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Philosophy Summary

Friday, 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
“Logic-as-Math: How we managed to get PHIL 2303 into the MCC Core Curriculum in the MATH area”
Dr. Kent Hoeffner, Professor of Philosophy, McLennan Community College

Friday, 12:10 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.
“Systematic Teaching of Systemic Ethics”
Dr. Mark G. Curtis-Thames, Head of Philosophy and Religion Department, El Centro College

Saturday, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
“The Rise of the Superhero, and the Decline of the Republic”
Dr. Jack O’Connor, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, North Central Texas College


Friday, February 24th, 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Logic-as-Math: How we managed to get PHIL 2303 into the MCC Core Curriculum in the MATH area

Being able to include a course in Logic in the Math curriculum has been a dream of mine for years.  The changes to the course description and learning objectives in PHIL 2303 by the THECB seemed to provide an opportunity for doing just that.  I would like to share our story—the multi-year process—with others who have a similar hope.  Perhaps doing so will provide Philosophy Departments at other colleges across Texas with a template as to how to proceed.

Dr. Kent Hoeffner, Professor of Philosophy, McLennan Community College

Dr. Kent Hoeffner, McLennan Community CollegeDr. Kent Hoeffner has been a member of the MCC community since January of 2002, first as director of the Liberal Arts Division and then as an full-time professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies.  He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University (1979), a Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Seminary (1982), and a Ph.D. in philosophical theology from Southern Seminary (1990).  In recent years,  Kent has co-authored a textbook for McGraw-Hill Higher Education for use in INRW courses entitled Commonplaces: Integrated Reading and Writing. Outside of his work responsibilities, he stays busy in the roles of husband, dad, and diehard Dallas Cowboys fan!


Friday, February 24th, 12:10 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

“Systematic Teaching of Systemic Ethics

Contemporary normative theory is scattered amidst multiple theory families. Aristotle, Kant, Levinas, Mill, and Locke are among the canonical figures invoked for virtue, deontological, care, consequentialist, and contractarian approaches. MacIntyre, Rawls, Virginia Held, Singer, and Habermas are some notable thinkers among the many recent and current figures in these traditions. Some attempts to reduce or otherwise combine theories have been undertaken, notably by Scanlon and Parfit. In this paper, I introduce an alternative way of synthesizing the normative ethical theories, using a variant of social systems theory. I outline how such an approach might be operationalized into a normative decision-making tool. Lastly, I make a couple of suggestions as to how, while maintaining faithful witness to the diversity of ethical work today, and while meeting the state’s objectives for PHIL 2306, one might teach an integrated approach to ethical living such as “systemic ethics” is intended to be.

Dr. Mark G. Curtis-Thames, Head of Philosophy and Religion Department, El Centro College

Dr. Mark G. Curtis-Thames, El Centro CollegeMark has taught at El Centro since 2006. He received the doctorate under supervision of Charles Bambach at UTD in 2004. His area of specialization is synthetic moral approaches to social and political philosophy; areas of competence include philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. He considers the analytic-Continental divide obsolete, and reads Habermas, Searle, Kierkegaard, Appiah, Nagel, Sallis, Berkeley, Nussbaum, and Peirce. He is also co-coordinator of El Centro’s honors program. His wife works in restorative justice; and he has two adult children.


Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.

“The Rise of the Superhero, and the Decline of the Republic”

This article looks at the phenomenal popularity of the Superhero franchise in recent decades in the United States.  It argues that a cultural preoccupation with the “superhero spectacle” is a symptom of the decaying republican values of self-sufficiency and political compromise.  Using Plato’s Republic, Ludwig Feuerbach, Immanuel Kant, as well as accounts of the History of Ancient Rome, it describes that the more our zeitgeist is centered on the fantastical celebrity as our hero, the more it habituates us away from the belief that we can solve our own problems.  Hence, it appeals to a political narrative of “strong men” like Pompey and Julius Caesar, preparing the way for the emergence of the tyrant.  As the prominence of the superhero rises in American culture, the prominence of republican values recedes.

Dr. Jack O’Connor, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, North Central Texas College

Jack O'Connor, North Central Texas CollegeDr. Jack O’Connor got his Ph.D. in the History of Ideas from the University of North Texas, and Masters degrees in Philosophy and Humanities from the University of Dallas.  His undergraduate degree in in History from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.

 

 

 

 

Philosophy Section Chair:
Kenneth Bass, Central Texas College