Steven Fesmire is Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Green Mountain, and he chairs the philosophy program. He is the author of Dewey (Routledge Press, 2015), winner of a 2015 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. He is also the author of John Dewey and Moral Imagination: Pragmatism in Ethics (Indiana University Press, 2003), winner of a 2005 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. He is editor of the Oxford Handbook of Dewey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017) and is preparing a manuscript titled Beyond Moral Fundamentalism: Pragmatic Pluralism and Ecological Imagination in Ethics and Education. He was a 2009 Fulbright Scholar at Kyoto University and Kobe University in Japan, a 2015-16 Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College, and a 2016 Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He will be on leave during 2017-2018 as Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Middlebury College.
The principal social role of philosophy (literally “friendship with wisdom”) is to interpret, critique, and redirect the beliefs, values, and prejudices of one’s time and place. It is a privilege and delight to join students in such reflections in the context of Green Mountain College’s lively sustainability mission.
Vermont poet David Budbill captures something of my affection for this state: “There is solitude and quiet, a kind of modesty in the landscape, an unassuming grandeur.” I love the intensity of Vermont’s seasons. I am a cross-country skier in winter; a gardener, hiker, and canoer in summer; a ‘leaf-peeper’ in autumn; and a doting dad year-round.
Dr. Steven Fesmire’s primary interests include ethics (theoretical and practical, including environmental and animal ethics), the history of American philosophy (including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and pragmatists such as William James, Jane Addams, and John Dewey), social and political philosophy, and theories of imagination and metaphor.
Information about Dr. Fesmire’s book Dewey (Routledge, 2015) can be found here: http://www.greenmtn.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/flyer.Feb-2016.Dewey1_.Routledge.pdf A recent article by Dr. Fesmire titled “Democracy and the Industrial Imagination in American Education” was published in Education and Culture: Vol. 32: Issue 1 (2016): 53-62. The article builds on an op-ed Dr. Fesmire penned for The Chronicle of Higher Education (link here) in which he criticized an increasingly dominant educational model in which education is approached primarily as a way to fuel industry with skilled labor. The full article in Education and Culture can be read here: democracy-and-the-industrial-imagination-in-american-education6
A May 2017 public philosophy contribution to The Conversation on the topic of “moral fundamentalism” can be read here.
In addition to an interdisciplinary background in Environmental Studies, my disciplinary specializations include the American philosophical tradition, moral philosophy (including theoretical and practical ethics), and theories of metaphor and imagination. My book John Dewey and Moral Imagination: Pragmatism in Ethics (Indiana University Press, 2003) focused on developing a philosophical psychology of wise deliberation. I took, and continue to take, a distinctly pragmatic approach to ethics, aesthetics, politics, moral education, and moral conduct. Highlights of the book included an extended analysis of jazz improvisation as a metaphor for social intelligence and democratic imagination.
Among current research projects, I am the author of Dewey (Routledge, 2015), a comprehensive introduction to the American philosopher and educator John Dewey (1959-1952) in the Routledge Philosophers series. I am also editor of the Oxford Handbook of Dewey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017), which will contain 37 invited chapters by leading international scholars. The Handbook’s aim is to help readers access particular aspects of Dewey’s thought and navigate the rapidly developing literature so that they can participate in current scholarship. Although Dewey is the most cited academic philosopher of the twentieth century, his leadership among professional philosophers had faded by the time of his death in 1952. By the 1960s Dewey and other classical American pragmatists such as Charles S. Peirce and William James were dismissed among most mainstream Anglophone philosophers. What was of enduring worth in the classical pragmatists was then presumed to have been fully incorporated into a purportedly more exacting approach that emigrated from Central Europe. However, exponential growth of interest in Dewey during the past three decades is producing a highly articulated framework for clarifying and extending the achievements of contemporary philosophy while urging at the same time that philosophy’s recent past is not the best guide to its future.
