My first intellectual love is philosophy. Although I enjoy the arcana of logic, I’ll admit that contemporary formal logic — with its mathematical rigor — strikes me as being rather sterile. In fact, the trend toward positivism across the board in philosophy seems to have sucked the fun out if it for all but the most committed. So I have found a home searching for the practical applicability of ethics to the everyday lives of ordinary people.
I earned a B.A. in philosophy, with an emphasis in professional and applied ethics, from Western Michigan University in 2003. From there, I started an M.A. program in theoretical and practical ethics, from the same institution.
In terms of specific interests, I am especially fond of:
- Normative moral philosophy and the nature of moral evil [theoretical]
- Normative political theory (especially the nature of the state and its relationship to the individual) [theoretical]
- The application of evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology to the ethical assessment of human behavior, individual and social [practical]
- End-of-life decision-making [practical]
In addition to my academic work, I have served for several years as an officer of the biomedical ethics committee for Spectrum Health’s Grand Rapids hospitals. In that capacity, I coordinated standing meetings and ad-hoc case consultations, and I participated in almost every case consultation over a four-year tenure.
- The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy — intermediate-length definitions, in a peer-reviewed online resource
- Philosophy Now — a magazine of pop philosophy written for non-academics
- All About Philosophy — a series of easy-to-understand summaries of thinkers, schools of thought, and “big ideas”
- Philosophy Pages — a meta-site of info for people who wish to learn more about philosophy, from a not-so-technical perspective
- EpistemeLinks — an organized list to more than 19,000 philosophy resources on the Internet
- Ethics Updates— an excellent resource on ethics from Lawrence Hinman at the University of San Diego
- President’s Council on Bioethics — the White House working group exploring the moral implications of biomedical research
- Online Ethics Center — a clearinghouse of practical ethics guidelines from the National Academy of Engineering