Doctoral students talking in a small group in the spring

Villanova Philosophy graduate students' interests are wide-ranging. They work on everything from the history of philosophy to contemporary politics, philosophy and film to philosophy and religion, the most traditional kinds of projects to cutting-edge intersections with neuroscience, bioethics, law and the arts. Our recent dissertations and placement record reflect this diversity.

Erika Brown

Areas of interest include:  Women of Color Feminist Philosophy, Critical Genealogy, Lordean Eros, Feminist Theories
Dissertation title: 
"Erotic Feminist Coalitions: A Genealogy of Mythologized Identities and Power"

Kevin Lower

Areas of interest include: History of Early Modern Philosophy, Margaret Cavendish, Metaphysics of Action and Passion

Dissertation title: "Action and Passion in Margaret Cavendish’s Metaphysics of Mind"

Daniel Shussett


Areas of interest include:  Social Ontology, Social Epistemology, Science, Technology, and Society (STS); Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, Environmental Philosophy 

Dissertation title: "The Social Ontology of Smart Cities: Implications and Applications"

Eneida Jacobsen


Areas of interest include: Social and Political Philosophy, Indigenous
Philosophy, Critical Gender Theory, Marxism
Dissertation title: "Irrational Animal: Capitalism’s Culture vs. Nature. Philosophy as Ideology"

Claryn Spies


Areas of interest include: Foucault, phenomenology, queer theory

Dissertation title: “On ne naît pas délinquant”1: On the Uses of Criminality"

Brendan Rome


Areas of interest include: 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Social & Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

Dissertation title: "Politics on the Couch: Normativity & Ideology in Freud's Case Studies" 

Daniel Allen


Areas of interest include: Modern and Contemporary Socio-Political Philosophy, Marxist Social Epistemology & Ontology

Dissertation title: "Too Little that Could be Loved: Fascism, Intelectual Labor, and the Reproduction of Capital"

Kelsey Borrowman


Areas of interest include: Social and Political Philosophy, Phenomenology, Philosophy of Disability and 19th and 20th c. Continental Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Epistemology, Feminist Philosophy, Public Philosophy

Dissertation title: "On Health: Insights from Nietzsche and Rousseau on the Value of Sickness"

Timour Kamran


Areas of interest include: Social and Political Philosophy, Critical Theory, Philosophy and Social Movements

Dissertation title: "Revolutionary Subjectivity in the age of Computerized Production"

Jordan Whelchel


Areas of interest include: 19th century philosophy (especially German Idealism and Marxism), philosophy of science, and political philosophy

Dissertation title: "The Dialectical Materialism of Friedrich Engels"

Yue Jennifer Wang


Areas of interest include: Phenomenology, Medieval Mysticism 
Dissertation title: "A Phenomenology of Mystical Embodiment: Merleau-Ponty and Hildegard on the Transformation of Sense Perception"


Students who have completed the PhD in our program are listed below, with their current positions and dissertation titles.

Christopher D. Quintana, PhD, 2024
"Characterizing Digital Design: A Philosophical Approach"


Zachary Sievers, PhD, 2024
"Haptics, Attention, and Time: A Study of Aesthetics in the Instant"


Jared Bly, PhD, 2023
"Toward a Historical Materialism of the Photographic Image: Marx, Benjamin, Althusser and Beyond"

Katherine Sepulveda, PhD, 2023 
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Executive Assistant for Academic Affairs
"The Ethical Work of the Imagination: Chronic Pain, Poetic Labor, and Societal Restoration" 

Sean Bray, PhD, 2022
"Terror and Time: Hegel’s Temporal Concept of Violence"

Humberto González Núñez, PhD, 2022, University of Texas, Dallas (tenure-track)
"Aristotle’s Proto-Phenomenology of Being: The Reciprocity of Dunamis and Energeia in Nature, Movement, and the Soul" 

Theodra Bane, PhD, 2022
"A Question of Rights: Settler Colonialism, Racialization, and the Political Economy of Liberalism" 

Jingchao Ma, PhD, 2022, Villanova University, Arthur J. Ennis Post-Doctoral Teaching Scholar at Augustine Culture Seminar Program
"Narcissistic Gender: Psychoanalysis and the Social Formation of the Gendered Body" 

Hande Kesgin Esen, PhD, 2022, Villanova University, Adjunct
"The Ethics and Politics of Birth:
A Contemporary Genealogy of Motherization"

