Welcome to Philosophy & Theology:

I am a graduate student at Duquesne University’s theology department (PhD, Systematic Theology), studying the relationship between Continental Philosophy and Medieval Mystical Theology. I recently finished up a BA at Easter Nazarene College (no, I don’t expect you to have heard of it) and a couple Masters at Boston University (MTS and STM).

My primary interest is the development of phenomenology.  Beginning in Germany with Husserl and Heidegger, working through the “existentialists” (Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, et al) and continuing into the “theological turn” (Henry, Marion, Levinas, Chretien, Lacoste, etc).

I have also, more recently, become interested in Gender/Queer Theory,CriticalTheory/Marxism, and Psychoanalysis, three fields which I’m sure will make some appearances here.

Overall, this blog is an outlet by which I broadly examine the complex dialectics of philosophical and religious thought, both inside and outside of academia.

J. Leavitt Pearl


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  1. Hi J!

    Given your interest in Marx and Psychology have you come across. Man in Marxist Theory by Lucien Seve? Its not my focus but I did find the book useful. My focus at the moment is trying to shake the ‘marxist/leninists/trotskyists’ up as they dust themselves down in preparation for the coming crisis.

    I am also working on a book on the rise of religious fundamentalism and the connective tissue between modern examples and the more ancient. Given the current downward spiral of ecoomic and fiscal crisis that project is on the back burner.

    Best regards,
    Roy (at http://www.critical-mass.net.)

  2. hey, thanks for following my blog. All the best as you pursue these fascinating topics… don’t mind if i poke around every now and again do you?…

  3. Looking forward for yoru posts

  4. Pleasure to read a bit about yourself and your work.

    Do you like the works of Levinas and his ethics of the other – Being situated in the relationship – etc? I am currently devouring them and find his work fascinating!

    Also, have you read “Race and Racism in Modern Philosophy” edited by Andrew Valls? It is amazingly challenging.



    • I find Levinas very helpful, and of course as someone interested in French phenomenology, he is always a presupposition. That being said, I have certain issues with his thought. I very much like the way by which he approaches the Other, and his attempt to move beyond ontology. Nonetheless, I think he has a tendency (a common one among the French Phenomenologists) to resort to an overly dualistic view of reality, a sort of gnosticism. Secondly, although I appreciate his attempt to destabilize the self, and to render the Other more primordial than the self, I think that his radical rejection of subjectivity is somewhat problematic, at least phenomenologically speaking, perhaps it’s al lthe Husserl I’ve been reading, but I still think the ego is a necessary construct for phenomenological investigation. It is for this reason that I tend to drift a bit more towards Michel Henry, or perhaps also Marion to a lesser extent. Though of course they too have their own problems, including the aforementioned tendency towards dualism.

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