I think the job of philosophy is to help persons live a good life. Towards this end, philosophy offers not only valuable conceptual analysis, but also, and more importantly, the ability to synthesize findings from a wide range of disciplines into an empirically informed theory of the good. We cannot expect to know what it means to live life well if we shut our eyes to cutting-edge thinking in such disciplines as psychology, biology, neurology and anthropology. Because philosophy is not itself an empirical science, it can see connections across disciplinary differences, which is, in my opinion, vital for understanding the nature and origin of moral experience, judgment and action.
BA. Philosophy, University of Washington, 1980 (cum laude with departmental honors).
MA. Philosophy, Boston College, 1988 (with high distinction).
Phd. Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 1995.
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Philosophy Department and Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago, (1995-1998).
I am interested in the role that pro-social dispositions play in human flourishing. Recent work in developmental psychology, positive psychology, evolutionary biology, moral psychology, neuro-biology and anthropology suggest to me the elements of an interdisciplinary theory of human flourishing, at the heart of which lies the cultivation of our innate abilities (socio-psychological mechanisms) to connect, cooperate and mutually benefit each other.