I am completing my PhD under the supervision of Gary Hatfield. My final year of dissertation work is supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. I am also a Fellow-in-residence at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (CHSTM).
My primary research focuses on the history of early modern natural philosophy and metaphysics, especially in Germany. My dissertation, Being and the Good: Natural Teleology in Early Modern German Philosophy studies three attempts in Enlightenment Germany to account for purpose and order in a mechanistic worldview: those of Leibniz, Wolff, and Kant. I frame these attempts by showing how the reception of the Scientific Revolution in Germany was conditioned by the metaphysics of Protestant scholasticism (covering figures such as Christoph Scheibler and Johann Clauberg). I argue that Leibniz, Wolff, and Kant inherit from neo-scholasticism the assumptions that 1) whatever exists by nature manifests goodness in some measure; and 2) that goal-directed processes require the capacity for intelligence. With that background, I show how, between Leibniz and Kant, the concept of natural ends shifts from being a metaphysical to an epistemological principle rooted in human subjectivity, and yet indispensable for the study of nature.
I have additional research interests in nineteenth century German philosophy and science, in the history and philosophy of psychology, and in medieval Arabic theories of causation.