“Can Trees Care?: The Overstory as a Rortian Work of Inspirational Literature” forthcoming in The Ethics of Richard Rorty, eds. Susan Dieleman, David McClean, and Paul Showler (Routledge, 2021/2).

"On Wittgenstein, Lydia Davis, and Other Uncanny Grammarians" forthcoming in Philosophy and Literature.  Tentatively slated to be reprinted, with an added section on Ben Marcus, in Literature and Its Language: Philosophical Aspects, ed. Garry L. Hagberg (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021).

"A Work of Art Outside the Age of Instagram: Visiting Walter De Maria's The Lightning Field" in the American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter 40.1, Spring 2020.

“Reading from the Middle: Heidegger and the Narrative Self” in the European Journal of Philosophy 26.2, June 2018, pp. 746-762.

[Penultimate Draft]

“The Abetment of Nihilism: Architectural Phenomenology’s Ethical Project” in Log 42: Disorienting Phenomenology, Winter/Spring 2018, pp. 127-135.

[Digital Copy]

Reviews: "Roth ... writes elegently" (The Avery Review); "the most devastatingly critical text in the entire issue" (George Baird).

“How Sartre, Philosopher, Misreads Sartre, Novelist: Nausea and the Adventures of the Narrative Self” in Allen Speight (ed.), Narrative, Philosophy and Life (New York: Springer, 2015), pp. 81-102.

[Penultimate Draft]

“Confessions, Excuses, and the Storytelling Self: Rereading Rousseau with Paul de Man” in Re-thinking European Politics and History, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows' Conferences, Vol. 32 (2012). (Full text online)


Co-Edited Conference Proceedings:

Agnieszka Pasieka, David Petruccelli, and Ben Roth (eds.), Re-thinking European Politics and History, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows' Conferences, Vol. 32 (2012).


Book Project:

Middling Readers: Heidegger, Everydayness, and the Narrative Self

Introduction: Who—Not What—Am I?

Chapter 1  Reading from the Middle: Thrown Projection

Chapter 2  “In Interpretation, Understanding Becomes Itself”: Narratability and Narration, Sideshadowing and Possibility

Chapter 3  Is Life a Text?, or “What Ontology in View?”: On the Metaphors of Narrativity

Chapter 4  “We Are Never More than the Co-Authors of Our Own Narratives”: Being-With Others

Chapter 5  Living in Received Possibilities: Das Man, Falling, and Bad Faith

Chapter 6  Stories Before Facts: Dasein's Disclosiveness as Primordial Telling

Conclusion: The Ironist, or Even a Man Without Qualities Has a Character



Narrative, Understanding, and the Self: Heidegger and the Interpretation of Lived Experience

Committee: Charles Griswold, Daniel Dahlstrom, Allen Speight


            Since work by Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Paul Ricoeur, there has been sustained interest among philosophers in the view that narrative plays an essential role in how we understand our lives and selves or—more radically—in how we constitute ourselves as full persons.  At one extreme, MacIntyre and Taylor argue that our desires and commitments are hierarchically organized, in the best case unifying our lives into narrative quests.  At the other extreme, Galen Strawson has attacked narrativity as far from universal, as well as spurious when taken as an ideal.  Thinkers such as Marya Schechtman, Peter Goldie, Daniel Dennett, and David Velleman defend conceptions between these extremes.  After examining this background in detail, my dissertation offers an interpretation of Heidegger that supports a revised conception of narrative's role in self-understanding.  Whereas existing theories are driven by master metaphors of the self as author, the self as a character, or of lives as stories, I argue that the relationship between the self and narrative is better understood through a notion of reading.

            Heidegger scholars disagree as to whether the notions of authenticity and historicality put forward in Being and Time support a narrative conception of the self.  In my view, Heideggerian “everydayness”—how we are, prior to any reckoning with authenticity—amounts already to a version of the narrative self.  Just as readers mid-story understand characters by projecting where they are going, we understand who we are by projecting provisional plotlines for our futures.  Such understanding is made explicit in textual narratives, which preserve the structure of lived experience better than any other form of description.  Literary narratives, especially certain kinds of experimental rather than “realist” ones, most accurately represent the structure of existential possibilities.  Heidegger's notion of truth as disclosing provides a frame which makes the anti-naturalist implications of narrativity more coherent.  By bracketing Heidegger's controversial notion of authenticity, conversation with recent work in Anglo-American philosophy on narrative and the self is facilitated.  My revised conception of the narrative self establishes a basis for further work on how we use narrative to understand and organize our lives.

Introduction: Who—Not What—Am I?

Part One: Contemporary Debates

Chapter 1  Life Stories, Master Narratives, and the Rise of the Everyday: The Founding Arguments of MacIntyre and Taylor

Chapter 2  Deconstructing “Galen Strawson”: The Phenomenology of Selves, Subjects, and Human Beings

Chapter 3  The (Re)Presentation of Temporal Human Meanings: A Baseline Characterization of Narrative

Chapter 4  Are Live Narratives, Non-Metaphorically?: Or, “What Ontology in View?”

Part Two: A Narrativist Interpretation of Heideggerian Everydayness

Chapter 5  How Sartre, Philosopher, Misreads Sartre, Novelist: Nausea and the Adventures of the Narrative Self

Chapter 6  Thrown Projection: Our Inescapable Situation as Readers Amidst

Chapter 7  “In Interpretation, Understanding Becomes Itself”: Narratability and Narration, Sideshadowing and Possibility

Chapter 8  Living in Received Possibilities: Das Man, Falling, and Bad Faith

Conclusion: Heideggerian Disclosing as Telling