I am a lecturer in philosophy in the School of Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews.
My research focusses on early modern rationalism – particularly the philosophy of Spinoza. My first book proposed a new interpretation of Spinoza, situating him in the context of debates over the status of philosophy and its relation to theology in the Dutch Republic.
I am completing a book manuscript, which aims to introduce and develop Spinoza’s theory of beatitude. Originally, this was a Judeo-Christian notion, but it is widened by Spinoza into something with an appeal beyond any specific religious tradition. Although Spinoza saw beatitude as the ultimate goal towards which his philosophy reached, there are few interpretative works devoted primarily to this theme. Spinoza’s theory of beatitude is, in my view, the keystone that holds together diverse parts of his philosophy – his metaphysics of time, his theory of human personhood, his theory of the emotions, his theories of human sociability, and his philosophy of religion. These are often studied separately; my introduction to beatitude aims at helping readers understand Spinoza’s philosophy as a unified whole.
More generally I’m interested in the history of logic in this period, particularly in how logic was used for learning metaphysical truths inaccessible to the senses and for ending hostile controversies on religion, politics, etc.
I also work on the philosophy of economics and have published a book examining the concept of debt from the perspective of language, history, and political economy. I’m interested in the philosophy of macroeconomics, which receives considerably less attention from philosophers than microeconomics.
I appeared on the BBC World Service programme, In the Balance, to discuss the Green New Deal, with George Selgin and Ellen Brown.
I am giving a public lecture on the ethics of debt and finance at the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle, hosted by Bigg Books.
I am doing a series of interviews on philosophy of economics with Conatus News – the material is available here.