Professor of Philosophy
Joined Connecticut College: 1989
B.A., Vassar College; M.A., M.Phi., Ph.D., Yale University
Phenomenology and existentialism
Lawrence Vogel, Professor of Philosophy, graduated from Vassar (1975) and received his Ph.D. in philosophy on a Danforth Fellowship from Yale (1989). After college he spent several years away from academia, working as a journalist and doing research for a book, Chance and Circumstance (Knopf, 1977), about military and draft violators during the war in Vietnam. Vogel taught philosophy at Vassar and Yale before coming to Connecticut College in 1989.
In 2013, he was awarded the Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Leadership Award, presented annually to a tenured faculty member whose outstanding service in a leadership role exemplifies the College's commitment to shared governance, democratic process and campus community development. He was honored for his College-wide commitment to service and leadership, including chairing most of the major faculty and campus committees at some point over the course of his career. In 1994 he was awarded the Connecticut College Student Government Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Though Vogel teaches “core” courses in the history of philosophy (Ancient, modern, American, and 20th century continental thought) and ethics (both theoretical and applied), he takes special pleasure in creating seminars that build bridges between speculative questions and everyday moral issues, like PHI 232: Tolerance, Intolerance and the Intolerable; PHI 233: Freedom of the Will and Moral Responsibility; PHI 235: Evil; and PHI 290b: Moral Disagreement and Moral Truth.
Vogel's books include The Fragile "We": Ethical Implications of Heidegger's Being and Time (Northwestern University Press, 1994); he was editor of a volume of Hans Jonas's later essays, Mortality and Morality: a Search for the Good after Auschwitz (Northwestern, 1996); and he wrote the "Foreword" to the republished edition of Hans Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life (Northwestern University Press, 2001).
Vogel's recent scholarship expresses his special interest in Heidegger's Jewish students – especially Hans Jonas, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt and Leo Strauss – and their responses to the legacy of their teacher.
His essays include:
- "Heidegger, Buber and Levinas: Must We Give Priority to Authenticity or Mutuality or Holiness?", in Proceedings from the Dublin conference, "Discovering the 'We': the Phenomenology of Sociality" (forthcoming, Contributions to Phenomenology series, Springer, 2014)
- "Evolution and the Meaning of Being: Jonas, Heidegger and Nihilism," in the French journal Alter (forthcoming, 2014)
- "Is Aging a Gift?: Bioconservatism and the Ethics of Gratitude," in a volume, Global Ethics and Moral Responsibility (Ashgate, forthcoming 2014), edited by Holger Burckhart and John-Stewart Gordon.
- "Metaphysics after 'the End of Metaphysics': Recovering 'the Good' from Heidegger," in Phenomenology and Ethics (Lexington Press, 2012), edited by Jeremy Wisnewski.
- "Eichmann in Athens: Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas and the New Problem of Evil,” in Phenomenology and Ethics (Lexington Press, 2012), edited by Jeremy Wisnewski.
- "The Responsibility of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt versus Hans Jonas," The Graduate Faculty Journal of the New School for Social Research (Spring, 2008), also available in a German volume of critical essays about Jonas's work: Mensch, Gott, Welt (Rombach Verlag, 2008.)
- "Emmanuel Levinas and the Judaism of the Good Samaritan," Levinas Studies (Volume 3, 2008.)
- "Overcoming Heidegger's Nihilism: Hans Jonas versus Leo Strauss," Heidegger’s Jewish Followers: Essays on Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, Hans Jonas, and Emmanuel Levinas, edited by Samuel Fleischacker (Duquesne University Press, 2008.)
- A previously published essay, "Natural-Law Judaism?: the Genesis of Bioethics in Hans Jonas, Leo Strauss and Leon Kass", was included in Judaism and the Phenomenon of Life: the Legacy of Hans Jonas (Brill, 2008), edited by Hava Samuelson and Christian Wiese.
Recent lectures include:
- "Evolution and the Meaning of Being: Jonas, Heidegger and Nihilism," for an international colloquium in Santiago, Chile, “La Fenomenologica de la vida de Hans Jonas,” at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile; also delivered for an international conference commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Hans Jonas, "L'Éthique a L'Épreuve de la Technique dans la Pensee de Hans Jonas" at the Sorbonne in Paris, France (October, 2013)
- "Heidegger, Buber and Levinas: Must We Give Priority to Authenticity or Mutuality or Holiness?," a keynote address to the Dublin conference, "Discovering the ‘We’: the Phenomenology of Sociality," sponsored by the Irish Research Council (May, 2013); also delivered at Vassar College in honor of the retirement of Prof. Mitchell Miller (September, 2013)
- "Cosmic Imaginaries: Why Save the Earth?" for the University of Kentucky Philosophy Dept. lecture series (September, 2011)
- "Hannah Arendt and the Burden of 'Meaning'," German Studies Association panel on Hannah Arendt (September, 2011)
- "Jewish Responses to the Legacy of Heidegger," to the Hans Jonas Workshop sponsored by the Tikvah Fund under the directorship of Leora Batnitzsky at Princeton University (June, 2010).
Vogel is married to philosopher/psychotherapist Carol Freedman. They are the parents of Max and Gabriella Vogel-Freedman and live in West Hartford.
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