Professor of Philosophy
Joined Connecticut College: 1989
BA, Vassar College; MA, MPhi., PhD, Yale University
Phenomenology and Existentialism
Lawrence Vogel, Professor of Philosophy, graduated from Vassar (1975) and received his PhD 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 1994 he was awarded the Student Government Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
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.
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 is author of The Fragile "We": Ethical Implications of Heidegger's Being and Time (Northwestern University Press, 1994), the editor of a volume of Hans Jonas's later essays, Mortality and Morality: a Search for the Good after Auschwitz (Northwestern, 1996), and 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:
1. "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.)
2. "Emmanuel Levinas and the Judaism of the Good Samaritan," Levinas Studies (Volume 3, 2008.)
3. "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.)
4. A previously published essay, “Natural-Law Judaism?: the Genesis of Bioethics in Hans Jonas, Leo Strauss and Leon Kass” has been included in Judaism and the Phenomenon of Life: the Legacy of Hans Jonas (Brill, 2008), edited by Hava Samuelson and Christian Wiese.
5. “Is Aging a Gift?: Bioconservatism and the Ethics of Gratitude," will appear in a forthcoming book, Phenomenology and Posthumanism (Duquesne University Press, 2009.)
6 . "Jewish Philosophers After Heidegger: Levinas and Jonas on Responsibility" in Winston Davis, editor, Taking Responsibility: Crosscultural Perspectives (University of Virginia Press, 2001)
7 "Jewish Theologies After Auschwitz: Levinas versus Jonas," The Graduate Faculty Journal (2001)
8. "Natural-Law Judaism: the Genesis of Bioethics in Hans Jonas, Leo Strauss and Leon Kass" (University of Chicago Press, 2004)
9. "Eichmann in Athens: Hannah Arendt and the Question of Theodicy"
10. "Metaphysics after 'the End of Metaphysics': Recovering 'the Good' from Heidegger" (focusing on the work of Charles Taylor).
Vogel was a Hannah Arendt Lecturer at the New School and a Sharpe Lecturer in Social Ethics at the University of Chicago. He has delivered invited lectures at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., Northwestern University, Washington and Lee University, Dartmouth College and Trinity College.
Recent lectures include:
1. "Nihilism and the Burden of 'Meaning' in Hannah Arendt's Philosophy" for a panel, "Hannah Arendt and Nihilism," at the German Studies Association (GSA), Louisville, 2011.
2. "Finding our Place When We're Lost in Space: Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt and Nihilism," University of Kentucky Philosophy Department speakers' series, 2011.
Vogel is married to philosopher/psychotherapist Carol Freedman. They are the parents of Max and Gabriella Vogel-Freedman and live in West Hartford.
Visit the philosophy department website.