Faculty Research

cling2015ANDREW CLING, Professor and Associate Dean. VITA Dr. Andrew D. Cling's research in philosophy is currently focused on questions in the theory of knowledge. In particular, he is interested in a family of ancient skeptical paradoxes that seem to show that some of our core assumptions about having reasons for belief and good standards for intellectual judgment are inconsistent. He is currently at work on a manuscript on the problem of the criterion and the epistemic regress problem, two of these ancient paradoxes. Dr. Cling is also engaged in interdisciplinary work on memory and eyewitness identification with Dr. Jeffrey Neuschatz of the UAH Department of Psychology. Dr. Cling's papers have appeared in such journals as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Synthese, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophical Psychology.

FischerJEREMY FISCHER, Assistant Professor. VITA Dr. Fischer's work is primarily focused on exploring both the nature and ethical significance of our commitments to personal ideals. His research focuses on how these commitments are related to an individual's emotions and character traits. His recent research has built an account of the emotions of pride, shame, and contempt, explaining their connection to self-respect and to the character trait of pride. Dr. Fischer also writes about the moral significance of our social identities, especially our racial, sexual, and gender identities. His most recent essay considers the ethics of racial pride.


heikes2015DEBORAH HEIKES, Professor. VITA Dr. Heikes is an expert on Immanuel Kant, though her research focuses primarily on the shift away from modern accounts of mind. As an alternative, she has developed a concept of rationality as a virtue concept. In particular, she is interested in building an account of rationality that more completely includes subjective and social elements while still maintaining an objective ground for reason and for moral concepts like equality and justice. While her earlier work focused primarily on reconceiving of rationality based on feminist criticisms, her latest work also considers how modern accounts of rationality led to the development of race and how a post-Cartesian rationality is better able to accommodate the differences that exist among people. She has published three books on the topic of rationality: Rationality, Representation and Race (Palgrave Macmillan forthcoming 2016); The Virtue of Feminist Rationality (Continuum 2012), and Rationality and Feminist Philosophy (Continuum 2010). She has published articles in such journals as Synthese, The Journal of Mind and Behavior, and Southwest Philosophy Review.

JonesNICHOLAOS JONES, Associate Professor. VITA One part of Dr. Jones' current research is an attempt to explain when, and why, network visuals amplify cognition in various systems' biological  practices: organizing and aggregating data; storing, retrieving, and searching information; generating hypotheses and predictions; explaining phenomena; and so on. This involves developing case studies centered on different kinds of diagrams, applying results from cognitive science about the cognitive benefits of visualizations, and doing philosophical analysis to identify commonalities among the various kinds of diagrams that might explain these benefits. Another independent part of Dr. Jones' current research involves explicating various metaphysical claims about Fazang, a monk from the Huayan School of Chinese Buddhism. Fazang says some puzzling things: that a lion's ear is its eye, that one jewel contains the entire universe, that whatever exists is empty of existence. Dr. Jones' project is to reconstruct the arguments Fazang provides for these claims, and in doing so provide an interpretation that removes from them the appearance of mystery and irrationality.

NaleJOHN NALE, Assistant Professor. VITA Dr. Nale researches the mind-body problem and the concept of race. His recent essay, Kant's Racial Mind-Body Unions," argues that Kant's concept of race should be recognized as a solution to the problem. He is wrapping up a manuscript entitled "Another Mind-Body Problem: Mind, Body, and Race from Descartes to Kant," which argues that the mind-body problem is less a problem of beings that lack unity, but rather unifies minds and bodies that lack being. Earlier this year, Dr. Nale saw The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon appear, a volume of which he is co-editor.

w.wilkersonWILLIAM WILKERSON, Professor and Chair. VITA Dr. Wilkerson's research interests are currently split between two projects. First, he works on gay/lesbian philosophy. He explained how gay and lesbian identity can be both vivid and real while also remaining rooted in historical and social circumstances in his book, Ambiguity and Sexuality: A Theory of Sexual Identity. Since the publication of that book, he has been reading too much Foucault for his own good and working on the origins and genealogy of homophobia. This investigation seeks to place homophobia within broader cultural and political trends of the twentieth century. As for his second interest, he works to understand the relationship between subjectivity, freedom and the consciousness of time. This work takes off from his long interest in the existentialist tradition, and he is in the process of publishing essays on the Kantian roots of the Sartre/Merleau-Ponty debate over freedom. He is also trying to develop his own account of subjectivity and time that satisfies our basic intuitions about freedom.

GoochAUGUSTA GOOCH, Instructor. VITA Dr. Gooch's research focuses on metaphysical issues surrounding essence in contemporary texts. She is especially interested in Edith Stein's contributions to contemporary philosophy. She is further concerned to avoid deconstructionist programs in literary theory and to argue instead for the metaphysical status of literature as representative of a culture. She argues that human life reflects its link to the divine through spiritual life and artistic presences -- how these add to our flourishing as human beings is part of the philosophical task.