I received my BS from Duke University and my PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. I joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2002, and have served as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Chair. I have been a visiting professor at the University of Milan, and a visiting scholar at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Münster.
My research is centered on the German philosophical tradition that began with Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. I am inspired by this movement’s concern with the concept of freedom and the systematic unity of reason, especially in the work of J.G. Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel. I have published a study of Hegel's theory of practical reason, Hegel's Conscience, which shows how Hegel anticipated issues in contemporary metaethics. Nearly all my work engages closely with historical texts and with problems being discussed by philosophers today. I believe we read the historical texts better with contemporary tools, and also that these texts have much to teach us about our current approaches.
I have been working out the implications for practical philosophy of the new conception of rationality pioneered by Hegel. This inferentialist conception, which has been developed by Wilfrid Sellars and worked out recently by Robert Brandom, gives us a way to be rationalists without sacrificing the rich texture of experience. My second book, Hegel's Value: Justice as the Living Good, is a close study of Hegel’s political philosophy based on a new inferentialist interpretation of his theory of value. I am currently working on a study of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit that focuses on the unity of theoretical and practical reason.
One of my long-term projects is to reassess nineteenth century American thought as a dialogue with the German philosophical tradition. A first step in this project is a forthcoming article on the women philosophers of American transcendentalism, focusing on the contributions of Mary Moody Emerson, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller. I am also editing a volume on Moby-Dick for the Oxford Studies in Philosophy and Literature series. I believe that Melville and Emily Dickinson are two of America’s great philosophers, and I am interested in exploring how their forms of expression intersect with more traditional philosophical claim-making.
Recent courses I have taught:
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
Theory of Value
The Birth of German Idealism
Paradoxes of Agency and Belief
Philosophy of Law
Foundations of Modern Political Philosophy
Hegel’s Value: Justice as the Living Good (Oxford University Press, 2021).
Hegel’s Conscience (Oxford University Press, 2011, paperback 2014).
Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Critical Perspectives on Freedom and History, Co-editor with Sebastian Rand and Kate Padgett Walsh (Routledge, 2022).
The Oxford Handbook of Hegel, Editor (Oxford University Press, 2017; paperback, 2022).
The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy, Editor (Routledge, 2010, paperback 2013). Winner, CHOICE award, 2010.
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Critical Guide, Co-Editor with Michael Quante (Cambridge University Press, 2008, paperback 2010).
“Saving the Enlightenment from Itself: Hegel versus MacInytre on Teleology and Right,”
forthcoming, Hegel and MacIntyre: Reason in History, edited by Caleb Bernacchio, Ahmad Fattah, David Kretz & Michael Lazarus, Routledge.
“Teleological Right: Stages of Expressive Validity in Hegel’s Theory of Justice,”
forthcoming, Justice and Freedom in Hegel, edited by Diego Bubbio and Andrew
“Self-deception in Pippin’s Modernity,” forthcoming, Philosophical Engagements with
Modernity (Festschrift for Robert Pippin), edited by Daniel Conway and Jon Stewart,
“Fanatical Abstraction: Hegel on the Hazards of Pure Thinking,” forthcoming,
Fanaticism and the History of Philosophy, edited by Paul Katsafanas. Routledge.
“Transcendentalism: Self-Perfection and Social Reform in Mary Moody Emerson,
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and Margaret Fuller,” forthcoming, The Oxford Handbook of
American and British Women Philosophers in the Nineteenth Century.
“The Value of a Right: Status and Equivalence in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,”
in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Critical Perspectives on Freedom and History, edited by Dean Moyar, Kate Padgett Walsh, and Sebastian Rand. Routledge, 2022, 105-124.
“Hegel on the Living Good and the Goodness of Living,” in Zweite Natur, hrsg. J. Christ und A. Honneth, Ludwig Beck, 2022, 295-320.
“The Proximity of Philosophy to Religion: Hegel’s Evaluative Reason,” in Hegel’s Encyclopedic System, edited by S. Stein and J. Wretzel, Routledge, 2021, 218-239.
“Hegel’s Psychology: The Unity of Theoretical and Practical Mind,” in Hegel’s Encyclopedia: A Critical Guide, edited by S. Stein and J. Wretzel, Cambridge University Press, 2021, 166-184.
“Kant and Hegel on the Drive of Reason: From Concept to Idea through Inference,” in Kantian Legacies in German Idealism, edited by G. Gentry, Routledge, 2021, 71-101.
