I am a Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at New Paltz where I teach courses in ethics, political and social philosophy, history of modern philosophy, as well as classes devoted to topics in my areas of specialization. My research and writing is focused on two areas: eighteenth-century British moral philosophy and business ethics. Within the eighteenth century, I am particularly interested in the writings of Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith.
In both my teaching and research I do not draw a sharp distinction between philosophy and its history. Philosophical questions occur within a context that we ignore at our peril, if we are to understand fully an idea, argument, or problem.
My current work focuses on ambition, as a concept inspiring worry throughout the history of thought. In addition, I am writing on the idea of “self-love” (as distinct from self-interest and self-preservation) in the works of Adam Smith. My interest in this notion emerges from my recent essay, “Adam Smith and Self-Interest,” in the Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, edited by Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli, and Craig Smith (Oxford, 2013).
In the area of business ethics, my colleague Byron Kaldis (Hellenic Open University) and I are completing a unique and important volume on significant thinkers and the implications of their ideas for business ethics and the morals of commerce. To be published by the University of Chicago Press, Wealth, Commerce, and Philosophy: Foundational Thinkers and Business Ethics will include over twenty original essays, authored by notable contemporary scholars, on philosophers such as Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Montesquieu, Mandeville, Smith, Mill, Hegel, Hayek, Rawls, and Sen (among others) and what their ideas suggest regarding the ethics of commerce.
Finally, with Byron Kaldis and Alexei Marcoux, I have just embarked on a new venture– editing the Routledge Companion to Business Ethics.