I have written in a range of formats and on a range of topics beyond academic philosophy. Here’s a brief sampling of some of this work.
Philosophical Writing for a Non-Specialist Audience
Philosophy is important to everyone. I’ve written a number of articles that communicate philosophical ideas to a non-specialist audience.
Calling Bullshit. The Point (2018)
Speaking Nonsense. The Point (2017)
Donald Trump’s Victory Shows Why We Need Philosophy Students More Than Ever (with Simona Aimar). Times Higher Education (2017)
Children and Animals. The Point (2012)
I’ve written a number of pieces on odd topics in a variety of places. Most recently, an appreciation of our odd connection to starfish was published in The Hedgehog Review. In additional to my writing on philosophy for The Point (see above), I’ve written about hugging a tree during the coronavirus pandemic, a profile of TJ & Dave, a long-form improv show based in Chicago, and a punchy defense of the mullet.
A few years ago, I contributed regularly to the History Page for the now-defunct iPad news app, The Daily. The published articles have now disappeared into the mists of cyberspace, but I’ve preserved penultimate drafts of the following pieces:
“Nothing Secedes Like Excess”: a brief history of Talossa, an independent state founded in a Milwaukee teenager’s bedroom.
“Before Pong Came Along”: on the world’s first video game.
“Gael Storm”: on the abortive Fenian raid that was meant to capture Canada and ransom it back to the British in exchange for Irish independence.
“Chop Shop”: on the “disassembly line” that streamlined pig processing in the nineteenth-century and how it revolutionized the automobile industry.
“When Irish Guns Are Firin'”: The story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a group of disaffected Irish-American soldiers who defected to the Mexican side of the Mexican-American War.
“Behind the Mask”: How Marvel Comics gave birth to the Silver Age of superheroes.
“Licensing Pooh”: How Winnie-the-Pooh gave birth to the modern licensing industry.
I’ve also written a couple of pieces for university publications. I wrote about our use of animal metaphors for McMaster University’s Incite Magazine, and I wrote about the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver for Oxford University’s The Cherwell.
I have a lifelong love of the theatre, and have been writing seriously for the stage for a decade and a half. Two of my plays have been produced professionally. The first, The Fly-Bottle, deals with Wittgenstein’s notorious encounter with Karl Popper, and was nominated for the American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2003. The second, Tom’s a-cold, deals with Sir John Franklin’s disastrous expedition to the Arctic in the mid-nineteenth century. It won Canada’s Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2009.
In addition, I’ve written a number of other short and full-length plays, adaptations, and translations. I have won a number of other awards for this work, including the New Play Award from the Toronto Fringe Festival for a play called Love Songs From Unlikely Places, and the New Play Award from the Oxford Playhouse for a short play called Pork, which I am expanding into a trilogy of shorts, entitled Three Little Pigs. My translation of Chekhov’s The Seagull has been produced professionally in Toronto.
This hands-on experience in creative work obviously influences my thinking about philosophical aesthetics.