I am an assistant professor at Bard College. I received my PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh, along with an MA in Bioethics and Health Law, supported by a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. I also have an MPhil from the History & Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Cambridge, which was funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust, and a BA from the University of Chicago. Before joining Bard's faculty I taught for four years in Columbia University's Department of Philosophy.
For the most part my work is in history and philosophy of psychiatry. In both my historical and philosophical work I take a contextualist approach - working in history of philosophy, I take seriously the political, religious, and natural-philosophical agendas of my central figures, and the local disputes and provocations to which they were responding. Most of all I am concerned with the medical views that motivated and shaped early-modern and modern philosophical inquiries into the nature of irrationality and its implications for ethics. Along these lines my book project, on John Locke's theory of the association of ideas, demonstrates how Locke's medical commitments shape and constrain his epistemology, his moral philosophy, and his theology. In philosophy of psychiatry I also try to think about the broader context, specifically the ethical, political, and cultural implications of the way mental illness is researched and treated. I also am interested in the practical side of medical ethics, especially in issues of distributive justice.