My name is Joseph Trullinger. Since the fall of 2014, I’ve been an Assistant Professor of Honors and Philosophy at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I have the amazing luck to work with fantastic colleagues and teach incredibly bright students who are passionately devoted to making the world a better place. Sometimes they have markedly different views on things than I do and that’s a continual resource for me to learn. (It follows that the posts on this blog are entirely my own speculations and don’t represent their views.) To continue conversations with students after class about things like Levinas’ theory of evil, while walking a few blocks away from the White House, is an incredible privilege.
The idea guiding my various research interests is an exploration of religion as a resource for moral imagination. Grounded within my long-standing interest in the historical context and inner consistency of Kant’s psychology of “moral religion” or “ethicotheology,” my research aims to clarify the positive potential of religion as a force for social progress and liberation. Acknowledging that there are many resources for this way of thinking, I look at this potential in heterodox Christian traditions ranging from the Pietism that shaped Kant to liberation theology in the current day. Since coming to GW, I have come into conversation with colleagues whose knowledge base and acumen have challenged me to further develop my thoughts on the contemporary relevance of Kant’s ethicotheology for our current political situation. While continuing to work out the details of Kant’s ethicotheology, I have also begun to extend the implications of ethicotheology for Friedrich Schiller and the early German Romantics who philosophized in Kant’s wake, as well as for the critical social thought of Herbert Marcuse in the 20th century, who uses Schiller’s framework to articulate a radically utopian vision. In this way, my research forms a historical arc, stretching from Kant and his predecessors and bending toward twentieth century thinkers who notice a similar potential for traditional ideas to be rearticulated in a way that clarifies the conditions for (and desirability of) a society defined by inclusivity, fairness, and self-determination.
All in good time, I will say more about myself.