Teaching

I began teaching as a graduate student at Cardiff University in 2001. Since then I’ve taught a wide range of courses for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as gaining some experience of graduate research supervision in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. During my time at Chicago, I was twice nominated for the prestigious Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. I have teaching interests in a wide range of areas, including Ancient Greek Philosophy and Literature, Epistemology, Ethics and Meta-ethics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, and Wittgenstein.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Over the last ten years, I’ve taught courses in each of the following areas:

  • Ancient Greek Philosophy and Literature
  • Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Ethics and Political Philosophy
  • Formal Logic
  • History of Analytic Philosophy
  • History of Philosophy
  • Introductory Philosophy
  • Metaethics (including Moral Psychology)
  • Metaphysics and Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Skepticism

I’ve also supervised graduate research on the following topics:

  • Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
  • Expressivism in Ethics

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Courses at Providence College:

PHL202: Ethics
(Spring Semester, 2014)
An introduction to Ethics, including meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics with a particular focus on the problem of immoralism, the unity of the good, and the nature of ethical thought. [Ethics Core]
Level: Introductory

PHL352: Philosophy of Mind: Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument
(Autumn Semester, 2013)
This course is an in-depth investigation of Wittgenstein’s most famous contribution to the philosophy of mind: the private language argument (PI §§243-315). [Philosophy Core; Contemporary Philosophy Elective]
Level: Advanced

PHL319: Philosophy of Knowledge
(Autumn Semester, 2012)
Contemporary Theory of Knowledge is dominated by the attempt to provide a solution to the problem of skepticism: the claim that we do not or cannot know anything. In this course, we will focus primarily on skepticism about our knowledge of the external world, beginning with the classic statement of such skepticism in Descartes’ First Meditation. Our principal goal will be to try to understand and to assess Ludwig Wittgenstein’s attempts to provide a dissolution of skepticism through a careful analysis of the grammar of concepts such as doubt, knowledge, and certainty, in his notes gathered under the title On Certainty. In addition, we will study several other attempts to address skeptical worries, including G.E. Moore’s attempts to refute skepticism in his papers “Proof of an External World” and “A defence of common sense”, to which Wittgenstein is initially responding. [Philosophy Core]
Level: Advanced

DWC101: Development of Western Civilization I
(Autumn Semester, 2012 (2 sections); Autumn Semester, 2013 (2 sections))
An introduction to some of the great texts of Western Civilization through close-reading and textual analysis, covering works by (among others) Homer, Herodotus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Lucan, and Augustine, as well as selections from (for instance) the Bible, and the epic poem Beowulf. [DWC Core]
Level: Introductory

PHL352: Philosophy of Mind
(Spring Semester, 2012)
In this course, we will discuss a range of central questions about the mind, such as the following: What is the Mind? How does the mind relate to the body? Can the mind be adequately explained in purely physical terms? Are computers capable of thought? Can non-linguistic animals have thoughts? We will also discuss a range of Wittgensteinian themes in the philosophy of mind, including the possibility of logically alien thought, of non-discursive thought and of a private sensation language and its relevance for our thinking about the mind. [Philosophy Core; Contemporary Philosophy Elective]
Level: Intermediate / Advanced

PHL315: Symbolic Logic
(Autumn Semester, 2011; Spring Semester, 2013)
This course is an introduction to Symbolic Logic. Students will learn two formal logical languages – propositional logic and first-order predicate logic – and how to translate sentences and arguments from English into each of those languages. Students will also learn a variety of techniques for testing arguments for validity within those languages. In the final section of the course, we will discuss some topics in the Philosophy of Logic. [Philosophy Core; Logic Requirement]
Level: Intermediate

PHL103: Introduction to Philosophy
(2012-13: Spring Semester, 3 sections)
(2011-12: Autumn Semester, 2 sections; Spring Semester, 2 sections)
An introduction to some of the central problems of philosophy, and to some of the most influential attempts to solve them. The course uses a range of texts, podcasts and films to illustrate philosophical problems or views, covering topics such as knowledge and skepticism, the nature of the mind, the self and reality, and problems in ethics and political philosophy too. Assessment centers on participation in class as an engaged member of an intellectual community, and on a process called the “Essay Exchange” in which students learn to think more critically about their academic writing through reading and commenting on each others’ draft essays. [Philosophy Core]
Level: Introductory

Courses at the University of Chicago:

