I was born in 1957, at the peak of the baby boom, in St. Paul, Minnesota. My father was at that time completing his PhD in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. St. Paul was my mother's home town. My parents' home was an ideal one to grow up in, full of love and faith . I am the oldest of three sons.
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in suburban Houston, Texas. I was, other than growing rather long hair (in my case, it turned out rather more wide than long), a fairly conservative sort of teenager, active in church, Boy Scouts, and the debate squad. At this time my interest in philosophy began, stimulated in part by philosophical issues encountered in competitive debating and in part by reading philosophically literate defenders of Christianity, like C. S. Lewis and Francis A. Schaeffer.
I obtained an academic scholarship which took me to Michigan State University in East Lansing. At first, I majored in economics, and then in humanities, but eventually, as more and more philosophy courses accumulated on my transcript, I accepted the inevitable and concentrated on philosophy.
My interest in religion and theology continued, and in 1979 a Marshall Scholarship took me to Oxford, where I studied philosophy and theology for two years. While at Oxford, my philosophical interests moved more and more in the direction of logic and formal philosophy.
My combined interests in logic and in philosophical theology led me to do my graduate work in philosophy at UCLA. In 1987, I completed my dissertation on logical paradoxes of truth and rationality. That fall, I came to the University of Texas at Austin as an assistant professor.
Since that time I have taught logic (both pure and applied), philosophy of law, medieval philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, human nature, and contemporary Christian philosophy. My research has been in the areas of philosophical logic, metaphysics, and the theory of causation and proper function. I have published two books: Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality (Cambridge University Press, 1992), and Realism Regained: An Exact Theory of Causation, Teleology and the Mind (Oxford University Press, 2000). I am the co-editor (with George Bealer) of The Waning of Materialism (Oxford, 2010).
I have been happily married for 33 years (and so has my wife, I believe). I belong to a local Catholic parish, and I have worked with many campus groups, such as the Texas Graduate Christian Fellowship and the Hill House. St. Anselm described his life as one of 'faith in search of understanding'. I too am interested in deepening my philosophical understanding of the nature of God and our relationship to Him, and in exploring the correlations between philosophical insight and the One who is the Truth.
If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
Fantasy dinner guests
Soren Kierkegaard, J. S. Bach, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis
Best advice I ever received
Take a course in philosophy
The Metaphysics, The Brothers Karamazov, Philosophical Fragments, The Lord of the Rings
Godfather, Parts I and II, Casablanca, Some Like it Hot
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