subjectivity in Presentation and Judgment.” Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 9 (11), 75-99.

I investigate the role of the subject in judgment in Kant, Frege, and Husserl, situating it in the broader and less-often-considered context of their accounts of presentation as well as judgment. Contemporary philosophical usage of “representation” tends to elide the question of what Kant called the constitution of content, because of a reluctance, here traced to Frege’s anti-psychologism, to attend to subjectivity. But for Kant and Husserl, anti-psychologism allows for synthesis as the subjective act necessary for both “mere presentation” and judgment. In Begriffshrift, Frege alludes to a significant logical role for the subjective act of judgment, and in later work, traces of this logical role remain in the intensional notions of grasping a thought and judging as acknowledging its truth. But Frege’s anti-psychologism blocks interpreting these subjective notions in term of synthesis. Although similar in certain ways to Frege and equally anti-psychologistic, Husserl’s theory of judgment in the Logical Investigations maintains a role for subjective syntheses for presentations and judgments, and goes beyond Kant in allowing for a kind of objectivity at the level of non-judgment presentations. These two great anti-psychologists at the dawn of the parallel heydays of linguistic and phenomenological analysis are thus differentiated by the fates they assign to the act of synthesis.

 

2021. “Reduction and Reflection after the Analytic-Continental Divide.” in The Husserlian Mind, Ed. H. Jacobs. New York: Routledge, 117-28.

The volume appears in the popular Routledge Philosophical Minds series. My chapter explicates one of the most important technical concepts in Husserl’s philosophy, the phenomenological reduction, explains its relationship to Husserl’s conception of philosophical reflection, and shows how these considerations are relevant for a variety of areas of philosophical debate in the contemporary period in which the schism between analytic and Continental philosophy appears to be waning.

 

2021.“From Word to Flesh: Embodied Racism and the New Politics” in Journal of Religion and Society, Supplement 23, 126-45.

This article stems from my presentation at the 2020 Symposium of the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion and Society, whose theme was “Religion and the New Politics.” The article is written for an interdisciplinary audience. Drawing on resources from the philosophical tradition of phenomenology and putting them into dialogue with an important theme in Christian theology, I argue that there is a distinctly non-discursive, embodied form of racism that should be recognized and addressed by the new politics. Because this form of racism occurs not at the familiar level of discourse (word), but in the often unconscious habitualities of the lived body (flesh), it resists common antiracist strategies, and seems to be outside the purview of responsibility and of willful, rational change (the logos). I situate these underlying issues with regard to the traditional opposition between mind and body, and then offer a reinterpretation of them by way of some key phenomenological concepts: intentionality, the lived body, the critique of scientism, motivation, and empathy. I conclude that embodied racism is something which is open to an extended conception of rationality that includes the lived body, and for which we are responsible. I then suggest some antiracist political strategies that put these theoretical considerations to use through attention to embodied spaces and practices.

 

2021. “Husserlian Phenomenology, Rule-following, and Primitive Normativity” in Language and Phenomenology, Ed. C. Engelland. New York: Routledge, 74-91.

The volume appears in the Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy series. My paper presents a phenomenological approach to recent debates in the philosophy of language about rule-following and the normativity of meaning, a debate that can be traced to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations but that was given new life with Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Taking a cue from Hannah Ginsborg’s recent work on “primitive normativity,” I use some of Husserl’s own comments about meaning and the status of rules to sketch a solution to Kripke’s rule-following paradox by appealing to a kind of normativity at the level of perception and intersubjective embodiment. This level of normativity arises, like Ginsborg’s, via a primitive kind of judgment that does not presuppose linguistic or conceptual mastery. Unlike for Ginsborg, however, for Husserl this level should still be understood in terms of meaning—just not in the standard linguistic or conceptual senses prominent in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition in which the rule-following debates have occurred. My interpretation thus also demonstrates how Husserl’s account bypasses certain presuppositions about meaning common in the period of the linguistic turn—presuppositions also questioned, in different ways, by Wittgenstein, by Kripke, and by Ginsborg.

 

2020. “Synthesis” in The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy, Ed. De Santis, Hopkins, and Majolino. New York: Routledge, 376-88.

The volume offers individual chapters on important historical and systematic topics in phenomenology. My chapter discusses the concept of “synthesis” in phenomenology, relating it to earlier uses of the concept in Aristotle and Kant, mapping out and explaining its various technical dimensions in the phenomenology of Husserl, and explaining how the concept was taken up and modified in Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.