My manuscript-in-process—Beyond Moral Fundamentalism: Pragmatic Pluralism and Ecological Imagination in Ethics and Education—widens my prior focus on interpersonal interaction to sweep in the imaginative simulations we use to deliberate about complex systems: climate, ecosystems, economic systems, food systems, legal systems, cities, governmental institutions, and inter-governmental institutions. I argue that educational institutions must do a better job helping youths to see beyond simple relations of consumers to commodities if we are to respond to an economic scene in which expanding affluence sanctifies the innocence of consumers—an innocence purchased by ignorance of the environmental and social hazards posed by our “business as usual” behaviors. The concept of “ecological imagination” is at the center of this research. As part of this work, I was a 2009 Fulbright Scholar at Kyoto University and Kobe University in Japan, where I taught classes and pursued a cross-cultural study of ecological imagination through the lenses of the “Kyoto School” of modern Japanese Philosophy (e.g., Nishida Kitaro) and American pragmatism (e.g., Charles Peirce, William James, Jane Addams, and John Dewey).
During a Fall 2015 sabbatical, I wrote several essays and op-eds critiquing the now-dominant industrial model in American education. I also explored Dewey’s relevance for contemporary environmental pragmatism, as revealed in the important work of philosophers such as Bryan Norton, Andrew Light, Erin McKenna, Paul Thompson, Lisa Heldke, Heather Keith, Anthony Weston, Ben Minteer, and many others. Most people tend to suppose that their own formulation of a problem, such as global climate change or the ethics of eating animals, has precisely captured and exhausted what’s morally relevant. In this way we unfortunately predefine what’s morally relevant, and we covertly prejudge alternative formulations. Too often competing camps risk antagonism toward excluded standpoints, closure to being surprised by the complexity of situations and systems, neglect of the context in which decisions are made, and a related general indifference to public processes and integrative values.
My current research includes work on two articles. The first is on metaphysics and epistemology. I develop Dewey’s insight in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938) that any theorizing we do (in science, philosophy, law, policy, etc.) is well understood as mapping. This leads to:
- 1. rejection of purely detached standpoints (and assertion of the inescapability of selectivity and choice at every level of inquiry),
- 2. a pragmatic (or functional–operational) sense of truth that requires action (and rejection of truths as preexisting correspondences between mental symbols and external states of affairs), and
- 3. the provisional nature of symbolic constructions (and rejection of final truths and all-encompassing systems).
The second article develops Dewey’ pluralistic, democratic, and experimental ethical theory as a way of dealing with multi-dimensional problems, including urgent problems that Bryan Norton (e.g., Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change, 2015) helpfully characterizes as “wicked.” I argue that our chief obstacle to conscientious citizenship in pluralistic democratic societies is moral fundamentalism, a term used by Mark Johnson in Morality for Humans (2014). I define moral fundamentalism as a disposition to act as though there is a single right way to deal with moral problems and hence a single theoretically correct (“TC”!) formulation of, or approvable solution to, any particular moral or political problem. A result is that, instead of mutually transformative dialogue, every discussion begins with a foregone conclusion. I begin the article with six key insights in Dewey’s pragmatist ethics, emphasizing the last three as most distinctive:
- 1. naturalistic emphasis on the embodied context of moral action,
- 2. avoidance of extreme forms of moral skepticism and moral particularism,
- 3. recognition that any situation may have a moral dimension,
- 4. recognition that moral uncertainty is usually justified,
- 5. that this uncertainty arises in part from conflicts between plural sources of moral action to which reasonable moral agents ought to pay attention, and
- 6. that moral fundamentalism should be rejected in both its popular and technically sophisticated forms.
Dewey’s approach is to reconstruct competing blanket principles of ethical theory so that they can be better used as deliberative tools. He hypothesizes in “Three Independent Factors in Morals” (1930) and the 1932 Ethics that each of the three primary Western ethical systems (represented for him by Aristotle, Kant, and Adam Smith & David Hume, respectively) expresses a basic spring or root of moral life (expressed in the concepts of Good, Duty, and Virtue, respectively). Each brings moral life wholly within the scope of its own monistic principle. For example, in his richly engaging book The Most Good You Can Do (2015), utilitarian ethicist Peter Singer conceives an act to be moral insofar as it does the most good. The difficulty here is that each primary system misses, at least at the theoretical level, the inherent and irreducible conflicts between underlying root forces in moral action. Meanwhile, complex problems of contemporary pluralistic democratic societies demand that we gain a practical footing informed by conflicting claims that tug us in incompatible directions. Dewey’s pluralistic ethical approach suggests a way to gain a more practical footing for dealing with tangled local, bioregional, and global problems so our lives can become healthier, more just, and more sustainable.
