I am interested in pretty much everything, but my current teaching and research focuses on ethical theory and its application in the domains of health care and business. My graduate work in Philosophy (MA, PhD) gravitated toward the metaphysical underpinnings of ethics, in the sense that I was trying to understand what it means to be a human person, since knowing what is good for human persons surely depends on knowing what human persons are. I am interested in such questions (among others) not only as they are considered by contemporary scholars, but also as they have been treated by the great thinkers of the past. For this reason my attention has also consistently been drawn to the study of the history of Philosophy.
Toward the end of my PhD program in Philosophy I started a ten year period (2008-2018) teaching close to a full-time load of undergraduate Philosophy courses on a contractual basis at the University of Waterloo and St. Jerome’s University. I taught a very broad range of subjects in History of Philosophy, Ethics, Critical Thinking, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy and Culture. During that decade I also continued to study the foundations of ethics from a theological perspective in the MTS program at Conrad Grebel College and then in the ThD program at St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Teaching and studying, combined with a lot of volunteer work on campus and in my church community, and raising four children together with my wife Jennifer, made this an exceedingly busy time!
Still, in those years I managed to publish an article on Leibniz’s metaphysics, to author a first book on Ancient Philosophy and to co-author a second book on Business Ethics. I also developed three new courses related to end-of-life care, a topic I have become increasingly passionate about: PHIL 319J Ethics of End-of-Life Care, PHIL 321J Philosophy of Palliative Care, and MEDVL 3xx Ars Moriendi: Death and Dying in the Middle Ages. In Summer 2020, as part of my SSHRC Insight Development Grant project, “Physicians’ Moral Experience and Moral Distinctions in Philosophical Bioethics,” I published an article on the moral distinction between killing and allowing to die and created a web portal (thekernelnetwork.com) to help mobilize knowledge and build connections in end-of-life care. I look forward to working with other scholars in the coming decades to find innovative ethical solutions to the social crisis of an aging population.
I am currently on my third definite term appointment as Assistant Professor at St. Jerome’s University and I was appointed acting director of the Master of Catholic Thought program (Sept 2019-present) and acting director of the Human Sciences program (Sept 2020-present). So part of my job at present is to help guide both programs through the creation and implementation of responses to recent program reviews. Things continue to be busy as I serve in these roles while teaching, carrying out end-of-life related research projects and giving public talks in addition to wrapping up my ThD thesis (on the role of the Holy Spirit in ethics).