If I had to pigeonhole my writing, I would say that my methods and style are loosely Analytic, but that I do not hesitate to venture into American pragmatism and Continental phenomenology, especially when those traditions connect with recent results in cognitive science. For instance, my book Consciousness and the Philosophy of Signs, which just came out in soft-cover, applies some of the ideas of C. S. Peirce to debates in philosophy of mind. Most philosophers know Peirce as the founder of American pragmatism, but few know that he also coined the term “qualia,” which is meant to capture the intrinsic feel of an experience. Since pragmatic verification and qualia are usually seen as conflicting commitments, I try to understand how Peirce could (or thought he could) have it both ways. At the biannual Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, my work was the object of a symposium titled “Against Mindless Pragmatism.” That slogan summarizes well this component of my work.
My work in the philosophical “LEMM” fields (Language/Logic, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Mind) contributes at a remove to my overarching aim, which is to craft an “enchanted” atheist worldview. As current political trends and events attest, when a society tries to chase away the religious, it comes back galloping (often in even less healthy forms). Humans need a large-scale sense of purpose. That need will not go away. So, as I explain in my most recent book, Myth, Meaning, and Antifragile Individualism, achieving a tenable secular alternative “requires (among other things) a viable theory of values, a viable theory of consciousness, a viable theory of meaning, and a viable theory of aesthetic experience and ritual” (2020, p. 181; emphasis added). Joining others, I would like to add bricks to that edifice.
I am currently working on my third book. In the meantime, you can find all of my published work on the following web sites: