I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Virginia Tech and Founding Director of its Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). In addition, I am a Core Faculty Member of the ASPECT Program (an interdisciplinary doctoral program in the humanities and social sciences), an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, and a Faculty Fellow at the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience at Virginia Tech. I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I am author of Minimal Morality: A Multilevel Social Contract Theory (Oxford University Press) and Contractarianism (Cambridge University Press). My main research interests lie in moral and political philosophy, with a focus on some of the key figures of the two disciplines, such as Hobbes, Hume, Kant, and Rawls. I am also interested in contemporary issues in moral and political philosophy, such as the integration of rational and evolutionary moral approaches, public reason, moral pluralism, the welfare state, and the topic of global justice.
VISITING POSITIONS, FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS, AND GRANTS
During my academic career, I held Visiting Professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its joint Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with Duke University, as well as the University of Graz. In addition, I was a Faculty Fellow at the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, and I served as John Stuart Mill Visiting Chair of Social Philosophy at the University of Hamburg. I received internal grants from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Provost’s Office, and (together with three colleagues) from the Policy Strategic Growth Area at Virginia Tech. I was awarded scholarships and external grants through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). I also received several internal and external grants in support of my interdisciplinary work and the development of PPE at Virginia Tech.
PROGRAM IN PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS, AND ECONOMICS
I am the Founding Director of the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Virginia Tech. The program integrates research, teaching, and outreach to develop comprehensive solutions to complex interdisciplinary decision-making problems, solutions that are not only economically sound, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. The program offers an innovative research and learning environment that allows faculty and students to work collaboratively on problems of tomorrow’s world. In addition to its interdisciplinary, research-driven undergraduate degree programs in PPE that train students to become leaders in the 21st century, the program organizes many events and activities that foster dialogue among faculty, students, and the public. Past and present guest speakers include Kyoto Prize Winner Martha C. Nussbaum, Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen, New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely, and Nobel Prize Winner Esther Duflo.
ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES AND SERVICE
I served in the following administrative capacities at Virginia Tech (selected): Design Team Member of the Policy Strategic Growth Area (University); Faculty Senate (University); Chair of the Administrative Review Committee of the Director of the ASPECT Program (College); Chair of the Administrative Review Committee of the HOD of Philosophy (College); Promotion and Tenure Committee (College); Promotion and Tenure Committee (Philosophy); Personnel Committee (Philosophy); Assessment and Evaluation (Philosophy); Graduate Admissions Committee (Philosophy); Graduate Admissions Committee (ASPECT); Curriculum Committee (Philosophy); Curriculum Committee (ASPECT); Teaching and Honorifics Committee (Philosophy); Publications and Events Committee (ASPECT); Program Outreach and Development Committee (ASPECT); Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee (ASPECT); and Chair or Committee Member of more than fifteen searches in Philosophy, PPE, Political Science, Economics, ASPECT, and the College.
In addition to my academic career, I have worked in Strategic Management Consulting and Political Consulting (for example, for Batten & Company), as a research assistant at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, as a professional furniture maker (with degree), in a Nature Friends House, and in a One World Shop.