Teaching

I have teaching interests in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, Eastern philosophy (specifically, Indian and classical Chinese philosophy), and ethics (including biomedical ethics). In 2021 I was awarded the UMass philosophy department’s annual Robison Prize for Teaching Excellence because I created a new Eastern philosophy course for the department and received positive evaluations from my students. Below are the course descriptions and syllabi for many of the courses that I have taught as the instructor of record. In light of student feedback and my own ideas, many of my syllabi have been modified since teaching these courses. In those cases, I have included the modified syllabus rather than the original syllabus below to show how I would likely design the class next time I teach it.

Social and Political Philosophy

 

Philosophy 126, Fall 2022, Denison University

Syllabus

 

Are human beings naturally good or naturally evil? What would life be like if there were no state? Are we normally obligated to obey the laws of the state, and if so, why? Is civil disobedience sometimes justified, and if so, when? What is the nature of oppression? How should wealth be distributed? Is it ever wrong to vote? In this class, we will explore what philosophers throughout history have said about these and other issues debated in social and political philosophy. 

Writing 101 (Theme: Death and the Meaning of Life)

Writing 101, Fall 2022, Denison University

 

Syllabus

This is a first-year, introductory writing course. Each instructor gives the course a different theme. The theme I chose for my version of the course is "Death and the Meaning of Life." I adapted my version of W101 from my version of Philosophy 180, "Death and the Meaning of Life", which I taught at UMass in summer 2021, and which was introduced to the UMass department by Julia Jorati. 

Introduction to Philosophy

 

Philosophy 100, Spring 2022, University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

Syllabus

How do we discern right from wrong? Do we have free will? Is there a God? What does it take to be the same person over a period of time? Is time travel possible? What do we know and how do we know it? What is the meaning of life? These are the kinds of questions that philosophers think about, and this class will give you an opportunity to think through the various answers that philosophers have proposed and defended. 

Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy 226, Spring 2022, Mount Holyoke College

Philosophy 383, Spring 2020, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Philosophy 250, Fall 2016, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee 

Syllabus

Course description: Is there a God? If there is, what is God like? Could all religions be true, or are they contradictory? Is religion in conflict with science? Can we have morality without religion? What happens when we die? In this class, we will consider arguments for and against different positions that people have on these questions. This course will give you a sense of the issues that philosophers of religion are currently thinking and writing about.

Medical Ethics

Philosophy 164, Fall 2021, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Syllabus

 

Course description: This is a class about difficult ethical questions and decisions that arise in medical contexts. We will discuss topics such as pandemics, abortion, euthanasia, disability, and more. We will learn arguments for and against different positions that one can take on these topics, and we will develop the skills needed to evaluate those arguments. 

Death and the Meaning of Life

Philosophy 180, Summer 2021, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Syllabus

Course description: Is death bad? If it is, what makes it bad? What happens after death? Is there a heaven or a hell? Are we reborn? And what implications do the answers to these questions have for the meaning of life? This class will focus on questions like these. We will explore what philosophers from diverse traditions, both religious and secular, have had to say about them, and we will learn how to critically evaluate their arguments and views. 

Eastern Philosophy

Philosophy 393G, Spring 2021, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Syllabus

 

Course description: In this course we will survey some of the philosophical ideas found in Eastern religious and philosophical traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. We will analyze their key concepts and evaluate arguments for and against their central claims. Topics will include karma, rebirth, personal identity, mystical experience, and the nature of ultimate reality. 

Practical Reasoning

Philosophy 105, Fall 2020, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Syllabus

Course description: This class will be focused on developing the skills of identifying, constructing and evaluating arguments, especially informal arguments of the sort that are typical in everyday conversations, on social media platforms, and in the news media. Among other things, we will learn about different types of arguments, what it takes for an argument of each type to be successful, and what common errors in reasoning should be avoided. In short, this class will give you the tools you need to reason well.