Below is a thematic summary of my current research. Links to relevant publications are embedded in the text. Much of this work is currently ongoing, in preparation, or under peer review. If you're interested in seeing any of the unpublished material, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Integrating empirical and normative methods in the study of human flourishing
What makes life worth living? And how can people live better lives? My research is attempts to answer these questions. I'm interested in happiness and well-being, meaning in life, virtue, and the relationships between them. Of course, these are very big topics, and I think that no single discipline has all the tools needed answer them. One the one hand, understanding human flourishing involves, in part, understanding human functioning. Empirical research is therefore vital to theorizing about the good life. Yet, understanding human functioning involves, in part, understanding what counts as flourishing for such beings. Hence, empirical research on human flourishing cannot be value-free. In short, neither the normative nor the empirical takes precedence. For this reason, my research crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, integrating normative and empirical methods.
Meaning in life
The role of positive social connection in individual and societal flourishing
Doing good for others, oneself, and the planet
Because humans are inherently social, pursuing one’s own good often involves or requires pursuing the good of others. This idea seems to be built into ordinary thinking about happiness. Other researchers have found that people believe morally good people to be happier than morally bad people. In my own research, I have found that this is because people believe that humans are fundamentally good (even if they behave badly, deep down, there is good within them). This implicit assumption explains why people attribute more positive mental states to those who behave more virtuously.