I had the incredible opportunity to present a paper I’m currently working on at the APA Pacific 2023 which took place April 4-8 in San Francisco, California.

In this paper, I argue that most theories within philosophy of love fail to account for experiences of love by people who live with psychological and/or neurological disorders. As a result of this, I argue that romantic love needs to be addressed on the level of perception because it is through perception that we can understand how meaning, signification, and affect take place within interpersonal relationships. I base my argument on Merleau-Ponty’s work on perception and at the same time I present phenomenology as a better suited approach to understanding romantic love in a more inclusive way.

Here is the abstract to my paper:

“Using French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s work, I argue in this paper that romantic love must be addressed on the level of affective perception when it is experienced within a context of mental health. An extremely large portion of the literature on philosophy of romantic love focuses on its epistemological and metaphysical standing in such a way that is non-inclusive for people diagnosed with certain (neuro)psychopathologies (e.g.: Gabriele Taylor’s definition of romantic love (1975), which uses beneficence as a major condition, hardly applies to somebody diagnosed with Asperger’s who does not experience social concepts like beneficence on the same level as a neurotypical person but nevertheless still loves someone for different reasons). I suggest that this rupture created by the wrongful expectations of these theories for people to fit certain normative standards of epistemological and/or cognitive constitutions can be resolved by returning to a more perceptual understanding of this experience, which is especially mindful of experiences of romantic love within a context of mental health. I begin my argument by presenting how some of the major (materialist and non-materialist) definitions and theories of romantic love have grievously ignored neurodivergent people and their ability to experience romantic love in ways that do not fit these theories. The second part of my paper examines how a phenomenology of perception can solve this issue by highlighting the affective dimension of perception. To do so, I revisit Merleau-Ponty’s exposition of a woman’s experience with aphasia that was caused by her socially imposed inability to maintain a romantic relationship with her partner (Phenomenology of Perception p.193). By explaining how Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the body as an ensemble of habitual and open-ended meanings, and as especially affectively dependent on perception to make sense of its experiences, I demonstrate that his phenomenological framework provides a better terrain for understanding romantic experiences lived by people with psychopathologies and neurological disorders. Overall, my paper attempts to support the works of critical phenomenologists such as Sara Heinamaä and Lisa Guenther on the inclusivity and diversity of modern understandings of love and sexuality.”

It was my first time attending the APA meeting and it was wonderful. I’m very thankful to my peers from the Society For Philosophy of Sex and Love for the feedback they provided me.

But it wasn’t just the conference that was wonderful. My experience of San Francisco was unbelievable and I’m planning on writing a few more blog posts about how my visit to the Golden Gate city has been philosophically fruitful in itself…

What Is Trauma?

Sketch of a phenomenological description (and the philosophy that comes with it)

Published in Oxford Public Philosophy’s Turn ThreeRead it here.


This is what Trauma feels like: entering the now as if it were hell, wishing for the world to be real again (1). What is this hell? It is ‘living-missingly’ or ‘being livingly-troubled.’      This experience is about not being tuned correctly – harmoniously – with the real as much as with ourselves, and thinking (believing? No–     knowing)  what is going on is not right. Everything  changed. It has all changed somehow. The frames are not right, chairs are more crooked than before, floors seem to be leaning–     all of this despite all the science and rationality available (2). The now is not experienced as it had to be (3). Everything is unforgiving: our mind, other people, time, and the rawness of life’s appearance in general. What is      more unforgiving is forgiveness itself: it has lost its initial meaning, which is an ability to turn back on events  and cancel their non-factual consequences. Forgiving oneself for what happened does not reset every clock in the world no matter what. It happened: The bomb detonated     –     she died     –     he was in the crowd when bodies fell on the ground (4). Trauma is permanent and the only thing for which empathy from others becomes a Sisyphus who sightlessly generates a movement of social back-and-forth. It is a mental tattoo. No amount of emotional distance will make us go back in time and prevent the unforgiving. Though we may find comfort over time and attempt to re-serialize our memories (5) to tune ourselves harmoniously back with time and space – this now, this space, of the right now, – the off-putting feeling evinced by what is real remains continuously. The French have the word “fatalité” to beautifully describe the unforgiving characteristic of time, but Trauma knows no language. Trauma is  mental assault. It knows nothing but to assault our intellectual and physical capabilities     –     the tandem juxtaposition of the experience and the phenomenon that precedes Trauma goes above and beyond the agency of our self-consciousness (6). Oftentimes it shatters this agency by subduing it with a cognitive experience that our self-consciousness would never experience on its own, as well as by making it seem as though these experiences were the product of consciousness itself. Keep reading »

There are high chances philosophy students at university have to write exegetical papers, which we also call an exegesis reading in philosophy. An exegetical reading is an exercise that comes down from the Scholastic tradition in the Middle-Ages, which consists in doing a close reading of a text in philosophy. For historical examples, you can read Aquinas’ commentary on Aristotle’s Physics and Suárez’s commentary on Aristotle.

