Besides introductory philosophy courses, I regularly teach undergraduate courses in the philosophy of language and metaphysics, and graduate courses on topics concerning the nature and value of truth, facts, action and events

 

My pedagogical practices are informed by my ongoing collaborative research projects on scaffolded learning with Rob Colter (Wyoming), in the scholarship of teaching and learning.  He and I have devised a Socratic Model of Scaffolded Learning that moves students from a relative state of ignorance to well developed autonomous thinkers. Rob and I's The Socratic Classroom should be available soon.

 

Upcoming Offerings in 2021

PHILO588-21A: Foundations of Philosophical Research: Truth & Politics (syllabus)

In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argued that societies should permit the free expression of opinion. Even the most offensive or false opinions should be tolerated because truths will win out over falsehoods following the free exchange of such opinions in the marketplace of ideas. Mill, however, never had an internet connection.

 

The internet has increased the volume and the transmission of ideas.  Some true, but many false.  People freely consume these ideas, either deliberately or in passing through the use of a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter.  If Mill had been correct, then misinformation and disinformation should be drowned out by facts and expert opinion; instead, they’re praised and multiplied in the form of falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and bald-face lies. 

 

Nowhere else is this assault on truth more apparent than in contemporary politics.  This course aims to examine the challenges democracy faces in light of the propagation of misinformation; it aims to question whether democracies have an interest in the promotion of true beliefs; and, it seeks to reconcile the threat that technology poses to truth and the value of truth.

PHILO204-21A: Wisdom, Language, and Communication (syllabus)

Despite the cliché: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," expressions have the capacity to harm. This course introduces students to the political, social, and moral dimensions of what people say and the extent to which people harm others through what they say or what may be inferred from what they say. Through the discussion and critical analysis of academic papers and nonacademic material, we explore how speech is connected with moral wrongness, harm, liberty, resistance, and social justice. We consider some contemporary topics in social epistemology and philosophy of language such as lying, bullshitting, dogwhistling, grandstanding, misleading, and silencing.

Here are some questions we will consider:

  • How do we discriminate against others through what we say?

  • How do we use language to demean, derogate, offend, and hurt other people based on their gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity?

  • What is the meaning of expressions that are conventionally used to offend others because of their gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic identification?

  • Does the representation of gender and ethnicity in language influence our thinking?

  • How ought we interpret cloaked language as a form of discrimination?
     

Students are required to read the assigned readings thoroughly and come to class prepared to discuss the reading(s). The more students engage with the materials, the more productive the course will be. No knowledge of the practice or history of philosophy is presupposed; curiosity is. 

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Past & Future Courses

2022

PHILO304-22A: Meaning, Truth, and Understanding (co-taught with Jeremy Wyatt)

PHILO355-22A: The Fundamental Structure of the World

PHILO150-22B: The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

PHILO204-22B: Wisdom, Language and Communication

2021

B Semester - study leave

PHILO204-21A: Wisdom, Language and Communication

PHIL588-21A: Foundations of Philosophical Research Focal topic: Truth and politics

2020

PHILO208-20B: Reason, Science and Pseudoscience

PHILO304-20B: Meaning, Understanding, and Truth (co-taught with Jeremy Wyatt)

A Semester - Centenary Fellow, University of Aberdeen

A Semester - Future of Truth Residential Fellow, University of Connecticut

2019

B Semester - Future of Truth Residential Fellow, University of Connecticut

PHILO204-19A: Wisdom, Language and Communication

PHIL588-19A: Foundations of Philosophical Research Focal topic: the nature of truth and facts

2018

PHILO 204-18A: Wisdom, Language, and Communication

PHILO 102-18B: Introduction to Logic (w/ Stephanie Gibbons)

PHIL 350-18B: Recent Analytical Philosophy Focal topic: Metametaphysics 

PHIL 545-18B: Aesthetics (w/ Justine Kingsbury and Liezl van Zyl)

2017

PHIL 309-17B: Ethical Theory (w/ Liezl van Zyl)

PHIL 222-17A: Possible Worlds

PHIL 103-17A: Critical Reasoning (w/ Justine Kingsbury)

PHIL 204-17S: Language and Communication

2016

PHIL 350-16B: Recent Analytical Philosophy (w/ Cathy Legg)

PHIL 150-16B: Big Questions (w/ Dan Weijers)

PHIL 102-16A: Critical Reasoning (w/ Stephanie Gibbons)

PHIL 250-16A: Knowledge & Reality (w/ Stephanie Gibbons)

PHIL 208-16A: Understanding Science (w/ Justine Kingsbury)

Metropolitan State University of Denver (2015)

PHIL 3360: Business Ethics

University of Texas at El Paso (2013-2015)

PHIL 1301: Introduction to Philosophy (4 sections)

PHIL 4352: Ethics for Security Professionals

PHIL 4311: Epistemology

PHIL 4352: Death and the Meaning of Life

PHIL 3317: Modern Philosophy

PHIL 4302: Metaphysics

PHIL 3311: Philosophy of Science

PHIL 4352/5352: Graduate Seminar: The Nature of Truth

University of Wyoming (2012-2013; 2008-2009)

PHIL 3000-04: The Meaning of Life

PHIL 2345-01: Natural Resource Ethics

PHIL 4440/5440-01: Graduate Seminar: Philosophy of Mind

PHIL 3140-01: Philosophy of Science

PHIL 3000-04: Metaphysics of Race

PHIL 3000-06: Moral Psychology & Neuroethics

PHIL 1000-01: Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL 4000/5000-01: Graduate Seminar: Experimental Philosophy

PHIL 1200-01: Intellectual Community in Philosophy

University of Mississippi (2011-2012)

PHIL 101-05: Introduction to Philosophy (3 sections)

PHIL 611-01: Graduate Seminar: Metaphysics

PHIL 103-01: Symbolic Logic

University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2009-2011)

PHIL 499-01: Brandom's Making It Explicit

PHIL 330-01: Computers and Culture

HON 102H-1001: Honours: Critical Reasoning (4 sections)

PHIL 102-003: Critical Reasoning (3 sections)

PHIL 499-001: Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Weber State University (2006-2008)

PHIL 1000: Introduction to Philosophy (9 sections)

PHIL 1250: Critical Reasoning (4 sections)

PHIL 3550: Philosophy of Eastern Religion

PHIL 3150: Existentialism

PHIL 3500: Philosophy of Western Religion

Methodist College (Summers 2003-2005)

PHIL 411-21: Moral Philosophy and Contemporary Ethical Problems

PHI 212-01: Symbolic Logic (3 sections)

PHI 211-01: Introduction to Philosophy (3 sections)