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, along with classes devoted to topics in my areas of specialization. My research and writing are 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 self-love, especially as employed in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and on the notion of ambition, a concept inspiring worry throughout the history of thought and of particular concern in the eighteenth century.
Some recent publications include an essay on public philosophy, “The Poor Lady Immured: Notes on Public Philosophy,” Metaphilosophy 50, no 3 (April 2019), along with an article on ambition and another on sympathy, both in Passions Sociales, edited by Gloria Origgi (Paris: PUF, 2019). An essay on Sir John Davies’s conception of unintended custom is forthcoming in The Review of Politics. And a year ago, I co-wrote, with Zisai Lin (Zhejiang Normal University), an essay (Journal of Scottish Philosophy) on similarities between Adam Ferguson and Immanuel Kant regarding the postulates of God, freedom, and immortality (Lin & Heath, JSP, 2018).
With the collaboration of Byron Kaldis and Alexei Marcoux, we published The Routledge Companion to Business Ethics (2018), a volume of 39 chapters devoted to a breadth of topics in the ethics of business: https://www.routledge.com/9781138789562. Byron Kaldis (National Technical University of Athens) and I also published a unique volume on significant thinkers and the implications of their ideas for business ethics and the morals of commerce: Wealth, Commerce, and Philosophy: Foundational Thinkers and Business Ethics (2017), http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/W/bo25581486.html. This volume also includes my essay on Bernard Mandeville and business ethics, “As Free for Acorns as for Honesty: Mandevillean Maxims for the Ethics of Commerce.”