We live in a world of daunting and profound questions—What can we truly know? What is our true nature? What is the best way to live? These are questions whose answers require, no doubt, a "liberated logical imagination." Therefore, there may be no better way to search for those answers than to study philosophy at Connecticut College.
The department is known for the breadth of courses it offers, covering the whole long history of philosophy starting from ancient times, as well as both the continental and analytic traditions of contemporary philosophy. Its curriculum also reflects the College's emphasis on interdisciplinary studies with courses that cut across boundaries into the arts, the sciences, religion, environmental studies and more.
Today, the Philosophy Department has five faculty members, known for their range of scholarship and for being accessible, encouraging and challenging teachers.
Lindsay Crawford, a post-doctoral fellow, teaches courses mainly in epistemology, ethics and the history of philosophy. Her research focuses on a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology and ethics, especially questions about whether beliefs can have a moral dimension, and how we should balance epistemic values with personal relationships and commitments.
Professor Simon Feldman’s courses Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Race and Racism and the Divided Self explore some of the metaphysical and ethical implications of having our identities formed in complex social environments. His book, "Against Authenticity," explores what it means to be true to yourself. He also studies the ethical and political value of critical thinking and the liberal arts.
Professor Andrew Pessin teaches a First-Year Seminar on The Idea of God and a wide range of courses in the history of philosophy and in Jewish philosophy. His research focuses on matters of Jewish interest and on topics in the Israeli-Palestinian-Jewish-Arab-Muslim conflict, including how that conflict is manifest on university campuses.
Professor Derek Turner, who is also Associate Director of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, regularly draws students into philosophical discussion of our relationship to the environment. Philosophical issues in historical science, especially paleontology, evolutionary biology, and the earth sciences are the focus of his research.
Professor Lawrence Vogel’s courses wrestle with the issue that first attracted him to philosophy: how to approach questions about meaning in life and the nature of morality without relying on religious solutions. His courses include History of Ancient Philosophy, Existentialism, and others that build bridges between metaphysics and ethics, like Tolerance, Intolerance and the Intolerable and Free Will and Moral Responsibility. He has also taught in the First-Year Seminar program and the Peace and Conflict Pathway.
All of us are eager to share our work with you and to facilitate broad-ranging conversations in the classroom and beyond. For example, philosophy students have the opportunity to join or lead our philosophy club and shape its activities, and to join our Student Advisory Board, which meets with faculty and provides input on the department’s curriculum and programming.