Even though ethicists apparently have no claim to being particularly moral, the courses I regularly teach are primarily related to ethics: Contemporary Moral IssuesIntro to PhilosophyBioethicsEthics: 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.

Josh May Teaching Award

EMSAP Teaching Award 2017

Sample Syllabi


Student Resources

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?