"Why We Should Require All Students to Take 2 Philosophy Courses."

Colleges should require all students to take two philosophy courses, argues Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in his article in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education. One course would be designed "to equip graduates with a philosophical armamentarium they could draw from - and contribute to - for the rest of their lives," focussing on "the big questions of life:"

  • "Questions of Identity" (Who am I? Who are we?).
  • "Questions of Purpose" (Why are we here? What’s it all for?).
  • "Questions of Virtues and Vices" (What is truth? What is beauty? What is morality?).
  • "Questions of Existence" (What does it mean to be alive, to die, indeed, to be? Or not to be?).

The other would study "how reflective human beings have been asking such questions for millenia, across many cultures and many epochs."


David Brion Davis '50 receives National Humanities Medal

Historian David Brion Davis ’50 (Philosophy), whose career has focused on exploring the problem of slavery in the development of the modern world, was awarded the 2013 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on Monday, July 28, “for reshaping our understanding of history.” Read more in Dartmouth Now.

Critical Theory Roundtable

The 2014 Critical Theory Roundtable, convened by Professor Amy Allen, will be held September 19-21 at Dartmouth College. The roundtable features a keynote address by Axel Honneth (University of Frankfurt/Columbia University) - "The Idea of Social Freedom: On the Intellectual Roots of Socialism" - as well as lectures by philosophers and other scholars from around the world. This event is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Leslie Center for the Humanities. Full schedule (pdf) can be found here. For further information or to pre-register, contact Amy Allen.


Edinburgh visitor: Prof Jesper Kallestrup

Professor Kallestrup specializes in epistemology and the philosophy of language and mind. He will be teaching a course, "Are meanings in the head?" which relates to his recent book Semantic Externalism (Routledge, 2011). Each year, the philosophy department hosts a visitor from the University of Edinburgh, which has one of the top philosophy programs in the UK. Students participating in our FSP get to meet one of their Edinburgh professors as they prepare for their fall quarter abroad.

Philosophy Major Craig Smyser '13 Wins Fulbright

For Houston native Craig Smyser ’13, college meant braving the cold New England winters. A nationally ranked debater in high school, Smyser came to Dartmouth because of its strong debate program and because he liked the community. And the weather? “I figured, I’m tough, I can handle it,” he says with a laugh.

It should be warmer at his next destination: Smyser will head to Turkey as a Fulbright Scholar.

“I really wanted the chance to go abroad, and Turkey is such an exciting place,” says Smyser. “They are an emerging economic power and are in an important strategic location.”

The philosophy major will teach English at the college level. At Dartmouth, Smyser helped to develop and teach a public speaking class at the nearby Ledyard Charter School in Lebanon, N.H., and has worked extensively with the Dartmouth Debate Institute. He has been a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar and has interned with the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, D.C.

Philosophy Professors Win Faculty Awards

Two Philosophy professors have won Dartmouth faculty awards in 2013. Congratulations at Professor Susan Brison, who received the 2013 Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising, and to Professor Adina Roskies, who receieved the 2013 John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty!