My general research agenda is dedicated to investigating the idea of tacit normativity. The current phase of my research is in the philosophy of law, and specifically on the informal promulgation of the law. I am also working on projects in meta-ethics, the ethics of autonomy, the pragmatics of speech acts, the epistemology of intuitions, and the philosophy of the social sciences.
My approach to doing philosophy can be appropriately described as introspective. I begin by investigating questions that matter to me, and trying to answer those questions on my own by developing provisional theories and subjecting them to critical doubt. I believe that critical inquiry “begins at home”, so to speak, with habits and modes of thought that govern our interior lives.
I believe that the health and well-being of the citizens of the future will require them to successfully learn philosophical theories and methods, and in particular to be able to be rational and considerate when faced with rational critique. To that end, I am both an independent course instructor in philosophy and an active blogger. Once upon a time I was a blogger at Talking Philosophy magazine, and at least on some occasions my blogging has received attention in the press (New York Times, Daily Beast, 3 Quarks Daily).
I hold an Honors Bachelor in philosophy (with sociology) from Western. I am currently pursuing a doctorate from Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Brian Orend, and have achieved ABD status. As part of my doctorate I have earned a diploma in cognitive science and a diploma in teaching university level courses, as well as a departmental teaching award.
I can be reached by email at bsnelson at uwaterloo.ca or by posting on this blog. CV is not online, but is available upon request. A handful of my research papers can be found at my Academia.edu profile (here).