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I am a lecturer in philosophy in the School of Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews. Information about my teaching and other activities can be found on my staff website.

I am generally interested in the philosophy of the human sciences. This interest has led me to the thought of Benedict de Spinoza – an early pioneer of philosophical anthropology and moral psychology. I also work in the philosophy, often the critique, of economics and political economy. I believe that significant economic questions cannot be answered fruitfully without drawing on a philosophical understanding of human nature, culture, and conflict.

I have co-founded a research network, the Future of Work and Income Network at the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. The idea is to collect the efforts of researchers in a broad range of disciplines, to reflect philosophically on how we might organise labour and the distribution of resources in the future, facing climate change, technological adjustment, a changing global balance of power, and the clash of cultures.

I am completing a book manuscript, which aims to introduce and develop Spinoza’s theory of beatitude. This is the culmination of Spinoza’s theory of desire, since it describes the condition of ultimate satisfaction. Although Spinoza saw the revelation of true 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 – in particular his metaphysics, his social theory, and his philosophical anthropology. These are often studied separately; my introduction to beatitude aims at helping readers understand Spinoza’s philosophy as a unified whole. His theory is also of continuing relevance, since it pursues a personal, spiritual goal as the remedy for various social dysfunctions (excessive ambition and competitiveness, grandstanding, ideological conflict, groupthink), without depending on any tradition of revealed religion. I agree with the historian and philosopher Feng Youlan, however, that there are strong resemblances between Spinoza’s philosophy of beatitude and the ideas in certain Daoist texts, particularly the Zhuangzi.

My first book, Spinoza and Dutch Cartesianism, proposed a new interpretation of Spinoza, situating him in the context of debates within the Dutch Cartesian tradition, over the status of philosophy and its relation to theology.

I have also published a book examining the concept of debt from the perspective of language, history, and political economy.

I have co-founded a research network, the Future of Work and Income Network at the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. The idea is to collect the efforts of researchers in a broad range of disciplines, to reflect philosophically on how we might organise labour and the distribution of resources in the future, facing climate change, technological adjustment, a changing global balance of power, and the clash of cultures.

I am on the Executive Committee of the Aristotelian Society and the Management Committee of the British Society for the History of Philosophy. And I am a Research Scholar at the Global Institute for Sustainable Policy.

News

I appeared on the BBC’s Green Thinking podcast, to discuss climate change and the future of work.

I appeared on the podcast The Philosopher and the News, to discuss the Green New Deal.

I participated in a webinar with Rebuilding Macroeconomics on the question of whether private debt forgiveness should be part of the coronavirus exit strategy.

I appeared on the BBC World Service programme, In the Balance, to discuss the Green New Deal, with George Selgin and Ellen Brown.

I gave 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.

My colleague Professor Katherine Hawley and I published a submission to a inquiry into fake news by the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. Find all submissions here.