Professor of Philosophy
Joined Connecticut College: 2005
Yale University; M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University
Early modern philosophy
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of religion
These days, Andrew Pessin has mostly been working on spreading the word – that philosophy can be accessible, useful, and even fun, in addition to being (of course) provocative and profound. He can be heard on the radio, read in the newspaper or on various blogs, queried as a panelist on AskPhilosophers.org, or found at the bookstore in the form of his most recent books, all philosophical books for the general reader:
- "Uncommon Sense: The Strangest Ideas From The Smartest Philosophers" (named by Choice an "Outstanding Academic Title of 2013")
- "The God Question: What Famous Thinkers From Plato to Dawkins Have Said About the Divine" and
- "The 60-Second Philosopher: Expand Your Mind on a Minute or so a Day!"
For more information about these books, and all these activities, visit his personal webpage at http://www.andrewpessin.com/
Pessin's more scholarly work, in recent years, has focused on the history of early modern philosophy. He has published several papers each on the seminal thinker René Descartes (1596-1650) and his less-well known but equally important follower and critic, Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715), examining various aspects of their views on God, causation, perception and knowledge. Pessin has also published a paper on G. W. Leibniz’s (1646-1716) conception of time. In the more distant past Pessin worked in contemporary philosophy of mind, publishing several articles in this field as well as two books: "Gray Matters: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind" (co-authored) and "The Twin Earth Chronicles: Twenty Years of Reflection on Hilary Putnam's 'The Meaning of 'Meaning' " (co-edited). Lately he has been exploring the history of Jewish thought, and may be writing something in that area soon.
"I’ve always found almost everything interesting," Pessin notes, "including the fact that almost everything is interesting. But ultimately I gravitated towards philosophy, because in studying philosophy, one gets to learn (and think) about pretty much almost everything else: there's philosophy of science, of mind, of religion, of art and literature, etc. So philosophy is the perfect way to explore just about everything!"
View the philosophy department website.
"What if the hokey-pokey IS what it's all about?" - Andrew Pessin