Even though ethicists apparently have no claim to being particularly moral, the courses I regularly teach are primarily related to ethics: Contemporary Moral Issues, Intro to Philosophy, Bioethics, Ethics: Theories of Good and Evil, and Neuroethics. I also occasionally teach seminars that cover current debates at the intersection of science and ethics (e.g., Moral Progress).
A wise philosopher (perhaps Plato?) once counseled against reading comments on the Internet, but some students seem to think my classes aren’t too bad (see RateMyProfessors.com). In 2017, I received the “Outstanding Professor Award” from the students in UAB’s Early Medical School Acceptance Program. They sure earned their $20 bribe.
EMSAP Teaching Award 2017
- Contemporary Moral Issues – Summer 2021
- Intro to Philosophy – Spring 2019
- Bioethics – Fall 2018
- Ethics: Theories of Good and Evil – Fall 2019
- Neuroethics – Spring 2019 (some student comments)
- Honors Intro to Ethics – Fall 2019
- Seminar: Moral Cognition – Monash, 2013, Sem. 1
- Seminar: Moral Psychology – Monash, 2012, Sem. 2
- Intro to Ethics: Life, Death, and Morality – Monash, 2012, Sem. 1
- Philosophy of Mind – Monash, 2011 & 2012
- Intro Phil: Time, Self, and Mind – Monash, 2011 & 2012
- Moral Psychology – UCSB, Winter 2009
- Critical Thinking – UCSB, Winter 2010
- Freedom & Determinism – UCSB, Spring 2010
- Metaphysics – UCSB, Summer 2009
- Grading Rubric for Paper Assignments (PDF) – how I grade essay assignments.
- How to Do Well in a College (Philosophy) Class – by Matt McCormick.
- Philosophy Basics – some of the basics for those just getting into philosophy.
- How to Construct an Essay – guidelines for writing an essay/paper (primarily in the humanities).
- Writing in Philosophy – guidelines for how to write essays/papers in the discipline of philosophy.
- Philosophy Paper Writing Guidelines – detailed guide from CSUS.
- Sample Philosophy Paper – by Angela Mendelovici (Western Ontario).
- Philosophy Help – more resources for students of philosophy.
- Philosophy Links – links to various philosophy-related websites.
- UAB Philosophy Club – open to all, including non-Philosophy majors.
Happiness & Mental Health
I’m not a credentialed therapist, but I do have training in philosophy and neuroscience. For mental and brain heath, I highly recommend the following rules. I wish I had appreciated them much earlier in life, not only to avoid mental unwellness but to promote overall wellbeing.
- Exercise regularly, especially outdoors and ideally out in nature.
- Get ample and consistent sleep. (If you feel sleepy during the day, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.) Ideally, you most often go to bed and rise around the same time every day to set your body on a rhythm.
- Eat healthy unprocessed foods that will rot if you leave them on the counter for days. (I follow Michael Pollan’s uncomplicated advice: “Eat [whole] foods, not too much, mostly plants.”) This likely requires learning how to cook.
- Read Stoic and Buddhist philosophy (even current popularizations of them). And study modern practices inspired by their time-honored wisdom, such as meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy (which you can learn without a therapist).
- Make a deliberate effort to find healthy meaning and purpose in your life outside of school and work. Family, friends, hobbies, philosophy, and religion can all fit the bill, especially if they involve in-person activities with others that help you feel part of a community (even if you’re an introvert).
Why Be a Philosophy Major?
- That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket. Forbes (2015).
- Major in a Minute: Philosophy – video from Georgia State University.
- What Can I Do with This Major? – Philosophy edition.
- Why Study Philosophy? – a list of good reasons that may apply to you.
- Why Study Philosophy? – video by John Corvino at Wayne State University.
- Why Study Philosophy? – webpage by Phil Dept at USC.
- Why Study Philosophy? – pamphlet PDF by UMSL.
- Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return On Investment – Forbes.
- Is Philosophy the Most Practical Major? – article at The Atlantic.
- Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life And in Work – New York Times.
- Careers; Philosophy Majors in Demand – New York Times.
- The Benefits of Being a Philosophy Major – blog post by Katrina Sifferd.
- GRE Stats by Major – philosophy majors tend to do well; a post at Discover Magazine.
- In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined – New York Times.
- Who Studies Philosophy? – celebs and other notables, by the APA.
- Study the Humanities – a toolkit with info on majoring in humanities disciplines.