Green Mountain College, Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies, 2012-present [at GMC since 2002]
Middlebury College, Visiting Professor of Philosophy, 2017-2018
University of Edinburgh, Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2016
Dartmouth College, Visiting Scholar in Philosophy, 2015-2016
Middlebury College, Winter Term Instructor, 2016
Kyoto University, Fulbright Professor, 2009
Kobe University, Fulbright Professor, 2009
Green Mountain College, Assistant and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies, 2002-2012
Siena College, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 2000-2002
Dartmouth College, Visiting Scholar in Philosophy, 1999-2000
East Tennessee State University, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 1995-1999
Areas of Specialization
American Philosophy (18th century to the present, especially Pragmatism, including neglected voices); Moral Philosophy and Ethics (theoretical and applied, including Environmental Ethics and Animal Ethics); Social and Political Philosophy; Theories of Imagination and Metaphor; Environmental Philosophy
Selected Areas of Strong Teaching Competence
16th-18th Century European Philosophy; Philosophy of Language; Aesthetics; Ancient Greek Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; East-West Comparative Philosophy (especially 20th century Japanese); Logic; Philosophy and Literature; Philosophy of Education; Philosophy of Food & Agriculture
Postgraduate: Summer Institute in American Philosophy, Burlington, VT: July 1998-July 2002, July 2004
Ph.D., 1994, Philosophy, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
M.A., 1992, Philosophy, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
B.A., 1990, Philosophy, Millsaps College, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Selected Teaching Experience and College Service
Middlebury College, 2016 Winter Term Instructor
The Pragmatists and Environmental Pragmatism
Green Mountain College, 2002-present, Professor (undergraduate and graduate)
Faculty leader of GMC semester at Brunnenburg Castle, Südtirol, Italy, February 28-May 31, 2012; Topics in Social & Political Philosophy (election years in fall), Senior Seminar in Philosophy (alternating with other GMC Philosophy faculty), Animal Ethics (alternating with Heather Keith); Environmental Ethics (every year); Ethical Theory (periodic); Aesthetics (periodic); Contemporary Food Movements (MSFS, alternating with other faculty); Philosophy of Science (alternating with William Throop); Dimensions of Nature (GMC sophomore core course in the history and philosophy of science, every spring); Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1 credit, team-taught); Environmental Philosophy (MSES and undergraduate, alternating with other faculty); Business Ethics (periodic); Topics in Ancient Philosophy (every three years); Topics in Modern Philosophy (every three years); Topics in 19th-21st Century Philosophy (alternating with other GMC faculty); Independent Studies (1-3 per term); frequent internship advising, teaching practicums, and senior thesis supervision
Kyoto University, April 2009-August 2009, Fulbright Professor
Environmental Ethics; Ningen [human being] and Kankyō [environment] in the Philosophies of William James and John Dewey
Kobe University, April 2009-August 2009, Fulbright Professor
Agency and Environment in American Pragmatism and Japanese Philosophy (co-taught with Kazashi Nobuo)
Siena College, 2000-2002, Visiting Assistant Professor
American Philosophy; Environmental Ethics; Introduction to Philosophy (frequent); Ethics; Philosophy of Nature
East Tennessee State University, Fall 1995-Fall 1999, Assistant Professor
Ethical Theory; History of Modern Philosophy (frequent); Humanist Philosophy; “Philosophy as Conversation”; First-Year Honors Philosophy; Critical Thinking/Logic (frequent); Philosophy of Language; American Philosophy; Introduction to Ethics; Undergraduate Philosophy Forum
Selected Green Mountain College Service
Philosophy Program Chair, 2002-2008, 2011-Present (on sabbatical fall 2015)
Chair of the Faculty, 2006-2008
Faculty Council Executive Board, Ombudsperson, 2014-2016
Vice Chair of the Faculty, 2005-2006
Faculty Council Executive Board, 2005-2008, 2014-2016
Environmental Studies Committee, GMC, 2002-present
Environmental Studies Department Chair, 2003-2008
Fulbright Campus Representative, 2010-present
International Programs Coordinator, 2014-2015
International Programs Committee, GMC, 2002-2013
Animal Studies Interim Program Director, 2013-2014
Animal Conservation & Care, Chair of ad hoc committee for design of new major, Spring 2014
Animal Studies minor, principal author of proposal for minor, 2010-2011
Progressive Program Committee, GMC, 2003 to present
Promotion and Contract Renewal Review Teams, GMC (most years since 2002)
NEASC Accreditation Steering Committee, 10 year review, Spring 2004-Fall 2005
NEASC Accreditation Subcommittee on Physical and Financial Resources, Co-Chair, Spring 2004-Fall 2005
M.S. in Environmental Studies Committee, Spring 2005-2008
Exploratory group for GMC Asian Studies Minor, Spring 2004-Spring 2006
Oxford Handbook of Dewey, Editor (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017).