Daniel Cunningham, PhD, 2022, Old Dominion, Visiting Lecturer
“The Modern Revolution in Political Affect”

Katherine Kurtz, PhD, 2021, Editor for MoneyGeek.com for web content
"Deviant Bodies: Toward a Feminist Aesthetics of Monstrosity"  
Miranda Pilipchuk, PhD, 2021, Research Director of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
"Specters of Rape, Illusions of Justice: Sexual Violence Tropes and the Carceral System"
Terence Sweeney, PhD, 2021, Assistant Teaching Professor, Villanova University, Honors Program.
"Sharing God in Common: An Augustinian Metaphysics and Ethics of Participative Community"  
David Mesing, PhD, 2020,  Villanova University, VAP Ethics Program
"Elements for a Theory of Strategy: History, Politics, and the Black Panther Party"

Christiaan Reynolds, PhD, 2020, Department of Philosophy Utah Valley University (tenure-track)
"Ideology, Critique, and Political Education"
Mark Westmoreland, PhD, 2020, Ocean County College, Lecturer II
"On the Beat: Profiling in The Racial Polity"

Amanda Holmes, PhD, 2020, University of Applied Arts, Assistant Professor, Vienna, Austria
"The Logos of Eros: Logics of Desire in Lacan's Return to Freud"

Chris Drain, PhD, 2020, Dartmouth College, Lecturer 
"Activity, Mediation, Signification: Toward a Neo-Vygotskian Anthropogeny"

Katherine Filbert, PhD, 2019, California State University, Stanislaus, (tenure-track)
“Harming Stupidity: Deleuze and Zhuangzi’s Ethics of Thought”

Amrit Mandzak-Heer, PhD, 2019, Jefferson University, Visiting Assistant Professor
“Hegel’s Metaphysical Logic of Conceptual Determination”

Emre Cetin Gurer, PhD, 2019, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul; Adjunct
"Prefigurative Realism: The Politics of Space-Time in the Square Movements”

Richard Strong, PhD, 2018, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Visiting Assistant Professor
“Habitus Beyond Bourdieu: Incorporating Technological, Interhuman, & Ecological Entanglements into the Foundations of Social Ontology"

John Brien Karas, PhD, 2018, Villanova University, Adjunct
"Postliminium: On Hegel’s Logic of Objectivity”

Daniel Wood, PhD, 2018, Dillard University, Adjunct
"Epistemic Decolonization: A Critical Epistemography of the Anitcolonial Politics of Knowledge"

Michelle Falcetano, PhD, 2018, Villanova University, Adjunct
"Confession as Narrative Contemplation: The Role of the Imagination in Saint Augustine's Religious Epistemology"

Ryan Feigenbaum, PhD, 2017, Executive Director for the Philosophy of Science Association and Program Director for the University of Cincinnati's Center for Public Engagement with Science
"The Epistemic Foundations of German Biology, 1790–1802"

Ian Maley, PhD, 2017, Villanova University, Adjunct
"The Thought of Being in Aristotle's Poetics"

Charles Prusik, PhD, 2017, VAP Birmingham Southern College, Alabama 
"Negative Reason: Adorno and the Critique of Neoliberal Society"

Patricia L. Grosse, PhD, 2017, Finlandia University, (tenure-track)
"Embodied Love and Extended Desire"

Rachel Aumiller, PhD, 2016, Columbia University, Lecturer
Discipline of English and Comparative Literature
"The Laughing Matter of Spirit: A Young Hegelian Comedy"

Morey Williams, PhD, 2016, Sacred Heart Academy in Bryn Mawr, Full-time Theology Teaching position
"Zones of the Flesh and the Confined Bodies of Women"

Katherine Eltringham, PhD, 2016
"The Ritual Dialogue of Philosophy: How Homer's Tragic Tales Influenced Socratic Education"

Summer Renault-Steele, PhD, 2016, The George Washington University, Professorial Lecturer, (renewable)
"Unravel the Girl, Unravel the World: Critical Theory, Gender, and the Crisis of Modernity"

Robert Leib, PhD, 2016, Elon University, Visiting Assistant Professor
"Political Myth: An Archaeology of Magical Language"

