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How does imagination Affect health behaviors?

And why should we care?

My philosophical research is located at the intersections of philosophy of medicine, theories of representation, and social values in scientific practice.

I am particularly concerned with the ways in which experiences and explanations of medical phenomena are understood by individuals with different backgrounds and the degree to which medical nonadherence is grounded in competing understandings of the relevant phenomena in question.

The central focus of my work is how health behaviors are promoted and/or constrained by one's imaginative capacities. If imagination plays a significant role, how can these imaginative capacities be strengthened for improved health outcomes?

Selected Papers

The Role of Imagination in Ernst Mach's Philosophy of Science

(Forthcoming in HOPOS)


Some popular views of Ernst Mach cast him as a philosopher-scientist averse to imaginative practices in science. The aim of this analysis is to address the question of whether or not imagination is compatible with Machian philosophy of science. I conclude that imagination is not only compatible, but essential to realizing the aim of science in Mach’s biologico-economical view. I raise the possible objection that my conclusion is undermined by Mach’s criticism of Isaac Newton’s famous “bucket experiment.” I conclude that Mach’s issue lies not with thought experimentation, tout court, but with the improper use of thought experimentation as it relates to the aim of the biologico-economical development of science.

The Sex/Gender Distinction in biomedical research

(In Progress)

Philosophers Alex Byrne and Tomás Bogardus have recently presented strong critiques of the sex/gender distinction, arguing that gender is a biological concept that is identical with sex. The questions to be asked, then, are whether or not a viable argument in favor of the sex/gender distinction can be put forth and, subsequently, whether medical researchers ought to maintain this commonly used distinction in practice. In this paper, I defend a positive answer to both questions.

Imagine All The People: Enhancing Imaginative Capacities for Greater Democratic Engagement

(In Progress)

Working within a framework informed by John Dewey’s philosophy, I argue that the development of imaginative capacities is necessary for effective democratic participation of publics with respect to scientific and technological matters. I propose one valuable strategy for enhancing these imaginative capacities involves engagement with conceptual artworks. I hypothesize that such engagement may lead to an improved ability to discern representational force, a strengthened ability to entertain richer sets of possible interpretations, and a greater appreciation of the ways one’s interpretations are shaped by selective attention—all of which are required in a well-functioning democracy as understood in Deweyan terms.

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