Dewey (Routledge, 2015), Routledge Philosophers series; winner of a 2015 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. Chinese and Japanese translations in preparation.
John Dewey and Moral Imagination: Pragmatism in Ethics (Indiana University Press, 2003); winner of a 2005 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” award. Also in Chinese translation with Peking University Press, American Pragmatism Study Series (2009)
Beyond Moral Fundamentalism: Pragmatic Pluralism and Ecological Imagination in Ethics and Education (in preparation).
Selected Refereed Articles and Book Chapters
“Pragmatist Ethics and Climate Change,” in Moral Theory and Climate Change: Ethical Perspectives on a Warming Planet, ed. Ben Eggleston and Dale Miller (Routledge, forthcoming 2018), in preparation.
“Dewey’s Pragmatic Pluralism in Ethics: Independent Factors in Morals,” in Oxford Handbook of Dewey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017), in preparation.
“Introduction,” in Oxford Handbook of Dewey, ed. Steven Fesmire (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017), in preparation.
“Educational Values: Schools as Cultures of Imagination, Growth, and Fulfillment,” in John Dewey’s Democracy and Education: A Centennial Handbook, ed. Leonard Waks and Andrea English (Cambridge University Press, May 2017).
“Democracy and the Industrial Imagination in American Education,” Education & Culture, Vol. 32, no. 1 (2016), 53-62. democracy-and-the-industrial-imagination-in-american-education6
“Useful for What? Dewey’s Call to Humanize Techno-Industrial Civilization,” Pragmatism Today: The Journal of the Central-European Pragmatist Forum, Vol. 7, no. 1 (2016), 11-19.
Steven Fesmire, Philip Ackerman-Leist, and David Ondria, with Deirdre Murphy (Culinary Institute of America), “We Are What We Think About What We Eat: Raising the Veil that Separates Us From Our Food,” Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, Vol. XXIII, no. 2 (2013), 117-129, 183-186.
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education, East and West.” Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 9, No. 1 (June 2012), 205-222.
“Ecological Imagination and Aims of Moral Education through the Kyoto School and American Pragmatism.” In Paul Standish and Naoko Saito, eds., Education and the Kyoto School of Philosophy: Pedagogy for Human Transformation (Springer, 2012).
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education, East and West.” In Hugh McDonald, ed., Pragmatism and Environmentalism (New York and Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012); reprinted from Contemporary Pragmatism (2012).
“Not Alone on the Third Plateau: Animals in American Pragmatism.” The Pluralist. Vol. 6, no. 3 (2011).
“Ecological Imagination in American Pragmatism and the Kyoto School,” Annales Philosophici 2
(Summer 2011, 20-34) (Romanian Journal of Philosophy)
“Ecological Imagination.” Environmental Ethics. Vol. 32, no. 2 (Summer 2010), 183-203.
“Cultivating Ecological Imagination: John Dewey and Contemporary Moral Education,” Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 9, no. 2 (2005).