Elie Saade, PhD, 2016, Saint John Vianney College Seminary, Lecturer
"The Call to Believe and the Weak God in William James’s Philosophy of Religion"

Joshua Nunziato, PhD, 2016, University of Colorado, Full-time Instructor-Renewable, UC Boulder, Business Ethics & Impact Division
"Augustine's Sacrificial Economy"

Jessica Elkayam, PhD 2016, Sam Houston University, Assistant Professor (tenure-track)
"Thinking the Limit of the Human: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics"

Elizabeth A. Irvine, PhD, 2016
"The Place of Politics: Heidegger On Aristotle's Topos and the Polis"

Jessie Dern-Sisco, PhD, 2016, Facilitator at Philly Agile Learning Community; phillyalc.org
"Deleuze's Philosophy of Learning"

Paul Camacho, PhD, 2016, Villanova University, Ennis Post Doctoral position, Augustine and Culture Seminar Program, and Associate Director of the Augustinian Institute
"The Weight of Love: Augustine on Desire and the Limits of Autonomy"

Derek Aggleton, PhD, 2016, Pennsylvania State University, multi-year-long fixed term lectureship
"Ontological Movement and the Ethics of Tyranny: Heidegger, Nancy, and Plato"

Peter DeAngelis, PhD, 2016, Software Engineer at FIS in Naperville, Ill.
"Punishment, Social Disadvantage, and Respect"

Christopher Noble, PhD, 2016, New College of Florida, (tenure-track)
"The Soul as Spiritual Automaton in Leibniz's Synthetic Natural Philosophy"

Terry Maksymowych, PhD, 2016, Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, Science Faculty; Villanova University, Adjunct
"Applying Richard Zaner's Phenomenology of the Clinical Encounter to the treatment of Disorders of Sex development (Intersex) Conditions"

Laura McMahon, PhD, 2015, Eastern Michigan University, Assistant Professor (tenure-track) "Vulnerability and Security: Perception and Politics in Merleau-Ponty"

Christopher Davidson, PhD 2014, Mount St. Joseph University Professor (tenure-track) & co-editor of the Radical Philosophy Review "Ethics After the Genealogy of the Subject"

John-Patrick Schultz, PhD 2014, Peirce College, Associate Professor of General Studies full-time, (non-tenure), “Revolutionary Temporality: Marx, Bloch, Benjamin"

Michael Vendsel, PhD 2014, Tarrant County College, Associate Professor  "Beyond Immanence and Critique: A Renewed Reading of the Ontological Argument"

Liam Kavanagh, PhD 2014, Villanova University, Augustine & Culture Seminar Program, Assistant Professor "Principles of Reason: Alasdair MacIntyre and Jacques Derrida"

Lee Cole, PhD, 2014, Hillsdale College, Associate Professor, (tenured) "At the Limits of Realism: St. Thomas Aquinas and the Intellectual Knowledge of Singulars"

Sarah Vitale, PhD, 2014, Ball State University, Assistant Professor (tenure-track) "Marx and the Metaphysics of Production"

Neil Brophy, PhD, 2014, Towson University, (lecturer, one year renewable)
"Power, Life and the Art of Government:  Foucault's Genealogy of Modern Politics"

Erika Kidd, PhD, 2014, Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Program of Catholic Studies at University of St. Thomas, Minn. (tenure-track) "Verbum et Vita: A Reading of Augustine's De magistro"

Timothy Jussaume, PhD, 2014, Saint Leo University, Assistant Professor (tenure track) "Heidegger and the Nothing:  Transcendence After Metaphysics"

Jeffrey Gower, PhD, 2014, Wabash College, Assistant Professor, (tenured) "The Sovereign Living Law:  Onto-theology and Normativity in Aristotle's Metaphysics"

John Garner, PhD, 2014, University of West Georgia, Assistant Professor (tenured) "The Good that Comes to Be:  The Truth of Pleasure and the Experience of Learning in Plato's Philebus"

James Butler, PhD, 2013 "Aristotle and the Science of Perception"

Michael Olson, PhD, 2013, Marquette University, (tenured) Teaching Associate Professor and Director of the Marquette Core Curriculum.
"Kant's Transcendental and Metaphysical Idealism"

Rebecca Steiner Goldner, PhD, 2013, St. John's College, Annapolis, MD. (tenure-track) "Lived Flesh: Touch and Embodiment in Aristotle's de Anima"

