Michael Norton, Assistant Professor
Office: Stabler Hall, Room 307
My route to the study of philosophy was somewhat indirect. I began college intending to major in radio and television, before a short period of academic wandering ended with my choice to pursue a degree in the study of religion. I went on to obtain a Master’s degree in theological studies, focusing on philosophical theology. By the time I began my doctoral program, the terms of my interests had switched to theological philosophy.
Though my philosophical study has led me in many directions – some of them far away from my initial interests – much of my work remains concerned with understanding religious practices and beliefs, as well as with intersections between philosophy and theology.
Aside from teaching and research, my biggest passion is music. I listen to it voraciously, I love to talk about it, and occasionally I make it.
I’ve taught several different courses since I began teaching, and I’ve enjoyed each of these opportunities. I particularly look forward to teaching Ethics and (of course) Philosophy of Religion, though my interests also lean toward Modern Philosophy, 19th/20th (and 21st) Century Continental Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science.
My interest in the study of philosophy began in earnest when I was exposed to phenomenology and deconstruction, and they remain the primary positions from which I approach the philosophical study of religion. My doctoral dissertation was a philosophical inquiry into the irreducibly plural nature of religious traditions, an inquiry that drew heavily on the work of Jacques Derrida. In my current research, I am building on this foundation in order to propose a pluralistic philosophy of religions that mines not only Derridean resources but also those of contemporary philosophy and sociologist Bruno Latour.
Selected Professional Activities
- “Divine Inexistence or Divine Instauration? A Latourian Answer to Meillassoux’s ‘Spectral Dilemma,’” Varieties of Continental Thought and Religion Conference, Ryerson University, 2012.
- “The Aporias of Justice and the Virtue of Un-Inheritance,” Society of Christian Philosophers Conference, Hendrix College, 2012.
- “Reassembling the Sacred: Bruno Latour’s Philosophy of Religion,” Postmodernism, Culture and Religion Conference, Syracuse University, 2011.
- “Negotiating Modernity, Identity, and Pluralism in South Asia,” Southwest Commission on Religious Studies Annual Meeting, 2011.
- “Kantian Cosmopolitanism, Contemporary Secularism, and the Place of Religion,” Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy Annual Meeting, 2009.
Harvard Divinity School
George Washington University