“Fichte on the Content of Conscience,” Fichte’s System of Ethics: A Critical Guide, edited by Stefano Bacin and Owen Ware, Cambridge University Press, 2021, 109-130.
“Intentional Agency and Conceptual Idealism: Brandom on Hegelian Reason,” in Reading Brandom on ‘A Spirit of Trust,’ edited by Gilles Bouche, Routledge, 2020, 87-104.
“The Reciprocal Cultivation of Self and State: Fichte's Civic Perfectionism,” in Perfektionismus der Autonomie. Hrsg. von Douglas Moggach, Nadine Mooren und Michael Quante, Fink Verlag, 2019, 139-162.
“Hegel’s Fact of Reason: Life and Death in the Experience of Freedom,” in Argumenta, 4, 2 (2019), 117-142.
“Recht gegen Recht: Widerspruch, Kollision, und Revolution,” in Ein Recht auf Widerstand gegen den Staat? Verteidigung und Kritik des Widerstandsrechts seit der europäischen Aufklärung, hrsg. David P. Schweikard, Ludwig Siep und Nadine Mooren, Mohr Siebeck, 2018, 71-97.
“Die Lehre vom Begriff. Zweiter Abschnitt. Die Objektivität,” in Kommentar zu Hegels Wissenschaft der Logik, hrsg. Michael Quante und Nadine Mooren, Felix Meiner, 2018, 559-650.
“Absolute Knowledge and the Ethical Conclusion of the Phenomenology,” in The Oxford Handbook of Hegel, Oxford University Press, edited by Dean Moyar, 2017, 166-198.
“Hegelian Conscience as Reflective Equilibrium and the Organic Justification of Sittlichkeit,” in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: A Critical Guide, edited by David James, Cambridge University Press, 2017, 77-96.
“Fichte’s Organic Unification: Recognition and the Self-Overcoming of Social Contract Theory,” in Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right: A Critical Guide, edited by Gabriel Gottlieb, Cambridge University Press, 2016, 218-238.
“The Inferential Object: Hegel’s Deduction and Reduction of Consciousness,” Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus, vol. 11, 2015, 119-144.
“The First Person and the Moral Law,” Kantian Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2, July 2015, 289-300.
“How the Good Obligates in Hegel’s Conception of Sittlichkeit: A Response to Robert Stern’s Understanding Moral Obligation,” Inquiry, Volume 55, Issue 6, 2012, 584-605.
“Thought and Metaphysics: Hegel’s Critical Reception of Spinoza,” in Spinoza and German Idealism, edited by Eckart Förster and Yitzhak Melamed, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 197-213.
“Consequentialism and Deontology in the Philosophy of Right,” in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Essays on Ethics, Politics and Law, edited by Thom Brooks, Blackwell, 2012, 9-42.
“Kantian Right and the Realization of Free Agency,” in Rethinking Kant, Vol. 3. (2011),124-159.
“Rethinking Autonomy in Hegel’s Earliest Writings,” The Owl of Minerva, Vol. 42, Nos. 1-2 (2010-2011)), 63-88.
“Hegel and Agent-Relative Reasons,” in Hegel on Action, edited by Arto Laitinen and Constantine Sandis, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 260-280.
“Naturalism in Ethics and Hegel’s Distinction Between Subjective and Objective Spirit,” Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain, Vol. 61, 2010, 1-22.
“The Political Theory of Kant, Fichte and Hegel,” in The Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy, edited by Dean Moyar, Routledge, 2010, 131-164.
“Unstable Autonomy: Conscience and Judgment in Kant’s Moral Philosophy,” Journal of Moral Philosophy 5.3, 2008, 327-360.
“Self-Completing Alienation: Hegel’s Argument for Transparent Conditions of Free Agency,” in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Critical Guide, edited by Dean Moyar and Michael Quante, Cambridge University Press, 2008, 150-172.
“Urteil, Schluss und Handlung: Hegels logische Übergänge im Argument zur Sittlichkeit,” Hegel-Studien 42, 2007, 51-80.
“Hegel’s Pluralism: History, Self-Conscious Action, and the Reasonable,” History of Philosophy Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2007, 189-206.
“Die Verwirklichung meiner Autorität: Hegels komplementäre Modelle von Individuen und
Institutionen,” in Hegels Erbe und die Theoretische Philosophie der Gegenwart, Suhrkamp, 2004, 209-253.
Oxford University Press , 2021
Oxford University Press , 2017
Routledge , 2010