My life’s work, not just my CV, is to reconcile the tensions between the analytic and contemplative strands in my nature: I am an analytic philosopher of religion, broadly conceived to include not only issues in Abrahamic religions and natural theology, but Buddhism and other Asian philosophies, religions, and contemplative traditions, as well as metaphysics, philosophy of mind, language, science, and related areas. My primary research focus is free will.

I am strictly an analytic philosopher, notwithstanding multiple decades of meditation practice. At CUNY, I was Jerry Katz’s grad assistant, and studied with Hartry Field, Stephen Schiffer, Jerry Fodor, Jaegwon Kim, David Rosenthal, Virginia Held, Charles Landesman, Jonathan Adler, Paul Taylor, Gertrude Ezorsky and others. I took my oral comprehensive exams in philosophy of language, logic, and mathematics; then I applied philosophy of mind and language to my dissertation on free will, arguing against its incompatibility with God’s foreknowledge, fatalism, determinism, etc., and for a metacognitive causal or ‘metacausal’ revision to Harry Frankfurt’s hierarchical theory. He and Galen Strawson were among my examiners; they strongly approved my dissertation, despite my criticisms of their mutually opposed views.

Philosophy of religion is at the core of my own search for meaning, and drives most of my research. What drew me to philosophy were mystical meditation experiences I had as a teenager, which contradicted my rational view of reality. I’ve struggled to resolve that tension since, explaining why I’m steeped in analytic philosophy of religion, which in my case subsumes a contemplative, phenomenological strand. After decades of practice, I understand meditation to be a form of analytic/phenomenological inquiry: critical introspective analysis of subjective experience. A reconciliationist in disposition, the formidable ties but greater tensions between these strands define me and both drive and inform my research.

My edited collection, Buddhist Perspectives on Free Will: Agentless Agency? (Routledge, 2016), has a great line up and solid endorsements. I’m working on a monograph on the same topic (for Routledge), another collection on philosophy and meditation, and another monograph on the tension between analytic thought and mystical experience—the subject closest to my heart.

I’ve taught 16 courses at four colleges: three CUNY colleges (Brooklyn, LaGuardia, Kingsborough) and Vassar College. I’m a multiple-decades practitioner of meditation and yoga. For a decade I’ve co-led the CUNY Contemplatives Network, a CUNY-wide group of over 100 contemplative faculty (organizing conferences, lecture series, meditations, films), and led a weekly meditation group on campus, and for 17 years I’ve taught meditation and yoga in the community, among many related activities. I’m a Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. I administer several online discussion groups, our faculty social media website, and my department’s wiki. I’m active in governance on campus, across CUNY, and in the American Philosophical Association.
Education
Ph.D, CUNY, NYC, 2005
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Topics of professional interest: free will and moral responsibility; God’s foreknowledge and free will; Buddhist views of free will; contemplative practices and free will; meditation; Buddhist philosophy; the problem of evil and theodicy; divine command theory; the ethics of teaching philosophy of religion; atheism versus agnosticism; contemplative philosophy; contemplative pedagogy; theological pluralism; mystical non-duality and its cognitive value (and alleged ineffability); comparative religion; the grounds for worship; perfect being theology; comparative theodicy (which theodicy best coheres with the best possible being?); Asian philosophy; Classical philosophy; and global ethics.
Personal Interests
I’m a multiple-decades meditation and yoga practitioner and instructor, an exercise enthusiast, a former marathoner, a 4th degree black belt in Shotokan karate, and an amateur artist.
Websites