(edited with Timothy McCranor) Science Fiction and Political Philosophy: From Bacon to Black Mirror (Politics, Literature, & Film Series from Lexington Books, 2020)
Sometimes called the “literature of ideas,” science fiction is a natural medium for normative political philosophy. Science fiction’s focus on technology, space and time travel, non-human lifeforms, and parallel universes cannot help but invoke the perennial questions of political life, including the nature of a just social order and who should rule; freedom, free will, and autonomy; and the advantages and disadvantages of progress. Rather than offering a reading of a work inspired by a particular thinker or tradition, each chapter presents a careful reading of a classic or contemporary work in the genre (a novel, short story, film, or television series) to illustrate and explore the themes and concepts of political philosophy.
Sinclair Lewis and American Democracy (Politics, Literature, & Film series from Lexington Books, 2017)
Sinclair Lewis was one of the most astute observers of American social and political life. Sinclair Lewis and American Democracy is a highly readable analysis of his novels. The book examines each of Lewis’s novels on key themes in the history of political thought and democracy including freedom and purpose, success and materialism, and nationalism and race. Lewis is revealed to be an unapologetic individualist and a fierce humanitarian. The “Introduction” is excerpted at VoegelinView.
The Case against Democracy (Praeger, 2014)
American democracy is not in a good place. But democracy has always been an imperfect form of government. The Case against Democracy surveys the arguments made against democracy by prominent theorists throughout history, as they relate to contemporary problems and issues. The book ends with a series of minor fixes.
(with Timothy McCranor) “All the World’s a Cage: Franz Kafka’s ‘The Hunger Artist,’” Short Stories and Political Philosophy: Power, Prose, and Persuasion, eds. Erin A. Dolgoy, Kimberly Hurd Hale, and Bruce Peabody (Politics, Literature, & Film series from Lexington Books, 2019)
“Hobbes and Frank on Why Democracy is Overrated,” House of Cards and Philosophy: Underwood’s Republic, ed. J. Edward Hackett (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, 2015)
(with Brian Stiltner) “Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office: Public Reason on the Campaign Trail,” Religious Voices in Public Places, eds. Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan (Oxford University Press, 2009)
“Who’s the Boss? Springsteen on the Alienation and Salvation of Work and Labor,” Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy: Darkness on the Edge of Truth, eds. Randall E. Auxier and Doug Anderson (Open Court Press, 2008)
(with Mike Ventimiglia) “Can The Daily Show Save Democracy?” The Daily Show and Philosophy: Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News, ed. Jason Holt (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Press, 2007)
“The Challenge of Higher Education,” Public Policy in Connecticut: Challenges and Perspectives, ed. Gary Rose (Sacred Heart University Press, 2005)