Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

It’s a truism that philosophy is a conversation. Still, I find this metaphor a useful organizing principle for my pedagogy. As a result of my classes, I want students to be in a position to contribute insightfully and appropriately to the ongoing, global philosophical conversation. In teaching, I emphasize understanding the context of one’s interlocutor, whether another person or a text. This pedagogical approach also grounds my commitment to a diverse learning environment, which has been shaped through a varied history of teaching experience as well as my research in Indian philosophy.

Current Teaching

2018 Fall/Sem 1: Philosophy and Political Thought (PPT), Pt 1

  • Common Curriculum course for first-year students which introduces great works from Chinese, Greco-Roman, and Indian intellectual traditions up to the medieval period. Topics covered include what makes the good life, what it is to be human, what the self is or might be, how it is that we know, what constitutes good government. (1000 level)

2018 Fall/Sem 1: Classical Indian Philosophy of Language

  • What do we mean when we speak, and how do we understand those meanings? Explore these questions along with Indian thinkers who were concerned with understanding language in sacred texts, poetry, and everyday speech. We will discuss what words mean, how metaphor works, and how we can use language to do so much: learn things, insult people, make arguments, tell stories, imagine fictional worlds, and more. (3000 level)

2019 Spring/Sem 2: Philosophy and Political Thought (PPT), Pt 2

  • Common Curriculum course for first-year students which introduces great works from Chinese, Greco-Roman, and Indian intellectual traditions beyond the medieval period. Topics covered include what makes the good life, what it is to be human, what the self is or might be, how it is that we know, what constitutes good government. (1000 level)

2019 Spring/Sem 2: Debate and Reasoning in Indian Philosophy

  • What does good reasoning look like? What does it aim for? How should we argue with our opponents? Nyāya, a tradition within Brahminical Indian philosophy, presented and defended sophisticated methods of reasoning and norms for debate that are still being studied today. In this course, we focus on sections of the Nyāya-sūtra (Aphorisms on Reasoning) in translation and its early commentaries, along with selections from other Indian texts. Not only will we consider methods and norms, but we will look at how Indian thinkers a put them into practice in arguments on topics such as the existence of God. (3000 level)

Other Courses

2019 Fall/Sem 1: Slurs, Insults, and Hate Speech: Pragmatics of Pejoratives

  • Some words are insulting and considered unacceptable to utter, and others words are derogatory yet acceptable at least in some contexts. Some words even seem to be able to cause material harm to individuals or groups. How can we account for these phenomena and what should we, as language-users do about it? This course will focus on the pragmatics of pejoratives, the philosophical study of disparaging speech. We will focus especially on disparaging racial and gendered speech, known as "slurs" or, broadly "hate speech." [Note: this course focuses exclusively on the contemporary analytic tradition of philosophy.] (3000 level)

2017 Fall/Sem 1: Doing Things with Words

  • With a system of sounds and marks, human beings are able to share knowledge, coordinate actions, prompt emotional responses, and make things like marriages and names come into existence. This course will consider what both Sanskrit and Anglophone philosophers have to say about speech acts. We will start with Mīmāṃsā, known as the “science of sentences”, and think about how commands and exhortations work. We will then turn to J.L. Austin’s seminal How to Do Things with Words, which introduced speech act theory to Anglophone philosophy. The course will close with some contemporary attempts to integrate Mīmāṃsā and speech act theory. (4000 level)

2017 Spring/Sem 2: Syllabus: Analogical Reasoning & Metaphor

  • What do we mean when we speak, and how do we understand those meanings? Explore these questions along with Indian thinkers who were concerned with understanding language in sacred texts, poetry, and everyday speech. We will discuss what words mean, how metaphor works, and how we can use language to do so much: learn things, insult people, make arguments, tell stories, imagine fictional worlds, and more. (300 level)