Rutgers University (Philosophy)
Unversity of Missouri (Master's)
I have five years teaching experience from the University of Missouri, three as a teaching assistant (six semesters total) and two as an independent instructor of record (four semesters total). As a teaching assistant I attended the same lectures as the students and used the material presented there to conduct three weekly discussion groups of over twenty students each. The goal of these discussions was to review the material, to facilitate retention, and to encourage students to probe the material so that they might develop the inquisitive autonomy which I take to be central to excelling in philosophy. Additionally, my role as a teaching assistant required me to grade all assignments, including papers, for which I provided extensive comments on drafts. As an instructor of record I had all the responsibilities of a teaching assistant in addition to designing and conducting the lectures for the entire course. As a teaching assistant I was associated with an introductory logic course twice, general introduction to philosophy three times, and introduction to ethics twice. As an instructor of record I taught general intro, intro to ethics, intro to logic, and intro to bioethics. In addition to this I have extensive undergraduate and graduate-level familiarity with philosophy of religion, political philosophy, metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, and philosophy of language. My particular area of expertise (i.e. the topic area of my MA papers and dissertation work) is in the intersection of epistemology and value theory (often called moral epistemology).
I feel that the key to doing well in philosophy is to develop an understanding of the basic methodology. This may seem obvious but, in my experience, it is very often unexamined in all but the most specialized of graduate courses. Too often students are taught to memorize particular arguments and objections without any focus on why those arguments, instead of others, are being looked at or how the given objections are meant to undermine the positions being presented. I believe that if a student is taught the basics of logic and argumentative structure which underlie all analytic philosophy the particular details of the course they are taking fall much more easily into place. It is by focusing on the nature of evidence and argumentation in the abstract that people become competent philosophers; the rest, at least to a great degree, is little more than simple memorization and practice. Of course, being a great philosopher also requires some ingenuity and originality of thought, but even that comes much more easily when you can see the pattern of the reasoning and know how to spot the missing pieces of an argument. I have five years teaching experience from the University of Missouri, three as a teaching assistant (six semesters total) and two as an independent instructor of record (four semesters total). As a teaching assistant I attended the same lectures as the students and used the material presented there to conduct three weekly discussion groups of