Refereed Articles

2023 “Actual Infinity: Spinoza’s Substance Monism as a Reply to Aristotle’s Physics,Southwest Philosophy Review, forthcoming.

Abstract: We can conceive of Spinoza’s substance monism as a response to Aristotle’s prohibition against actual infinity for one reason: nature, being all things, is necessarily infinite. Spinoza encapsulates his substance monism with the phrase, “Deus, sive Natura,” implying that there is only one infinite substance, which also possesses an infinity of attributes, of which we are but modes. These logical delineations of substance never actually break up God’s reality. Aristotle’s well-known argument against the reality of an actual infinity in his Physics prohibits the existence of an actually infinite bodily substance because it would necessarily “destroy” (Physics 204b26-27) all other elements or bodies. On Aristotle’s view, there is a fundamental and concrete distinction between things: each substance is primarily a this (Categories 3b10). I maintain that Spinoza’s rationalism and radicalization of the principle of sufficient reason lends him greater explanatory potential than Aristotle to justify the (non)existence of actual infinity.

2023 “Spinoza and Descartes on Expression: Conception and Ideational Intentionality,Journal of Early Modern Studies, Special Issue on Spinoza’s Expression, forthcoming.

Abstract: I make the case that Spinoza built on Descartes’s conception of what it means for a mind to have an idea by linking it with his concept of expression because ideas express realities in terms of a causation-conception conditional (but not vice versa). Briefly, if an idea is caused by a being, then that being is conceived through that idea. Descartes thinks of my clearly and distinctly possessing an idea as a sufficient ground for my expression of what I understand. I take adequate ideas to be their equivalent. Spinoza links the connection and order of ideas with that of things because conceptualization of what is caused and its causes have to coincide (the causation-conception conditional). Thus, Spinoza’s view must also involve my clearly and distinctly possessing an idea as grounds for both expression of its content and the actual existence of a corresponding object of this idea. I stress the intentionality of ideas and discuss what follows from it taken alongside the univocity of being according to Spinoza’s substance monism. Put simply, on both Descartes’s and Spinoza’s views, ideas are always ideas of something. Ideas must express the reality of some corresponding being; in turn, being is itself expressive.

2022 “Critical Commodities: Adorno on Beethoven and Jazz,Southwest Philosophy Review 38(1): 219-226,

Abstract: This paper is a critique of Adorno’s ideas concerning jazz from his own perspective. I approach the topic from a dialectical standpoint, accounting for the historical development of jazz in the African-American context while trying to understand why Adorno found nothing of the genre redeemable; he scorned jazz as an unoriginal product of the culture industry. Drawing on the work of Eric Hobsbawm and Fumi Okiji on jazz, history, and Adorno, I try to demonstrate the internal contradiction of Adorno’s dislike of jazz and appraisal of Beethoven. Although Adorno’s critical tools of the culture industry, deconcentration, and his usage of Lukács’s idea of reification are indispensable, Adorno should have consistently applied the subtle distinction between two intrinsically tied but nevertheless separate entities: (1) an artwork and (2) the mode of production in which it is developed.

2022 “Inexhaustibility: St. John of the Cross and Barthes’s Author Function,Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 26(2): 309-23,

Abstract: St. John of the Cross was aware of the fact that his mysticism resisted prosaic, discursive representation; however, most contemporary scholars have overlooked this radical component of his work. First, I trace the major philosophical influences on John’s work: Medieval Neoplatonism and Scholasticism (especially Pseudo-Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as Ibn Arabi and possibly Averroes). Second, by drawing on the Barthesian-Foucauldian concept of the author function, I demonstrate that the Mystical Doctor saw his poetry as free-standing, inexhaustible by even his own efforts to systematize key aspects of his poetry—an insurmountable task, which he had to be compelled to compile and publish by the nuns he guided in spiritual direction.

Commentaries and Reviews

2021 “Why Nietzsche Was So Wise: Comments on Joseph Swenson,Southwest Philosophy Review 37(2): 45-48,