Jacob Wortman, PhD, 2013 "The Ecstatic Character of Being: The Intricate Interrelationship Between the Later Heidegger and the Later Merleau-Ponty"

Christopher Ruth, PhD, 2012, Ocean County College, NJ (full-time, fixed term renewable) "Sheltering Singularity: Marx, Heidegger and the Question of Alienation"

Raoni Padui, PhD, 2012, St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, (tenure-track) "From the Transcendental to the Ontological: Hegel, Heidegger and the Legacy of Transcendental Idealism"

Geoffrey Karabin, PhD, 2012, Neumann University, Assistant Professor, (full-time) “The Afterlife and Aggression: Creating Hell to Attain Heaven?”

Snezhina Gabova, PhD, 2011, Risk Monitor: Public Policy Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria "Hegel and Heidegger and the question of the work of art (focusing on Hegel's Aesthetics and Phenomenology and Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art)"

Michael Norton, PhD, 2011, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Assistant Professor and Chair (tenured) “Thinking Religion as More than One:  A Deconstructive Appeal for Pluralism”

Alexi Kukuljevic, PhD, 2009, Artist & Lecturer, at the Kunsttheorie at Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Berlin (University of Applied Arts Vienna) "The Renaissance of Ontology: Kant, Heidegger, Deleuze"

Nazareth Pantaloni, PhD, 2010, Indiana University, Assistant Director for Copyright and Administration at the Cook Music Library "The Im/Possibility of Democracy: Derrida and Habermas"

P. Taylor Trussell, PhD, 2009 "The Gift of Power: Foucault, Derrida, and Normalization"

Edward Kazarian, PhD, 2009, Rowan University (adjunct) "The Science of Events: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis"

Andrew Davis, PhD, 2009, Belmont University, Associate Professor (tenured) "Living Method: From the Regulative to the Constitutive Idea in Hegel's Logic"

Ashley Vaught, PhD, 2008, Villanova University, (adjunct) Augustine and Culture Seminar Department “The Specter of Spinoza in Schelling's Freiheitsschrift”

Adriel M. Trott, PhD, 2008, Wabash College, Professor,  Department Chair and the Andrew T. and Anne Ford Chair (tenured)
"The Challenge of Physis: Reconcilling Nature and Reason in Aristotle's Politics"

Michael Brogan (†), PhD, 2007, St. John's College - Annapolis, tutor (tenured) "The Good Against Being: Ethics and Ontology in Emmanuel Levinas"

Daniel Greenspan, PhD, 2006, Adjunct Professor, California State University, Dominguez Hills "Kierkegaard and the Rebirth of Tragedy: Philosophy, Poetry and the Problem of the Irrational (with constant reference to Aristotle and Sophocles)"

Joshua Alan Ramey, PhD, 2006, Grinnell College, Assistant Professor (tenure track) "Gilles Deleuze and the Powers of Art"

Matthew Groe, PhD, 2006, Jacksonville University, Associate Professor, (tenured) "Ethical Coexistence Beyond Dualism: The Converging Visions of Dewey and Merleau-Ponty"

Judd Seth Wright, PhD, 2006, St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church, Director of Adult Faith Formation "The Foundations of Productive History in Mimesis and Narrative Identity"

Michael Marx Shaw, PhD, 2006, Utah Valley University, Professor, (tenured) "The Role of Desire in Aristotle's Ontology"

Andrea Margaret Hurst, PhD, 2006, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa, (tenured) "Derrida or Lacan: The Revolutionary's Choice On the 'Plural Logic Of the Aporia' in Deconstruction and Lacanian Psychoanalysis"

Gregory Hoskins, PhD, 2005, Villanova University, Teaching Professor, Assistant Director of the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program (ACSP) "The Politics of Memory: A Philosophical Investigation"

Adam Miller, PhD, 2005, Collin College (tenure track) "Immanent Grace: Badiou, Marion, & Saint Paul"

John Whitmire, PhD, 2005, Western Carolina University - Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair (tenured) "On the Subject of Autobiography: Finding a Self in the Works of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Derrida"

Timothy Kirk, PhD, 2004, City University of New York-York College, Professor & Department Chair (tenured) "The Moral Significance of Intimacy in Nurse-Patient Relationships"

