Graceland University Food Symposium

On March 23, 2018, I gave a presentation at Graceland University's annual Food Symposium, which "brings together a diversity of voices that speak on economic, social, or environmental issues as they relate to our food systems." My session involved a discussion of how the decisions about what we eat have ethical implications. 

Mealtime Morality: Why What We Eat Matters

Some things are clearly morally acceptable, like giving someone a gift on their birthday. Some things are clearly not morally acceptable, like killing innocent people. Some things clearly aren't morally relevant at all, like whether you put on your right shoe or your left shoe first.

But the moral status of other things, like what we choose to eat, isn't so clear. We have to eat to survive, but are there limits on what we should eat? In this session, we will discuss how the decisions we make at mealtimes are moral decisions, not just practical or preferential decisions. We will appeal to a variety of philosophical approaches to assess why what we put on our plates has moral weight. By the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of how food is an ethical issue and gain the resources to start determining what belongs on our dinner tables.

Reformation 500 presenters converse after the panel discussion.

Reformation 500 presenters converse after the panel discussion.

Reformation 500 - Interdisciplinary Roundtable

A group of faculty and students at Graceland University held an interdisciplinary roundtable in Fall 2017 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Panelists shared reflections on how the Reformation influenced their respective disciplines. I presented points addressing the relationship between faith and reason and connected the Reformation phenomenon to the epistemology of religious disagreement. 

What is Spirituality?

Matt Frizzell (former Dean of the Seminary) and I held an interfaith event on November 8, 2017, to discuss the question, "What is Spirituality?" The event prompted campus and community members to reflect on the nature of spirituality, the variety of ways that people approach spirituality, and the role it plays in everyday life.  


While my research focuses largely on personal ontology, I have a sustained interest in areas the relate to other disciplines in addition to Philosophy. In addition to my work in metaphysics, I am also interested in issues in applied ethics, especially environmental ethics. I am particularly interested in evaluating how religious communities should respond to the environmental problems that we currently face. I consider how Christians could, and should, use their theological and doctrinal resources to motivate environmental concern and environmental action. I worked for several years as a research assistant for Robert McKim in the Department of Religion to assist with his recent projects on the relationship between religious traditions and environmental concern as well as religious diversity and the attitudes of religious practitioners toward outsiders. I had the privilege of working with Prof. McKim about several of his projects, including 'On Comparing Religions in the Anthropocene' and an edited volume, Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity