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        “A Perspectival Account of Acedia in the Writings of Kierkegaard.”In Religions: Special Issue on Kierkegaard and Theology 11(2), 80 (2020). Co-Authored with Brandon Dahm and Jared Brandt.
        Abstract: Søren Kierkegaard is well-known as an original philosophical thinker, but less known is his reliance upon and development of the Christian tradition of the Seven Deadly Sins, in particular the vice of acedia, or sloth. As acedia has enjoyed renewed interest in the past century or so, commentators have attempted to pin down one or another Kierkegaardian concept (e.g., despair, heavy-mindedness, boredom, etc.) as the embodiment of the vice, but these attempts have yet to achieve any consensus. In our estimation, the complicated reality is that, in using slightly different but related concepts, Kierkegaard is providing a unique look at acedia as it manifests differently at different stages on life’s way. Thus, on this “perspectival account”, acedia will manifest differently according to whether an individual inhabits the aesthetic, ethical, or religious sphere. We propose two axes for this perspectival account. Such descriptions of how acedia manifests make up the first, phenomenal axis, while the second, evaluative axis, accounts for the various bits of advice and wisdom we read in the diagnoses of acedia from one Kierkegaardian pseudonym to another. Our aim is to show that Kierkegaard was not only familiar with the concept of acedia, but his contributions helped to develop and extend the tradition.

      • Acedia and Its Relation to Depression.”In The Faces of Depression in Literature. Edited by Josefa Ros Velasco (Harvard University). Bern: Peter Lang Publishing. (Forthcoming, 2020).
        Abstract: There has been recent work on acedia and its relationship to depression, but the results are a mixed bag. In this essay, I engage some recent scholarship comparing acedia with depression, endeavouring to clarify the concept of acedia using literature from theology, philosophy, psychiatry, and even a 16th-century treatise on witchcraft. Along the way, I will show the following key theses. First, the concept of acedia is not identical to the concept of depression. Acedia is not merely a primitive psychological predecessor to depression, but it marks off significantly different ways of being, not least because of one’s spiritual relation to God. As Lucrèce Luciani-Zidane (2009: 13) has said, “acedia is entangled in the heart (or life) of Christian dogma.” Second, however, it is still possible that an instance of acedia can coincide with an instance of depression, if one’s condition, or state, is such that each term can be correctly and truthfully applied. By the conclusion of this piece, I begin to explore what practical implications this view has for practitioners and laypersons.

      • “Review of Toward a Theology of Psychological Disorder. By Marcia Webb.”Heythrop Journal. (Forthcoming, 2020).

      • Aporia as Pedagogical Technique.” AAPT Studies in Pedagogy 4: Experiential Learning and Education. (Forthcoming, 2019).
        Abstract: In this essay, I muse upon aporia’s value as a pedagogical technique in the philosophy classroom using as a guide examples of aporia that are found in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. The word aporia, translated as “without passage” or “without a way,” is used metaphorically to describe the unsettling state of confusion many find themselves in after engaging in philosophical discourse. Following a brief introduction in which I situate aporia as a pedagogy amicable to experiential learning, I examine various ways in which aporia appears in certain Platonic dialogues, which enables us to draw out some paradigmatic features of aporia. I then discuss how I apply aporia as a pedagogical technique in the contemporary philosophy classroom, taking up three specific concerns in detail: aporetic discomfort, right use, and potential misuse.

      • “Depression and the Emotions: An Argument for Cultivating Cheerfulness.” Philosophia: Special Issue on the Philosophy of Emotions 46:3, 771-784 (2018).
        Abstract: In this paper, I offer an argument for cultivating cheerfulness as a remedy to sadness and other emotions, which, in turn, can provide some relief to certain cases of depression. My thesis has two tasks: first, to establish the link between cheerfulness and sadness, and second, to establish the link between sadness and depression. In the course of accomplishing the first task, I show that a remedy of cultivating cheerfulness to counter sadness is supported by philosophers as diverse as Thomas Aquinas, Baruch Spinoza, and David Hume in their writings on the passions. I also show that my argument can generalize to promote the cultivation of other emotions. In the course of accomplishing the second task, I consider different models of depression and how the emotions are related to depression. The purpose of this paper is to offer conceptual, philosophical support that is consistent with the most current empirical data on depression.

      • “Review of The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays. Eds. David Christensen & Jennifer Lackey.” In Philosophia Christi 20:1, 305-308 (2018).

