John and Jean Oesterle Associate Professor of Thomistic Studies
Discipline(s): Philosophy, Arabic Language and Literature, Latin Language and Literature
Available to direct dissertations
I work on medieval theories of mind, cognition, and personhood, with special focus on the thought of Thomas Aquinas and his thirteenth-century interlocutors. Themes that animate my research include, e.g., the nature of consciousness, the history of the self/person and concepts of subjectivity, what it means exactly to be "immaterial," Aristotelian hylomorphism and how it applies to mind, and problems connected with mental representation and intentionality, the relationship of imagination and intellect, and medieval theories of light and vision. In approaching these themes, I'm particularly interested in uncovering different ways of "modeling" the mind and its activities.
Another central research interest of mine is how Islamic philosophers--such as al-Farabi, Averroes, Avicenna, and the author of the "Liber de causis"--shaped Scholastic thought in medieval Christian Europe. Getting into the mindset of medieval philosophers, on my view, requires a scholarly community that is committed to rediscovering the broader shared philosophical tradition that connects Muslim, Jewish, and Christian thinkers in the Middle Ages, and tracing its patterns of development from late antiquity. To that end, I serve on the executive committee of the "Aquinas and the Arabs Project."
I am also a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.