Faculty & Staff
Chistopher H. Conn
Associate Professor of Philosophy
What is true of most philosophers is certainly true of me: I cannot give an adequate account of my philosophical development without touching upon the period of my life which preceded my formal training as a philosopher. For starters, I should note that I was not raised in any sort of religious tradition, nor was my household informed by anything like the sort of ethical commitments which are generally associated with these traditions. As a high school student I was primarily interested in pursuing the good life as defined by the hedonistic teenage pop culture of my generation.
Andrew P. Moser
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
When I first began teaching philosophy I was ashamed that I couldn’t offer my students a definition of the subject. No definition seemed able to corral everything that I regarded as properly philosophical under a manageable heading. At the time I was working on a master’s thesis on Gottlob Frege – a late 19th century philosopher whose work focused on mathematics and logic. In one of his books, The Foundations of Arithmetic, Frege laments the fact that mathematics is in such a sorry state that almost no one seems capable of defining its most basic idea, the idea of number. I felt that I was in a sorrier state than the mathematicians Frege described. At least they had some vague idea of their subject – number. I lacked even that. What was the subject matter of philosophy? And how could I justify teaching a subject when I had no idea how to describe the subject I was teaching?
James F. Peterman
Professor of Philosophy
It's hard to say when it began. I was interested in ethical, religious, and political issues from a young age. Nothing called philosophy emerged in my mind until my senior year in high school. All seniors were required to write an extended research paper. I wrote on conceptions of reality and defended - or rather embraced - Hegelian absolute idealism over Berkeleyan idealism.
My first philosophy course in college hooked me. I was not good at philosophical writing, but I was taken by the issues, the argument of Plato's Republic, and the argumentative style of the teacher. I declared a major in philosophy second semester of my freshman year.
James R. Peters
Professor of Philosophy
My interest in philosophy began in my childhood when my parents bestowed on me a gift that I believe changed my life. In 1963 my parents left the dull and predictable suburbs of Chicago and moved out into the country. There I fell in love with the rural landscape and began my life-long passionate interest in the natural world. Out of my love of natural things emerged my love of asking fundamental questions. For better or for worse, in taking me into the country, my mother and father set my on the path of becoming a philosopher.