I am a full professor of philosophy at Purchase College, State University of New York, where I have taught for almost thirty years. I received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1983 and a B.A.. in philosophy from Catholic University in 1970. My most significant publications are two books. The first is Subjectivity, Realism, and Postmodernism: The Recovery of the World in Recent Philosophy (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press,1994. Paperback edition, 1996.) There I claim that recent philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, set in a large historical context that goes back to the late medieval period, allow us to understand a development in philosophy that I call the disenchantment of subjectivity. This disenchantment, instead of leading towards a postmodern relativism, as others might believe, actually leads to a "recovery" of the world in two respects: we as thinkers are seen to be genuinely in touch with things as they are, and the world itself recovers a more substantial character from the thinning out process that modernity had imposed upon it. The second book is Why Does Literature Matter? (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2004). There I argue that recent literary theory has badly misread findings in philosophy of language and the theory of subjectivity. That misreading has apparently endorsed ways of understanding literature that make it seem mysterious why it matters at all. I argue strongly against a number of trends in literary theory and try to show, through combining philosophical and literary studies and through the examination of specific literary texts, why literature does indeed matter. I defend a specific notion of the space of literature that I describe as phenomenological, psychological, metaphysical, and regressive-disenchanted. I defend as well the importance of literary style and other aesthetic features. Four representative articles of mine are: “ ‘The Way Light at the Edge of a Beach in Autumn is Learned’: Literature as Learning,” in A Sense of the World: Fiction, Narrative, and Knowledge, ed. John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer, and Luca Pocci (New York and London: Routledge, 2007), 246-265; "Rorty and Antirealism," in Rorty and Pragmatism: The Philosopher Responds to His Critics, ed. Herbert Saatkamp, Jr. (Nashville and London: Vanderbilt University Press, 1995), 154-188; "Iterability and Meaning: The Searle-Derrida Debate," Metaphilosophy 19, no.1, 1988: 53-64; and "Metaphor and Davidsonian Theories of Meaning," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17, 1987: 625-42.
I am using the present web site to make new material freely available on the Web. If you click on “Recent Works” you will be able to read the full text of my book: Returning to Nietzsche: Eros, Hellenism, and the Aesthetic. There I argue that the use of Nietzsche by post-structuralism and other literary theories since 1970 has filtered out what is most interesting in his writings, regarding the aesthetic value of literature. I think the humanities will benefit from a proper return to him. I will also continue to add essays to this site that rest on the border between philosophy and literature, and on the border between scholarship and journalism.