But what the Scholastics did were exegetical readings of entire books – for the most part. In contemporary philosophy we restrain the exercise to short passages. The idea behind this sort of assignment is to teach students the following skills: i) To be able to understand an argument by deconstructing it so as to highlight a crucial premise in it; ii) to be able to contextualize that premise within the whole argument, its relevance and significance; iii) to be able to clearly explain philosophical terminology that is proper to the historical context and the author using them.

Keep reading »

Copied below is the preface I wrote for the 18th edition of Pensées Canadiennes. You can read the published version here.

This issue marks the 20th anniversary of Pensées Canadiennes. The masthead undergoes a rotation every year, and this way has allowed the journal to grow as an entity of its own, intersubjectively dependent on generations of undergraduate students. This means that our journal has also witnessed many events both within and outside the philosophy community over the past twenty years. Among these events include September 11 2001, the emergence of social media and the spring of technology, two large-scale financial recessions, the Idle No More Rights Movement, advancements in the acceptance of human sexualities (such as the legalization of same sex marriage in Canada in 2005), and space exploration. These are just to name a few. The list is long, but needless to say history and the world have been a constant source of inspiration for the philosophical community. In this same amount of time, students and professors who contributed to P.C. have also experienced what might have felt, at times, like a finger snap or an insanely slow symphony that is analogous to the two decades they endured. Despite the facts, events, news, announcements, or happenings dropping into their lives at different speeds, the questionings and philosophical practices from this side of the globe have remained lively throughout the years, echoing different trends and different ways of thinking. But these “happenings” are usually thought to be structured by beginnings, middles, and endings. The defining moment of Pensees Canadiennes is undoubtedly this pondering that began from its inception to its latest publication. In other words, 20 years later we still feel the defining moments experienced by the first team of editors, and every year we look at the future of the journal with the same anxieties and excitements that the first team had. These sensations of time are even stronger as we pass the torch to the new Editors-in-Chief and look towards the journal’s future with so much excitement. We can only hope that it continues to project itself into a future that unfolds at various speeds and in various subjectivities and through doubts and interrogations that emerge in the now.

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Why universities should encourage developing knowledge-based opinions

Published in The Concordian in August 2017

I believe freedom of speech on college and university campuses should be limited when it jeopardizes academic endeavours. Academic institutions were originally intended to provide a wide understanding of the world through the lenses of the fields students were interested in. Research was mostly done to be able to understand certain phenomena, rather than to prove a certain ideology right or wrong.

This is where programs such as gender studies, First Peoples studies and exchange programs can be beneficial. When completed with academic rigor, they shed light on issues and perspectives that are unknown to those who don’t experience them firsthand.

As learners of the world, students should be exposed to as much knowledge as possible in order to take informed stances and develop thoughtful perspectives on various issues. I believe that advocates for free speech on university campuses often skip over another important right: the right to know as much as possible about a topic. The right to access information as free from censorship, bias and prioritization as possible before forming an opinion on a subject. However, the atmosphere of higher education has shifted to a more active and socially involved mindset which leads people to skip this first step that is necessary for them to form accurate and truthful opinions.

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Dealing with love requires philosophy

A shorter version of this article was published in The Concordian newspaper in February 2020.

I believe we should be asking ourselves “What is the meaning of love?” more often than we usually do.

It’s not uncommon these days to end up seeing someone without knowing exactly what the outcome will be. We don’t know where this intimate bond stands, either between friendship and committal love or outside of these two poles, and that’s why current generations emphasize the open-ended ambiguity with phrasings such as “seeing each other”, “being friends” or “dating”.

One thing remains unchanging while developing interest with someone, be it from a two-date period to a defined relationship, which is our self and our psychological attributions. Our projections of insecurities and natural attitudes remain, but in the face of a romantic phase they take place against a seemingly different world.

Keep reading »