Research

 

My past research has focused primarily on thirteenth and fourteenth century philosophy. I have worked on a variety of figures and topics, including modality, truth and God’s interaction with creatures. I have published on Aquinas and Scotus, as well as lesser-known, but nevertheless important, figures such as Peter Olivi and Thomas Bradwardine. Most of my current work in this period focuses in particular on the topics of causation and causal powers.

In recent years, I have also become increasingly interested in the transition from late medieval philosophy to early modern philosophy and science.  The scientific revolution is often regarded as a significant break from past ways of thinking and the birth of the modern world. Some of my current projects challenge this standard narrative by showing important continuities between ideas in late medieval natural philosophy and foundational concepts in major early modern thinkers.

Another topic I am very interested in is late medieval/early modern discussions of the phenomenon we refer to today as a congenital disability. Organisms born without the standard attributes of their species were an important topic of debate in this transitional period in so far as they seemed to pose a counterexample to the Aristotelian theories of form, essence and final causality. I am interested both in how thinking about congenital disabilities posed challenging questions about the natural world, as well as how shifts in natural philosophy led to shifts in views about the moral status of humans with severe disabilities.

Some current projects:

“Aquinas on Action, Power and Efficient Causation,” book manuscript

A series of articles on medieval background to early modern concepts of motion and force.

“Medieval Aristotelians on Congenital Disability and their Early Modern Critics,” invited chapter in Disability in Medieval Philosophy, ed. S. Williams