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Teaching Experience

Since 2014, I have taught undergraduate courses in philosophy at Marquette University, and I also taught several courses at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family during the 2017-2018 academic year. See below for a list as well as for sample syllabi.

Fall 2014: PHIL 2310-103 and -104, Theory of Ethics
Spring 2015: PHIL 2310-106 and -108, Theory of Ethics
Summer 2015: PHIL 2310-105, Theory of Ethics (6-week summer course)
Fall 2015: PHIL 2310-101 and -108, Theory of Ethics
Spring 2016: PHIL 1001-101 and -111, Human Nature
Fall 2016: PHIL 1001-109 and -111, Human Nature
Spring 2017: PHIL 1001-107 and -111, Human Nature; PHIL 2310-105, Theory of Ethics
Fall 2017: PHIL 1000-101, Logic, and PHIL 1001-118, Human Nature (at Marquette); PHL 110-001, Traditional Logic, and PHL 202-001, Ethics (at Silver Lake)
Spring 2018: PHIL 1001-702, Human Nature (at Marquette); PHL 120-001, Philosophical Anthropology (at Silver Lake)
Fall 2018: PHIL 4336-105, -106, -107, -108, -701, and -702, Applied Ethics in Health Sciences
Spring 2019: PHIL 2310-101 and -103, Theory of Ethics
Fall 2019: PHIL 1001-134, -153, 155, and -704, Foundations in Philosophy
Spring 2020: PHIL 1001-101, -106, -114, and -116, Foundations in Philosophy
Fall 2020: PHIL 1001-119 and -129, Foundations in Philosophy; PHIL 4336-103, -104, -107, -108, -701, and -702, Applied Ethics in Health Sciences
Spring 2021: PHIL 1001-112, -117, -118, and -122, Foundations in Philosophy

Statement on Pedagogy

I firmly believe that all worthwhile philosophical education must come forth in a holistic manner. That is, it must both be grounded in diligent study of the history of philosophy as a whole and engage constantly with the concrete application of philosophical issues. Towards the first point, the questions that we confront today in our systematic investigations have their roots in a long tradition of philosophical speculation and can only be understood in their fullness in light of that lineage. Accordingly, I maintain that it is very nearly impossible for the student to appreciate the depths of any philosophical position without understanding the evolution of its underlying ideas.

As such, I teach my classes – especially introductory courses – from a historical perspective. I introduce students to a variety of philosophical ideas, and then attempt to show them how those ideas have been debated and adapted throughout the history of philosophy. I accomplish this task largely through the use of primary texts, with which I encourage students to engage as ongoing conversation partners. As one example, a common assignment for my Foundations in Philosophy course asks students to write a paper exploring a possible dialogue between philosophers working in different areas or traditions, such as both Sartre and Confucius. In this way, students are able to obtain a more complete understanding of the ideas investigated in the course than would be possible if they were studied in isolation.

Of course, these methods require adaptation in the context of other courses. Upper division courses, for example, have their own narrower subject matter, mandating a more precise focus than is appropriate for an introductory course. My intention in these courses, however, remains that of working with students to develop their understanding of the issues involved, both on their own terms and as part of the philosophical enterprise. For instance, even in my courses on healthcare ethics, which are tailored to non-philosophers, one of the readings I assign (alongside other, more contemporary texts) comes from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Some of the finest analysis of the ethics of healthcare that I have ever seen from my students has come from their attempts to puzzle out, both through class discussion and in written form, just how these ancient ideas might be applied to modern-day problems in the field.

On this basis, the ultimate aim of my teaching is for students to understand philosophical ideas, to evaluate them critically, and especially to apply them to their own everyday worlds. Accordingly, just as in my research, I constantly emphasize the continuity between philosophical themes and the actions we take in our ordinary lives. For example, students in my introductory courses have written papers on how our understanding of the free-will debate might shape choices as seemingly simple as whether or not to show up for class. Similarly, for healthcare ethics, students have given presentations exploring how the phenomenological notion of intersubjectivity through empathy might apply to specific issues in medicine, such as the opioid overdose crisis. Overall, my pedagogy constantly emphasizes the holistic character of philosophy, both as an ongoing discussion among historical philosophers, contemporary thinkers, and students and as a theoretical field of study that nevertheless has deep relevance for daily life. The better these connections are understood, the more students find themselves willing and eager to take part in the philosophical enterprise in their own right, both in class and beyond.

For a more detailed example of my teaching methods, see the sample syllabi listed above.

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