One major goal of my teaching is to prepare students to reason, communicate, and learn in the presence of diversity. To that end, I enjoy teaching courses that allow students to make use of their own background experiences, forms of expertise, and perspectives to contribute to discussions, while learning from others with different experiences, expertise, and perspectives to their own. I have found that learning objectives related to this goal have worked well in courses on applied ethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of religion.
I have benefitted a great deal from attending workshops run by the AAPT (American Association of Philosophy Teachers). I highly recommend attending one if you have the chance.
Below you'll find some information on the
courses I am currently teaching or have taught recently. Please feel free to contact me for copies of syllabi.
Philosophy of Race
Racial and ethnic identities offer a small subset of the many possible ways of dividing up the social world. However, these identities play a significant role in how many people understand themselves and others, and how we engage in social and political life. In this course, we will engage in three domains of inquiry around race and ethnicity with a focus on their role in the context of the U.S. First, we will consider the nature of these identities/classification schemes: does it make sense to think of them as real? If so, in what sense? Second, we will consider different perspectives on how race and ethnicity shapes one’s experiences and belief-formation: in what sense can experiences be racialized? How might our ethnoracial identities affect what information we have access to and accept or reject? Finally, we will consider ethnoracial identity in the political domain: What is racism and how should we respond to it? What is the proper response to racial inequality?
Graduate Seminar on Contemporary Democratic Theory: Advocates, Critics, and Reformers
Recent debates in democratic theory have mirrored concerns in the public sphere about the value, authority, stability, and justification for democracies and key democratic institutions such as elections. In this seminar, we will discuss some traditional accounts of the value of democracy and its authority, including moral and epistemic perspectives, in conjunction with critics who raise doubts about contemporary democracies’ abilities to live up to these values, or who suggest that alternatives such as epistocracy and political meritocracy would perform better. While our focus will be on normative argumentation from political philosophy and political theory, students are encouraged to draw on forms of expertise from other disciplines or domains of research in their participation in discussion and completion of course assignments.
Spring 2021, Spring 2022
In this course, we will consider the moral and political relationship between humans and their environment. We will develop a toolkit to address ethical challenges that we face with respect to this relationship at the level of individual action and with regard to collective action and public policy. Our attempts to answer these questions will be guided by particular cases that we will consider in detail, as well as arguments with a more general scope. In order to do so, we will consider particular applied questions, such as should we act to protect endangered species? If so, what should we do when conservation conflicts with other interests that humans have? Our ability to address these particular questions will be enriched by a discussion of more abstract moral questions, such as the moral status of animals, plants, and ecosystems, or even what makes an action morally required. Other topics that we will discuss include: efforts to combat climate change, economic decision-making with regard to the environment, resurrecting extinct species, and responsibility for environmental activism.
Whether as patients, healthcare workers, voters, policymakers, activists, consumers, or researchers, we all encounter ethical challenges as we make decisions about our own health and well-being, and the health and well-being of those around us. In this course, we will develop the skills to reason about ethical challenges related to healthcare and health policy. We will develop the skills to closely read and evaluate arguments, assess our own views and assumptions, as well as the capacity to reason from premises that are not our own. Along the way we will consider topics such as pricing in the pharmaceutical industry, the permissibility of cosmetic surgery, and the legitimacy of health-oriented taxes on soda.