Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford & Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford
Whilst I have very wide-ranging interests and reading habits, my published writings are concerned almost exclusively with the philosophy of G. W. Leibniz. In my earlier work, I was concerned primarily with Leibniz’s conception of the material world, the ways in which it grounds his mathematical natural philosophy, and its relation to his view that reality ultimately comprises an infinite plurality of unextended ‘mind-like’ monads. More recently, I have been writing about Leibniz’s philosophical theology and the ways in which it intersects with his ethics, and trying to develop a ‘transcendental pragmatist’ reading of his work as a whole.
As someone who has lived with a diagnosis of ‘bipolar disorder’ for twenty-five years, my personal trajectory has led me to believe that, for some people at least, philosophical reflection can be an important tool for managing the difficulties that life throws at us. I was lucky to come across Pierre Hadot’s work about 10 years ago when my brother (who teaches high school English) bought me a copy of Philosophy as a Way of Life as Christmas present. It has coloured and emboldened my thinking about philosophy ever since.
I am also a singer song-writer, and another recent project - Cantat Ergo Sumus - which comprises settings of poems by philosophers, combines my interests in philosophy and music