HUMA12000-12100-12200: Greek Thought and Literature I, II, & III
(2010-11: Autumn Quarter, 2 Sections; Winter Quarter, 2 Sections)
(2009-10: Winter Quarter, 2 Sections; Spring Quarter, 3 Sections)
(2008-9: Autumn Quarter, 2 Sections; Winter Quarter, 2 Sections; Spring Quarter, 2 Sections)
The first two quarters of this sequence are designed as a complete unit, and they approach their subject matter both generically and historically. First, they offer an introduction to humanistic inquiry into the most important genres of Western literature: epic poetry (Homer); tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides); historiography (Herodotus and Thucydides); philosophic dialogue (Plato); and comedy (Aristophanes). Secondly, they offer a broad introduction to ancient Greek thought and culture, which aims at understanding what ancient works meant to their original authors and audiences as well as how they reflect the specific historical conditions of their composition. In Spring Quarter, each section builds on the experience of the previous two quarters by tracing the development of a different literary genre (e.g., historiography or tragedy) or cultural mode of expression (e.g., philosophy or oratory) from the Greeks and Romans into the modern period. [Humanities Core Course]
[Open to Undergraduate Students Only]

PHIL31414: Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
(Autumn Quarter 2008)
An introduction to some of the most influential texts of Contemporary Analytic Philosophy for students in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities considering further postgraduate study in Philosophy. The course includes sections on Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, and the foundations of Ethics. Each class focuses on a specific text, such as Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” or Putnam’s “The Meaning of Meaning”, and its influence. (Co-taught)
[Open to Masters Students Only]

PHIL2/31005: Early Analytic Philosophy: Frege – Russell – Wittgenstein
(Spring Quarter 2008)
An introduction to the work of some of the most important figures in early analytic philosophy, with a special focus on Frege, Russell and early Wittgenstein.
[Open to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students]

PHIL2/31415: Contemporary Analytic Metaethics: Moral Realism and Its Enemies
(Winter Quarter 2008)
This course will provide an introduction to the central issues, themes and positions in one of the most dynamic and interesting areas of contemporary analytic philosophy by way of a close reading of some of the most important and influential texts in the field.  Focusing on the dispute between moral realists and anti-realists, we will pursue questions in metaphysics (Are there moral facts and properties? If so, what kind of facts and properties are they?), epistemology (Can we know which moral statements are true and which false? If so, how?), philosophy of language (What does it mean to say that something is good or bad, right or wrong, in an ethical sense?) and moral psychology (Are moral judgments intrinsically motivating?), among other areas.  The range of positions discussed will include classic stances such as G. E. Moore’s particular brand of non-naturalism, as well as newly emerging positions such as moral fictionalism.
[Open to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students]

PHIL2/31615: Meaning and Scepticism
(Autumn Quarter 2007)
This course introduces some central theories and currents in contemporary analytic philosophy of language.  In the first part of the course we will discuss some positive, systematic attempts to give an account of meaning both of singular terms and of sentences, starting with Frege’s distinction between sense and reference and Russell’s response to Frege here, attacking the notion of sense.  The second part of the course will turn to scepticism about meaning, looking at Quine’s various attacks on the idea of maaning and Saul Kripke’s influential argument, drawing on the later Wittgenstein, that there can be no such thing as meaning anything by any word.  We will look in detail at that argument, as well as at Kripke’s own attempted solution to it, before turning to some central responses to it in contemporary philosophy of language in the works of, e.g., Colin McGinn, and Crispin Wright.  Finally, in the third, and shortest, part of the course, we will look at anti-realism in the philosophy of language, first with respect to ethical discourse, then in relation to statements about the past.
[Open to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students]

PHIL23000: Introduction to Epistemology
(Autumn Quarter 2007)
This course will introduce students to a range of the most central questions in contemporary theory of knowledge and some classic attempts to answer them.  We will focus on the concepts of knowledge and justification, asking what knowledge is, whether we can have it (and, if so, of what), what its sources, structure and limits are, what justification is, what justifies justified beliefs, and whether justification is internal or external to one’s own mind.
[Open to Undergraduate Students Only]

Courses at Cardiff University:

SE4318: Philosophy of Language
(Autumn and Spring Semesters 2002-3)
Level: Intermediate / Advanced

SE4102: The Individual, Morality & the State I & II
(Autumn & Spring Semesters 2001-2006, 2 Sections per year)
Level: Introductory

SE4101: Mind, Thought & Reality I & II
(Autumn & Spring Semesters 2001-2006, 2 Sections per year)
Level: Introductory

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