Ammon Allred, PhD, 2004, University of Toledo, Associate Professor (tenured) "The Lyrical Age: Reconfiguring Metaphysics, Modernity, and Poetry in the Thought of Martin Heidegger"

Lucio Privitello, PhD, 2003, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department (tenured) "Animality and Laughter: Contributions to a Theory at the Borders of Philosophical Discourse (Plato, Nietzsche, Bataille)"

Farhang Erfani, PhD, 2003, American University, Associate Professor  (tenured), Research Associate, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University South Africa "Left on the Road to Utopia: Social Imaginary in the Age of Democracy"

Dana S. Belu, PhD, 2003, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Associate Professor and Chair, (tenured)  "Thinking Again: Heidegger on Technology and the Place of Freedom"

Michael Andrews, PhD, 2002, Director of the John Felice Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago, located in Rome, Italy "Contributions to the Phenomenology of Empathy: Edmund Husserl, Edith Stein, and Emmanuel Levinas"

Jamey Findling, PhD, 2002, Newman University, Associate Professor (tenured) "The Dialectic of Being: Gadamer's Reading of Plato"

Shannon Mussett, PhD, 2002, Utah Valley University, Professor (tenured)  "Binding Nature and Freedom: Hegelian Themes of Liberation and Oppression in Simone de Beauvoir"

Sarah Donovan, PhD, 2002, Wagner College, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interim Dean of Integrated Learning (tenured) "Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray: Feminist Resources for Overcoming Oppressive Exclusions"

Joseph Berendzen, PhD, 2002, Loyola, New Orleans, Associate Professor (tenured) "Toward an Existential Critical Theory of Deliberative Democracy"

Stephen Finn, PhD, 2002, United States Military Academy, Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence "The Political Influence: Hobbes's Politics and Natural Philosophy"

Christian Diehm, PhD, 2001, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Associate Professor (tenured) "The Gravity of Nature: Other-than-human Others in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas"

Darin Crawford Gates, PhD, 2001, Brigham Young University (one-year renewable) "The Ontological Disclosure and Ethical Exposure of Meaning in Heidegger and Levinas"

Theodore D. George, PhD, 2000, Texas A&M University, Professor, (tenured) "Hegel's Speculative Theory of Political Life: Community and Tragedy in the Phenomenology of Spirit"

Matthias Fritsch, PhD, 1999, Concordia University, Professor, (tenured)  "Benjamin, Derrida, and the Politics of Memory: The Promise of History Reconsidered"

James K.A. Smith, PhD, 1999, Calvin College, Professor, (tenured) and the Endowed Chair of The Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview "How to Avoid Not Speaking: On the Phenomenological Possibility of Theology"

Jennifer Anna Gosetti, PhD, 1999, Fordham University, Professor, (tenured) "Heidegger, Hölderlin, and the Subject of Poetic Languages



Katherine Filbert smiling at camera

Katherine Filbert '19 PhD has currently accepted a tenure-track position at California State University, Stanislaus.  Dr. Filbert was most recently Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where she regularly taught courses in East and Southeast Asian Philosophy, theories of knowledge, feminist philosophy and liberal arts seminars on the nature of self and community. Her specializations are in Classical Chinese Philosophy and 19th-20th century Continental Philosophy, and her current research lies in developing a comparative ethics of thinking that examines the relationship between thinking and life in the works of Gilles Deleuze and pre-Qin Chinese philosophy.  Her dissertation is “Harming Stupidity: Deleuze and Zhuangzi’s Ethics of Thought.” 


Ready for the Next Step?

Department of Philosophy
Villanova University, SAC 108
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Surti Singh, Phd,  Graduate Program Director
Terry DiMartino, Graduate Program Coordinator



January 8, 2024: For admission to the PhD program with or without assistantship

Students are admitted for the fall term, only.

Please contact the program director, Dr. Surti Singh, with questions about your application.

Begin your application.




Philosophy doctoral student presents her research at a symposium at Villanova

Opportunities Abound to Present Scholarly Work

From the annual Graduate Student Research Symposium to the international Three-minute Thesis (3MT) competition, Villanova University offers many opportunities for graduate students to develop and showcase their research communication skills. This year, Philosophy doctoral student Katherine Kurtz advanced to the national round of the 3MT competition, after winning the University event and placing second at regionals. Her presentation, "Deviant Bodies: Toward an Aesthetics of Feminine Monstrosity," is based on her dissertation work.