 

2019. “Not How the World is, but That It Exists: Wittgenstein on the Mystical and the Meaningful,” in Mysticism and Meaning: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Ed. A. Kohav. University of Hawai’i/ Three Pines Press, 177-98.

This essay explains the role of mysticism in Wittgenstein’s early philosophy of logic and language for a non-specialist audience, situating Wittgenstein’s views in the context of contemporaries such as Aldous Huxley. William James, Bertrand Russell, and Paul Tillich.

  

2018. “On the Use and Abuse of Teleology for Life: Intentionality, Naturalism, and Meaning Rationalism in Husserl and Millikan,” Humana.Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 34, 41-75.

This paper offers a phenomenological critique of Ruth Millikan’s highly influential evolutionary-biological account of teleology and human language use. I argue that the role of teleology in human meaning-making can be understood naturalistically only if we broaden our conception of natural life to encompass something much richer than can be explicated in terms of evolutionary adaptation and survival.

 

2018. “Meaning, Experience, and the Modern Self: The Phenomenology of Spontaneous Sense in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway,Metodo: International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy, 6 (1), 317-55.

This paper uses the phenomenological concept of “spontaneous sense formation” as popularized by the Francophone philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Marc Richir as a lens for interpreting Woolf’s modernist masterpiece, and thereby, for explicating the modernist conception of the fractured or fragmented self.

 

2018. “Making Sense of the Lived Body and the Lived World: Meaning and Presence in Husserl, Derrida and Noë,” Continental Philosophy Review, 51 (2), 141-67.

This paper discusses the role of the lived body in Husserl’s philosophy, in light of important criticisms in the work of Jacques Derrida, and shows how Husserl’s philosophy relates to and in some way improves upon the “sensorimotor enactivist” theory of contemporary philosopher of cognitive science Alva Noë. 

 

2017. “The Epistemic Import of Affectivity: A Husserlian Account” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 41, 82-104.

This paper was invited for the 2017 volume, on The Phenomenology of Affective Life. I argue that, on Husserl’s account, affectivity, along with the closely related phenomenon of association, follows a form of sui generis lawfulness belonging to the domain of what phenomenologists call motivation, which must be distinguished both (1) from the causal structures through which we understand the body third-personally, as a material thing; and also (2) from the rational or inferential structures at the level of deliberative judgment traditionally understood to be the domain of epistemic import. For Husserl, affectivity holds a kind of indirect epistemic import via its determination not of content is but of how content comes to matter for us.

 

2016. “History as Soil and Sediment: Geological Tropes of Historicity in Heidegger, Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty,” Danish Yearbook of Philosophy, Vol. 48-49, 139-52.

This paper examines the use of geological tropes (sand, soil, sediment, etc.) in phenomenological thinkers as a way of discussing some defining characteristics of phenomenological approaches to the philosophy of history. 

 

2016. “Phenomenology, Historical Significance, and the Limits of Representation: Perspectives on Carr’s Experience and History,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 37 (2), 401-26.

This is a critical notice engaging David Carr’s book Experience and History: Phenomenological Perspectives on the Historical World (Oxford University Press, 2014).

 

2014. “Kant, Husserl, and the Case for Non-conceptual Content,” in Husserl and Classical German Philosophy, Ed. F. Fabbianelli and S. Luft. Dordrecht: Springer.

This paper situates recent debates in analytic philosophy about the nature of non-conceptual content in the context of Kantian epistemology and Husserlian epistemology. The volume appears in Springer’s highly regarded Phaenomenologica series.

 

2014. “Knowledge, Temporality, and the Movement of History,” Research in Phenomenology, 44 (3), 441-52.

This is a critical notice engaging Søren Olesen’s book Transcendental History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). 

 

2011. “The Transcendental ‘Foundation’ of Meaning in Experience: A Reading of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty,” in Epistemology: Contexts, Values, Disagreement: Contributions of the Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, Vol. XIX. Ed. C. Jäger and W. Löffler. 251-53.

This is the published version of my presentation at the 2011 International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium.

 

2011.Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, and the ‘Structuralist Activity’ of Sartre’s Dialectical Reason,” Sartre Studies International, 17 (2), 1-15.

This paper examines Lévi-Strauss’ criticisms of Sartre’s conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage, and argues that Sartre’s notion of reason and history in the Critique of Dialectical Reason is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist thought is examined using Roland Barthes’ account of “The Structuralist Activity,” which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre’s own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique.