Teaching


Philosophy is good for people. It develops critical thinking skills – giving us the tools to competently reason through complex, pressing issues and helping us understand the mechanics of an argument. It helps us know ourselves – highlighting our presuppositions, helping us to aptly and congenially express, defend, and revise our views, and enabling us to address life’s ‘big questions’. It helps us understand others – teaching us to show consideration for and learn from diversity and helping us discern and assess the dizzying array of arguments and suppositions that bombard us in our everyday lives. And, frankly, philosophy is good for people because it is fun – offering a wide range of intrinsically interesting puzzles, paradoxes, and conundrums.

My goal as a philosophy teacher is to confer these benefits to students.

I am a highly active philosopher who is strongly committed to teaching; indeed, I believe teaching is an essential part of research. From my first year as an undergraduate student I have shown an ability to understand and teach philosophy – being the only freshman to have served as a Teaching Assistant in Philosophy at Ball State University. In 2010, my work earned me the University of St Andrews PhD Teaching Prize, second place – awarding me with the opportunity to give an honorary lecture on my research at the University of St Andrews Philosophy Society. And in 2011, my work earned me the University of St Andrews PhD Teaching Prize, first place – affording me a monetary award and the opportunity to teach an honors-level course entirely of my own design in the Spring of 2012.

My area of specialization is epistemology, but I am also able to teach ethics, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of psychology, the history of analytic philosophy, and early modern philosophy at all undergraduate levels. I am a teaching enthusiast, and I am more than happy to teach outside of my primary interests should the need arise.

In my relatively short teaching career, I have taught students from four universities in two countries, in classrooms and online, and my student evaluations have always been extremely positive.

A list of courses I have taught with brief descriptions can be found below. Student evaluation summaries, philosophy of teaching statement, etc. can be easily made available upon request.

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[Introduction Courses]

Introduction to Philosophy, Saint Louis University – Adjunct Instructor

"This course will focus primarily on the writings of Plato and Aristotle as central figures in that historical period when Western humanity began to use and to develop reason systematically as an instrument for understanding the world and its place in that world. Students will be introduced to Greek contributions to logic, metaphysics, and ethics." – University Description

[Epistemology]

Advanced Topics in Epistemology, The University of Edinburgh – Course Instructor

Advanced Topics in Epistemology is designed to give students access to cutting-edge research in contemporary epistemology through participation in meetings of Edinburgh’s Epistemology Research Group, which hosts research presentations from visiting academics. Students will attend meetings of the Group, along with fortnightly tutorials, and prepare a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member of Edinburgh’s Epistemology Research Cluster.

Luck and Gettier Problems, The University of St Andrews – Lecturer

The Gettier Problem has had an enormous impact on contemporary epistemology. Even after nearly fifty years of research, it has become no less a hallmark of analytic accounts of knowledge. In this module, students will survey and explore current research on the Gettier Problem and consider why it remains (or seems to be) so very problematic. What is more, students will enjoy discovering, creating, critiquing, and refining a wide range of intrinsically interesting counterexamples and conundrums – developing skills that are important for further study within contemporary theories of knowledge.

(In 2011, I was awarded the University of St Andrews PhD Teaching Prize, first place – earning me a monetary reward and the opportunity to teach an honors-level course on my research. Luck and Gettier Problems is that course.)

Reasoning and Knowledge, The University of St Andrews – Tutor

“This module provides an introduction to informal and formal modes of reasoning, and to philosophical ideas about the differences between good and bad arguments. We will discuss induction and deduction, justification and knowledge, and will study elementary features of propositional and predicate logic. The module is an essential foundation for further study in philosophy, and teaches skills that are central to many other academic disciplines.” - University Description

[Early Modern Philosophy]

Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Kant, The University of St Andrews – Tutor

“This period during the history of philosophy saw great changes and developments; key ideas and writings from this time form the backdrop for philosophical debate even to the present day. This module will introduce students to the central philosophers, texts and issues of the period, providing a firm historical background for further study in philosophy.” – University Description

[Ethics]

Ethical Controversies, The University of St Andrews – Tutor

“This module provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the philosophical significance of the most pressing moral problems of today, e.g. euthanasia, abortion, world poverty and the moral status of animals and the environment; as well as a guide to the rival theoretical approaches used to reflect upon these issues: consequentialism, Kantian ethics, virtue theories, theological ethics and moral scepticism. Students will be given the opportunity to study the three 'great books' that inspire and divide moral philosophers to the present day: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Immanuel Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and J.S. Mill's Utilitarianism.” - University Description

Contemporary Issues (online), Taylor University – Adjunct Instructor

“A systematic analysis of pressing issues such as sexual morality, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and war and peace.” - University Description

[Logic]

Critical Thinking, The University of St Andrews – Tutor

This one-day course is part of The University of St Andrews Philosophy Outreach Programme: a program designed to introduce over 150 high school age children to important issues in philosophy. The Critical Thinking course in particular is geared to helping students understand the nature of an arguments and argumentation – what arguments are composed of and how they are structured, when they are valid, when they are sound, the difference between deductive and inductive arguments, and how arguments fail.

Introduction to Logic, Ball State University – Teaching Assistant

“The nature of deductive reasoning. Inquiry into the forms and procedures necessary to draw correct conclusions from given premises regardless of the factual content of the premises. Critical introduction to the correct forms of deduction.” - University Description

[General, Core Curriculum]

Intellectual Humility: Theory, Science, and Practice, The University of Edinburgh – Lecturer & Course Administrator

This course surveys ten key “big questions” surrounding intellectual humility that afford tremendous real-world significance. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the theory, science, and application of intellectual humility.

Foundations of Christian Thought, Taylor University – Adjunct Instructor

“An introduction to the liberal arts and the integration of faith and learning. The approach of this course is to use the central theme of human nature to introduce the student to basic areas of understanding which under gird the intellectual growth process at Taylor. Topics include worldviews, ways of knowing, and ethics, with applications made to the modern world. A variety of liberal arts subjects are used in the course including science, social science, and literature.” - University Description

(Foundations of Christian Thought is a core curriculum course at Taylor University, which is divided up into large lectures and smaller classes. I taught one of the small classes for a semester.)