My teaching interests range from metaphysics, the philosophy of art, and the philosophy of language to ethics, epistemology, and 19th-century German philosophy. As an educator, I have two main goals: (1) to ensure that my students come away from my classroom with a sense of what philosophy is like, and how it can be of use to their everyday pursuits, and (2) to close the skills gap between majors and non-majors by the end of the semester. Recruiting students into taking one more philosophy class comes a close third.
Below, you'll find syllabi from classes that I've taught, and for classes that I'd like to teach.
Philosophy and Literature
Third-year course, University of British Columbia
An introduction to philosophical problems posed by works of literature. The course begins by inviting students to consider the nature of literature, the differences between fiction and literature, and whether fiction and non-fiction call for different modes of engagement. From there, the course introduces some of the major theories of fiction and traces their implications for our understanding of truth, interpretation and the limits of authorial intent, the influence of genre, the puzzle of imaginative resistance and the paradoxes of fiction, whether moral defects constitute aesthetic defects, and the ontology of literature and fictional characters. The course's philosophical content is supplemented with several (short) pieces of literature which draw out relevant issues and offer common touchstones for discussion.
Third-year course, McGill University
A general introduction to philosophical aesthetics focused on answering the question “What is art?” The first half of the course examines a number of key attempts to define ‘art’ throughout its history: the mimetic theory, definitions focusing on aesthetic attitudes and disinterest, theories that hold that art is the result of artistic expression or the communication of feelings, and the rise of contextualist theories of art. The second half of the course explores various sources of skepticism about attempts to define ‘art,’ from neo-Wittgensteinian criticisms to ‘cluster’ theories, the exclusivity of the artistic canon and gendered conceptions of artistic genius, the (surprisingly late) origins of our concepts of "art" and "works," and the difficulty of accounting for the art of non-Western cultures.
OTHER Sample Syllabi
PHIL 101 - Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 104 - Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 201 - Introduction to Logic and Reasoning
PHIL 237 - Contemporary Moral Issues
PHIL 257 - Metaphysics: Time and Time Travel
PHIL 300 - Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 337 - The Question of Torture
PHIL 367 - 19th-Century German Philosophy
PHIL 415 - Philosophy of Language
PHIL 419 - Epistemology
PHIL 500 - Concepts
PHIL 555 - Fiction and Fictionalism
PHIL 556 - Abstract Objects and Multiple Artworks