Category Archives: Personal – Academic

Letter From A Former Student

The pansy, a symbol of freethought.

After my recent post, “Outgrowing Religion,” I received the following from Jason, a former student who I admittedly do not remember. (I’ve taught approximately 10,000 students over a 30-year career.) Let me say that I have seldom been so moved by a correspondence. Continue reading Letter From A Former Student

A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Preface

When I consider the brief span of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, now rather than then.
~ Blaise Pascal


Wandering around my backyard when I was about 7 or 8 years old I climbed a small mound behind our garage when suddenly it hit me: “Why is there anything at all rather than nothing?” That is the first philosophical question I ever remember asking—and what a big question it is. I remained inquisitive throughout childhood, especially about religion and politics, constantly badgering my father for answers to my questions. He replied as best he could but eventually I outgrew his answers. Continue reading A Philosopher’s Lifelong Search for Meaning – Preface

Academic Geneology

 My Academic Geneology

I received my Ph.D. in philosophy in 1992, completing my dissertation under the direction of Richard J. Blackwell, who at the time held the Danforth Chair in Humanities at Saint Louis University. He is currently Professor Emeritus.

Professor Blackwell (1929 -) was educated at MIT, (where he studied history and physics) and St. Louis University, where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1954. Later he did graduate work in physics. Continue reading Academic Geneology

Intellectual Heroes

The Thinker – Rodin

It is almost fifty years since my higher education began, and in that time there have been hundreds who have influenced me—most notably Plato and Aristotle, Shankara and Buddha, Epictetus and Aurelius, Hobbes and Descartes, Schopenhauer, Orwell, Piaget. But a few have had a special impact on my thought, and for whom I feel the greatest affinity. All are from the Western philosophical or scientific tradition, the only tradition about which I’m qualified to make good judgments. I list them in the order I encountered their thought. Continue reading Intellectual Heroes

Evolution and Philosophy: Things I Learned From Richard J. Blackwell

Richard J. Blackwell directed my doctoral dissertation at St. Louis University and later wrote the Foreword, “Piaget as a Philosopher,” for my book, “Piaget’s Conception of Evolution.” Continue reading Evolution and Philosophy: Things I Learned From Richard J. Blackwell