Position Type
Faculty
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- Present

Overview

Biography

I was educated at Providence College, graduating in 1963 with an AB degree (Cum Laude) in Philosophy. I continued my work in Philosophy, receiving my MA from St. Stephen’s College and my Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. In addition, I have a Certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. I presently hold an endowed professorship in the Department on Philosophy, and earlier I was awarded the Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair.

My most important graduate school mentor—although we didn’t use that term in the late 1960s—was Robert G. Turnbull, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Ohio State and himself a most distinguished scholar/teacher. It was Bob Turnbull who forced me to re-think the scholastic philosophy from my earlier academic work with the insights and rigor of contemporary analytic philosophy. That combination indeed made my scholarly life. I have published nearly sixty philosophical articles, essays in books, and book reviews in The American Journal of Jurisprudence, Teaching Philosophy, The Thomist, New Blackfriars (Oxford), The Heythrop Journal (London), International Philosophical Quarterly, Cross Currents, Speculum, Philosophy in Review and The Psychological Record. I have also read philosophy papers, nearly ninety in all, at all three divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association, several regional Philosophy associations, and Institutes for Medieval Philosophy, among other conferences. My scholarly work has been directed towards the texts of Thomas Aquinas, the great thirteenth century Aristotelian. Recent work centered on constructing an analytic explicatio textus of Aquinas’s work on ethical naturalism, which culminated in Aquinas Theory of Natural Law: An Analytic Reconstruction; this book appeared in 1996 from the Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press. A paperback edition was published in 1997 and reprinted in 2001. A more recent book-length manuscript has focused on Aquinas’s account of perception in his philosophy of mind and how this contrasts radically from the Cartesian model so prevalent in Modern Philosophy. Recent lectures were given at Northwestern University, Iona College, The University of Notre Dame, The University of North Florida, Kenyon College, Marquette University, Villanova University, Oklahoma State University, Luther College, The University of Scranton, the national meetings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Central and Pacific Divisions of the American Philosophical Association, The International Thomas Aquinas Society, the Thomas More Society, and the Smithsonian Institute. I gave the 2002 Aquinas Lecture at Providence College on recent scholarly work on the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the 2004 Suarez Lecture at Fordham University on “recta ratio” in Aquinas and Ockham, presented the 2006 Aquinas Lecture on Aquinas and Natural Law at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick and gave the Larwill Lecture at Kenyon College in 2013 on Natural Law Issues in Classical and Contemporary philosophy. An essay on natural law appeared in Contemporary Legal Problems: 1998 (OUP) and another in Virtue’s End: God in the Moral Philosophy of Aristotle and Aquinas (St. Augustine Press, 2008). Two chapters, one on Aquinas and natural law and the other on later medieval philosophy of law, recently appeared in an international series on jurisprudence: Volume Six of A Treatise of Legal Philosophy and General Jurisprudence: A History of the Philosophy of Law from the Ancient Greeks to the Scholastics (Springer, 2007). A chapter on Aquinas’s Theory of Mind appeared in a monograph entitled Analytical Thomism (Ashgate: 2006). In 2006, I served as the elected national President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association; I delivered the presidential address at the annual meetings held in Granville on issues in inner sense in Aquinas.

Teaching at an undergraduate college like Denison was always an aspiration. Working with students and helping them become connected with philosophy is an activity I treasure immensely. In my early teaching days, I was concerned that materials in philosophy either talked down to beginning students or were too difficult for them. With this problem in mind, I wrote Philosophy Matters (Charles Merrill: 1978), which combined what I took to be the best of an anthology and the best of an analytic commentary. This book went through five printings and has been re-printed privately for the 2013-14 academic year. In 1990, I received the Sears Teaching Award at Denison and in 1994 received the Carnegie Foundation United States Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year Award. My listing appears in the Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the Mid-west, and Who’s Who in American Education.

My intellectual avocation is regional history. I served on the Board of Management of the Granville Historical Society for fifteen years; there another member and I began a quarterly, The Historical Times, which in 1991 won a state historical award. I still serve as an editor of this quarterly. I have published over forty articles on local history, the most widely read treating an early 19th century Roman Catholic Bishop who worked with Native Americans appeared in Oxford’s New Blackfriars (1993). In addition, I have given over thirty presentations on topics in regional history. In 1985, I published A History of Aquinas College High School and am presently completing A Short History of East Columbus, Ohio. I am the author of An Illustrated History of the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club, which was published in 2007. I am an editor of Volume One of the 2005 Bicentennial History of Granville, which appeared in late 2004. This book contains a chapter that I co-authored; Volume Two contains two of my historical essays. This three-volume set recently received a national award from the National Association of State and Local Historians.

I served Denison University as Dean of the College for a five-year period, chaired the Philosophy Department twice—and once again for 2008-2009—and served as the founding Director of the Honors Program for fifteen years. I have been an evaluator for curriculum projects on four occasions for The National Endowment for the Humanities and have served as an external consultant for Honors Program development and philosophy department evaluation. I am a founding member of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors. Recent Honors Program narratives have been presented to the American Council of Academic Deans and at the National Meetings of the National Collegiate Honors Council. I was the central author for Denison’s North Central accreditation project in 1980. In 2004 and again in 2008, I served as President of The Granville Foundation.

Degree(s)
B.A., Providence College; M.A., St. Stephen's College; Ph.D., Ohio State University

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