I. Philosophy of Action
The causal theory of action: I am a sympathetic critic of the causal theory of action, and Humean accounts of action and mind in general.
The concept of basic action: I view basic action as an implication of the causal theory of action, and am working to refine recent critiques of Danto's idea.
A disjunctivist approach to action: I am in favor of certain disjunctivist approaches to action, and one of my projects is to develop parallel non-causal accounts involving the metaphysics of perception and the metaphysics of action.
The link between language and action: I am critical of the Davidsonian (and originally Cartesian) argument against animal action on the basis of language capacity. Language, I argue, is primarily for thought rather than for bodily action (and speech acts are not really an exception to this rule).
Anscombe on action descriptions: I defend Anscombe's approach to action descriptions, and argue that rejection of her account holds potentially dire consequences for ethics (and some ethicists).
II. Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science
Substance causation and biological wholes: I give a fresh defense of substance or agent causation, with the concept of animality at the center of my analysis (see my 'Action, Animacy, and Substance Causation' in Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, Routledge 2018).
Davidson on animal minds, empirical studies on animal psychology: I am working to develop a philosophical analysis of recent ethological studies, with the aim of proving that a Davidsonian account of animal minds, and Cartesian approaches to animalism in general, are unacceptable from both a philosophical and empirical standpoint.
Philosophical concepts of genus and species identities: I argue that there is an important distinction between the scientific and philosophical approaches to the question of what genus and species concepts are, and am working to develop a philosophical analysis to this question, beginning with Aquinas's treatment in De ente et essentia.
The metaphysics of taste and empirical research: I would like to show that there is an intriguing contrast within the metaphysics of taste between rational and non-rational animals, with the plausible ethical consequence that only rational agents are capable of intemperance.
III. Aristotle and His Successors
Hylomorphism and action theory: I defend and revise a recent account of action as hylomorphically structured, adopting Aristotle's argument in De Anima of the emotions as 'enmattered wholes'.
Aristotle on action as change: I am a sympathetic critic of recent Aristotelian accounts of action as change.
Aristotle's classification of action kinds: I am working to develop a comprehensive account of Aristotle's classification of the kinds of action and movement, as addressed in the Nicomachean Ethics, Metaphysics, and elsewhere.
Aristotle on animal action: I show that Aristotle was a defender of the concept of animal action, and explain why.
IV. Human Rights and Political Philosophy
The purpose of religious exercise: I am sympathetic to but ultimately critical of recent accounts of 'religious atheism', which substantially revises the traditional account of religious exercise, and raises questions about the status of its legal protection.
The role of biological naturalism in political societies: I am working to develop the ancient idea that the concepts of a political community and civic friendship are ideally examined through the lens of biological naturalism, and raise difficulties for the concept of civic friendship.
'The Unity of Action: a Metaphysics of Agency', manuscript in progress
Articles and Chapters
‘Thomistic Animalism’, New Blackfriars (forthcoming 2018)
‘Free Religious Exercise’, in Cambridge Companion to First Amendment and Religious Liberty, eds. Owen Anderson and Michael D. Breidenbach, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming 2018)
‘Action, Animacy, and Substance Causation’, in Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, eds. Robert Koons, Nicholas Teh, and William Simpson, Routledge (2018)
‘The Bad Conscience, by Vladimir Jankélévitch, translated by Andrew Kelley’. The Review of Metaphysics (2017)