I have a strong commitment to teaching that goes back to my time as a graduate student at the University of Arizona, where I served as a teaching assistant mentor for the philosophy department, organized our TA training, and was awarded the University of Arizona Julia Annas Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. At Cal Poly, most of my teaching falls into two categories: I teach upper-division classes in core areas of philosophy and I teach a lower-division GE history of philosophy course with an emphasis on metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. I also regularly teach independent studies.
Cal Poly, SLO
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 elective 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, eliminative 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.
342: Philosophy of Religion
This course covers the philosophy of religion with a focus on breadth. Topics typically include traditional fare including arguments for and against the existence of God, but we also cover less traditional topics like religious practice, the nature of religious language, questions about religion and ethics, and the role of religion in political and public life. The course aims to focus on a wide variety of religions, and students are introduced to issues in many areas of philosophy from the vantage point of the philosophy of religion. The course provides an opportunity for students to think deeply about why they believe (or don't believe) what they do.
301: Special Topics - Anger
This special topics course focuses on moral psychology and the ethics of anger. We cover a wide variety of matieral 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 lower division GE course, students are tasked with reading three classic texts in the history of philosophy with a focus on metaphysics and epistemology. The way I teach the course also focuses on the philosophy of science. 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, often contemporaneous to the text, like excerpts from Princess Elisabeth's correspondence with Descartes or Susan Stebbing's review of LTL. 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, which 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.