I grew up in Southern California, but have spent most of my adult life on the East Coast of the U.S. After receiving a B.A. in Philosophy from Brown University in 1996, I spent several years working in New York City at an environmental non-profit organization. I did my graduate studies at Georgetown University, receiving my Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2006. During the 2006-2007 academic year I held a Greenwall Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at The Johns Hopkins University.
I arrived at The University of Western Ontario in the fall of 2007. At Western, I am a member of the Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy Research Group and the Rotman Institute of Science and Values, as well as an affiliate member of the Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research. I am also a contributor to the new online philosophy review site Philosopher's Digest.
My primary teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of value theory and philosophy of mind, and encompass questions in meta-ethics, moral psychology, bioethics, and feminist ethics. Most broadly, my work explores the connections between, on the one hand, our distinctively human capacities to experience certain affective psychological states and, on the other, the fact that we encounter and navigate a world that is filled with value. I have argued that the solutions to several philosophical puzzles about how feelings and conceptual content come together to form a distinct category of mental states called "emotions" turn on the distinctive practical contributions emotions make to our substantive understanding of values. I continue to develop the moral psychological and meta-ethical implications of this view of emotions. Some of my recent work has taken a more practical turn, asking whether the contribution of our emotional states to moral understanding and agency might have ethical implications for new developments in psychopharmacology. I am particularly interested in the implications of using drugs such as beta-blockers to blunt the emotional impact of traumatic memories for both individual moral agency, and for our collective responses to violence and the socio-political conditions that support it.