The current phase of my research is in the philosophy of law, and specifically on the informal promulgation of the law, or unwritten law. I am also working on projects in the pragmatics of speech acts, the epistemology of intuitions, and organizational equity in the sociology of philosophy. A unifying theme of my research is an interest in the idea of tacit normativity.
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, set to defend in late 2016. 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.
In the first instance, 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 imagining possible approaches, developing provisional theories, and subjecting these theories to critical scrutiny. To be sure, once we are set on doing philosophy, we should demand the use of rigorous methodology: be it analytical, experimental, or scholarly. Even so, there is no getting around the fact that critical inquiry “begins at home”, so to speak, with habits and modes of thought that govern our interior lives.
I also believe that philosophy has a real cultural purpose. That is, 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 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 little more information can be found at my Academia.edu profile (here). Cheers!