Teaching

I have a strong commitment to teaching that goes back to my time as a graduate student, where I served as a Teaching Assistant mentor for the philosophy department at the University of Arizona, organized our TA training, and was awarded the University of Arizona Julia Annas Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. In addition to teaching traditional philosophy classes at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced undergraduate levels, I also have experience designing and teaching online courses (experience that was pre-pandemic!). Please see below for more information about current and past courses.

Cal Poly, SLO

411: Metaphysics

This upper division major requirement focuses on problems and methodology in contemporary analytic metaphysics. Topics typically include ontology,  modality, causation, free will, and metametaphysics. The course is geared towards the completion of a term paper on a well-defined problem in metaphysics, exhibiting the style and explanatory standards of contemporary analytic philosophy.  

422: Philosophy of Mind

This upper division course focuses on contemporary analytic philosophy of mind. The course begins with an overview of methods in philosophy of mind, turns to arguments for and against different views about the metaphysics of mind (dualism, identity theory, elimination materialism, behaviorism, and functionalism), and then shifts to questions at the intersection of philosophy of mind and contemporary cognitive science. By working through these theories, students come to appreciate and grapple with the relationship between armchair and empirical considerations in theoretical philosophy.

301: Special Topics - Anger

In this special topics course, we take a look at the philosophy of anger. The course focuses on moral psychology and the ethics of anger.  We cover a wide variety of topics including a brief introduction to the philosophy of emotion, the rationality of anger, anger and moral responsibility, anger at injustice, alternatives to anger, forgiveness, anger in public discourse, and the metaphysical presuppositions of anger. Anger is an increasingly apparent part of our moral and political lives, and the goal of this class is to help students see the practical value of rigorous philosophical reflection. 

230: Philosophical Classics: Knowledge and Reality

In this introductory level philosophy course, students are tasked with reading three classic texts in the history of philosophy with a focus on metaphysics and epistemology. Currently, the course covers Plato's Phaedo, Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, and A.J. Ayer's Language, Truth, and Logic.  I typically pair each text with an opposing piece, either contemporaneous to the text or from a contemporary analytic perspective. Rather than experiencing the history of philosophy as passive uptake of the canon, students are asked to bring their contemporary concerns into the picture and to think alongside the texts in an active manner.

University of Arizona

348: The Moral Mind

This is an interdisciplinary course, cross-listed with psychology, that covers contemporary work in moral psychology. Typically, the course involves alternating content each week: the first week of a unit is on a philosophical question and the second brings contemporary research in psychology, cognitive science, or economics to bear on the philosophical question. Topics may include moral rationalism vs. moral sentimentalism, altruism and egoism, moral luck, free will,  the morality and function of anger, and personal identity.

215: Contemporary Moral Problems

This course aims to acquaint students with theories in normative ethics, while helping them to engage with one another respectfully and thoughtfully in discussing difficult ethical problems.  Topics typically include the ethics of abortion, immigration ethics, environmental ethics, and world poverty.

160D3: Mind, Matter, and God

This is an introductory metaphysics and epistemology course that focuses on the history of philosophy from Plato to Descartes. Students are introduced to several philosophical controversies. Topics include the problem of universals, arguments for and against the existence of God, the nature of causation, puzzles about reference, and theories of time. Students are challenged to think about how the history of thought has influenced contemporary life, and to consider both the timeless and historically motivated aspects of philosophy.

150A: Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual

This is an introductory metaphysics and epistemology course that focuses on a few "great questions" about the individual and thier place in the world: (1) What can we know? (2) Who (and what) are we? (3) Do we have free will? (4) What is a good life? (5) Is there a meaning of life? Course readings draw widely from the history of Western philosophy and the contemporary analytic philosophical tradition. As a general education course, the goal of 150A1 is to help students develop the critical analytical skills needed to think and write about these questions in a cogent and meaningful way.

150A1:Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual

This introductory course focuses on problems and puzzles of the self.  Typically, we cover five units: (1) What Can You Know? (2) Who (and What) Are We? (3) Do We Have Free Will? (4) What is A Good Life, and (5) Is there Meaning in Life (and Does it Matter)?  Through an exploration of  both historical and contemporary philosophical work, students gain an understanding of the complexity of these problem and the tools to critically engage with them.