I see myself as having two research programs, one in the history of European philosophy and another in Frankfurt School critical social theory. They are connected insofar as I challenge conventional readings and interpretations of certain canonical figures. In my view, history is an essential diagnostic tool both in philosophy and in our social relations.
Dissertation (full abstract)
My dissertation reevaluates the possible normative foundations of social critique. I identify an issue I call the "grounding problem" for social criticism. A common, Kantian or Rawlsian approach is to compare our social reality to a freestanding theory of justice. I argue critical theory's advantage comes from a deeply Hegelian insight which thinks our social reality alongside social criticism. In other words, freestanding principles of justice are less effective without historical grounding. At the same time, denying freestanding, ahistorical principles risks relativism, also insufficient for grounding social critique because it posits no necessarily binding normative concepts.
I approach the grounding problem arguing that an immanent approach to Adorno's "new categorical imperative," or never again Auschwitz [to anyone], offers a sufficient normative anchor that fulfills reconstructive requirements for a valid, historically grounded normative foundation that pushes towards transforming our already shared ethical life.
History of Philosophy (publications)
My second research program reconnects Spinoza's innovative thought with the history of philosophy as an heir of multiple traditions. I see Spinoza as an integral part of the philosophical conversation of Ancient and Medieval thought, whereas there is a tendency is to view Spinoza as breaking decisively with philosophical tradition. In my view, Spinoza's antecedents include Averroes (on the relation of Scripture to philosophy), other Medieval Aristotelians (against dualism), St. Anselm, and Descartes (on the ontological argument).