About Me

I am a Virginia trained philosopher. I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Virginia in May 2010. I have an M.A. in Philosophy from UVA and a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

My undergraduate thesis was about the project of physicalism in philosophy of mind. I argued that it was fundamentally an evaluative and methodological project and not a metaphysical one. While I was still obsessed with those debates, I decided to work on a master’s thesis about phenomenal consciousness. I defended a version of non-reductive physicalism about qualia. I was dismissive about the conceivability arguments for property dualism but optimistic about the prospects of introspective arguments revealing the nature of consciousness. I argued that our conscious experiences, what it’s like to experience a sensation, are not physical states but they do depend upon physical systems. When I decided to write my dissertation, I stepped away from the philosophy of mind and turned to some questions in ethics about the nature of integrity.

After graduating from UVA, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from July 2010 until December 2012. Briefly after arriving at UNC, Dr. Gary Gala, MD and I co-founded the Philosophy and Psychiatry Research Group (PPRG). The group regularly held meetings in the Department of Philosophy from 2010-15 and now holds meetings in the School of Medicine. We continue to co-direct the group.

After a couple of exciting years of teaching in the Department of Philosophy, I had the opportunity to focus on my research. I became a postdoctoral fellow in Health Care Quality and Patient Outcomes from January 2013-December 2014. The fellowship was funded by the UNC School of Nursing (PI: Dr. Barbara Mark) and the mentor for my project was Dr. Eric Juengst (Director of the Center for Bioethics at UNC). During that time, I conducted a massive review of the philosophical literature on human enhancement and we co-authored an entry of the topic for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

After completing that fellowship, I was a trainee in the National Research Service Award (NRSA) Mental Health Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, which is a collaborative project between The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC and the Duke University Medical Center. The mentor for my training program was Dr. Jeffrey Swanson (Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University). I worked with him on topics in public health law and policy, including mandated community treatment for psychiatric disorders, psychiatric advance directives, and the relation of mental illness and violence.

I was the Managing Editor of Public Affairs Quarterly from 2013-2014 and was the the Chair of the Mental Health Ethics and Policy Affinity Group of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities from 2014-2016.

My wonderful partner of ten years is Joy Meyer. She is currently attending the MFA Program in Studio Art at UNC Chapel Hill.