Dissertation

Aristotle's Notion of Teaching and Its Role in His Theory of Moral Education

Aristotle says that intellectual virtues are “generated and developed mostly by teaching,” yet no substantive work has been done to figure out what, on Aristotle’s view, such ‘teaching’ consists of. My dissertation fills this gap. First, I defend my interpretation: for Aristotle, teaching is the activity of instilling true accounts, grounded in explanatorily basic principles, in students ready to receive them. I then use this reading to argue, against some prevailing views in Aristotle’s ethics, that (1) habituation does not require teaching, and (2) Aristotle’s practically wise person possesses a philosophical conception of the human good. Finally, I use my interpretation to solve a problem for Aristotelian educational theory. I argue that Aristotle's educational program, contrary to what critics have claimed, does not rob students of their autonomy.

Publications

"Dewey, Aristotle, & Education as Completion" Philosophy of Education 2018 (1): 669-682

I enlist Dewey’s help to reveal the philosophical conceptions of education that underlie traditionalism and progressivism—the two models of education that have governed pedagogical thinking for nearly a century. Dewey ties traditionalism to education as formation and progressivism to education as development. I argue that Dewey’s division establishes a false dichotomy and that Aristotle’s program of education, which I call education as completion, combines aspects of both models to provide a path for educational theory to avoid the pitfalls of both traditionalism and progressivism. I then defend my interpretation of Aristotle's paradigm against Dewey's objections to education as unfolding—a similar model of education that Dewey criticizes.

Recent Presentations

"Learning from AlphaGo: To Partner With A.I., Cultivate Character First"
Wake Forest University 

Artificial intelligence holds great promise, but it also promises great disruption. Should we fear the evolution of A.I.? How can we navigate the turbulence caused by A.I.’s ascendance? AlphaGo—the documentary that covers the landmark Go tournament between the world’s best human Go player and an A.I.—offers this central lesson: we should not fear A.I. as a competitor, but welcome it as a partner and, perhaps, a teacher. In this talk, I disassemble and reconstruct this premise. I find a second lesson in AlphaGo that has not received the attention it deserves: we can inoculate ourselves against much of A.I.’s disruption by cultivating our character. In fact, in order to partner with A.I. as AlphaGo recommends, we should cultivate our character first.