      • “Who You Could Have Known: Divine Hiddenness, Epistemic Counterfactuals, and the Recalcitrant Nature of Natural Theology,” Int’l. Journal for Phil of Religion, 82: 337-348 (2017). (co-authored w/Brandon Rickabaugh)
        Abstract: We argue there is a deep conflict in Paul Moser’s work on divine hiddenness (DH). Moser’s treatment of DH adopts a thesis we call SEEK: DH often results from failing to seek God on His terms. One way in which people err, according to Moser, is by trusting arguments of traditional natural theology to lead to filial knowledge of God. We argue that Moser’s SEEK thesis commits him to the counterfactual ACCESS: had the atheist sought after God in harmony with how God reveals himself, she would have had access to filial knowledge of God. By failing to incorporate arguments or propositional evidence for God’s existence, Moser’s account leaves the doubting seeker without any evidential reason to think that either SEEK or ACCESS is true. Without this rational motivation in place, the doubting seeker is unlikely to seek after God in the way ACCESS describes. We argue that natural theology provides an evidential epistemic aid to motivate persons to seek God the way ACCESS describes. Thus, Moser is mistaken. Such arguments can be evidentially helpful in coming to know God. In conclusion, we explain how our reply naturally fits how we form and maintain trusting interpersonal relationships with others.

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      Ph.D. Dissertation

      Fallow Season: An Historical Case for aSpiritual Etiology of Depression

      Abstract This dissertation work is part historical, part analysis. It surveys prima facie historical predecessors to depression—a chapter each on acediatristitianoche oscuramelancholia, and Tungsindighed. The analytic portion compares and contrasts each historical condition with depression, examining their symptoms, etiology, historical circumstances, and more. As it turns out, many, if not all, of these historical conditions can present with or essentially have some kind of spiritual etiology. I argue that if they are symptomatically similar enough to depression, and if human nature retains a general continuity over time, then we have good reason to think that there are at least some kinds of depression that have a spiritual etiology. (This does not entail that all cases of depression will be spiritual in kind, as others may have a biochemical etiology, an allostatic etiology, a systemic social inequality etiology, or else.) This philosophically-minded historical case for a spiritual etiology of depression dovetails with recent clinical and empirical studies, as well as with recently proposed theoretical frameworks, which associate depression with spiritual or religious factors. This dissertation thus brings together the history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, virtue ethics, and philosophy of psychology and psychiatry (especially mental health), featuring themes from Thomas Aquinas, Søren Kierkegaard, and the Desert Fathers, among others.

      • 1. Introduction

      • 2. Acedia (Sloth)

      • 3. Tristitia (Sorrow)

      • 4. Noche Oscura (Dark Night of the Soul)

      • 5. Melancholia (esp. Religious Melancholy)

      • i15 copyCreated with Sketch.

        6. Tungsindighed (Heavy-Mindedness)

      • 7. Conclusion

      • Appendix: Some Variety 0f Terms in Use
        Acedia / ἀκηδία / acédie / accidie / accidia / akhdialogismoi / λογίσμοιpigritia / paresse torporotiositas / oisif / oisiveté (“idleness”)slæƿð / slæwð / slewþe / slowthe / slothaemylnysseasolcennys / aswolcennessleacmodnessorinesseunrotnesgrevoushede divertente / divertissant / diversionsrestlessnessκατάθλιψη (katáthlipsi)aegritude (θλίψη (thlîpsis, “pressure”), aegritudo)
        Tristitia / sorrow / sadnesstristitia saeculi anxietas (species in Aquinas)pigritia (Bloomfield)sullen gloom (Paget)lypemania (lupê [λύπη], “sadness”)traurig / Traurigkeit
        Melancholy / melancholia / melan choler atrabilious / black bile (μέλαινα χολή, melaina chole)μελαγχολία / melankholíaMelancholie / Schwermut lugere/ lugubriousnessmorosus / morosenesswist / wistfulnessSaturn / saturninesombre deliquescence / suffering
        Tungsindighedschwermüt(h)iger / schwermüthiger KjedsommelighedFortvivl
        Misc.abulia / velleityadustion / aridity / drynessaegritudoAnfechtung anhedoniaapelpisia / απελπισία / hopelessnessastheniaatonia / ἀθυμίαdespairennui / noia insanitykufungisisa (Shona)lunacymal de vivremiswantingsaudade Sehnsuchtspleentaedium vitae Tardive dysphoriaWeltschmerz


      └ Despair, Ruth Freeman, 1981.


      └ Major Depressive Disorder, Shawn Coss, 2014. [link]


      Acedia, Bellini, 1480.


      └ St. Thomas Aquinas.


      Tristezza, Johann Christoph Storer, 1645.


      └ San Juan de la Cruz, Alexander Leal Cid, c.2008. [link]


      └ The Weary One (Der Müde), Ernst Barlach, 1916.


      Melencolia I, Albrecht Dürer, 1514.


      └ A man whose face exemplifies the melancholy temperament, Johann Caspar Lavater, c.1789.


      └ The Spleen (Melancholy), Ch. Boirau, c.1915.


      └ Kierkegaard caricature, Wilhelm Marstrand, 1870. [link]


      Pilgrim's Progress Giant Despair sitting in Doubting Castle, 1912.


      Melancholia, Sebald Beham, c.1539.


      └ Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy frontispiece, 1628.


      └ The Solitary Prisoner, Harry Furniss, 1910. [link]


      Malinconia, Cesare Ripa, c.1600.