“Our Place in the Cosmos: Faith and Belief in Contact,” co-authored with Heather Keith, in Movies and the Meaning of Life (Open Court Press, April 2005).
“Dewey and Animal Ethics,” in Animal Pragmatism: Rethinking Human Nonhuman Relationships, edited Erin McKenna and Andrew Light (Indiana University Press, 2004).
“Ecological Humanism: A Moral Image for Our Emotive Culture,” in Moral Soundings: The Crisis of Values in Contemporary Life, edited by Dwight Furrow (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); reprinted in revised form from The Humanist (2001).
“Ecological Humanism: A Moral Image for Our Emotive Culture,” The Humanist 61, no. 1 (January/February 2001).
“Philosophy Disrobed: Lakoff and Johnson’s Call for Empirically Responsible Philosophy,” in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 14, no. 4 (2000/2001).
“Morality As Art: Dewey, Metaphor, and Moral Imagination,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 35, no. 3 (1999).
“A `Primer’ in Conceptual Metaphor for Counselors,” co-authored, Journal of Counseling and Development 77, no. 4 (1999).
“The Art of Moral Imagination,” in Dewey Reconfigured: Essays on Deweyan Pragmatism, edited by Casey Haskins and David Seiple (SUNY Press, 1999).
“Rediscovering the Moral Life.” Review Article of James Gouinlock, Rediscovering the Moral Life, in The Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (March 1998).
“Remaking the Modern Mind: William James’s Reconstruction of Rationality,”Southwest Philosophy Review 14, no. 2 (1998).
“The Social Basis of Character: An Ecological Humanist Approach,” in Ethics in Practice, edited by Hugh Lafollette (Blackwell Press, 1997).
“Dramatic Rehearsal and The Moral Artist: A Deweyan Theory of Moral Understanding,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 31, no. 3 (1995).
“Educating the Moral Artist: Dramatic Rehearsal in Moral Education,” in Education and The New Scholarship on Dewey, edited by Jim Garrison (Kluwer Press, 1995); reprinted from Studies in Philosophy and Education (1994/95) 13, nos. 3-4 (1994/95).
“What Is `Cognitive’ About Cognitive Linguistics?” Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 9, no. 2 (1994).
“Aerating the Mind: The Metaphor of Mental Functioning As Bodily Functioning,” Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 9, no. 1 (1994).
“Embodied Reason,” Kinesis 20, no. 1 (1993).
Encyclopedia Articles, Book Reviews and Dictionary Entries
Review article of Bryan Norton, Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change, in Environmental Ethics (forthcoming 2017).
“Environmental Pragmatism,” co-authored with William Throop, in America Goes Green: An Encyclopedia of Eco-Friendly Culture in the United States (ABC-CLIO, November 2012).
“Valuation,” in The Encyclopedia of American Philosophy, John Lachs and Robert Talisse, eds. (Routledge, 2007).
“Dramatism,” in The Encyclopedia of American Philosophy, John Lachs and Robert Talisse, eds. (Routledge, 2007).
“Joseph Alexander Leighton,” co-authored with Heather Keith, in The Biographical Encyclopedia of British Idealism, William Sweet, ed. (Thoemmes/Continuum Press, 2007).
“Thomas Vernor Smith,” co-authored with Heather Keith, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Richard T. Hull, ed. (Thoemmes Press, 2005).
“Joseph Alexander Leighton,” co-authored with Heather Keith, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Richard T. Hull, ed. (Thoemmes Press, 2005).
“De Witt Henry Parker,” co-authored with Heather Keith, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Richard T. Hull, ed. (Thoemmes Press, 2005).
“Henry W. Stuart,” co-authored with Heather Keith, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Richard T. Hull, ed. (Thoemmes Press, 2005).
“William Kelley Wright,” co-authored with Heather Keith, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, Richard T. Hull, ed. (Thoemmes Press, 2005).
Review of Eugene Taylor and Robert Wozniak, eds., Pure Experience: The Response to William James, in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 34, no. 1 (1998).
Review Article of Giovanna Borradori, The American Philosopher, in Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy Newsletter, Summer 1994.
Review of Giovanna Borradori, The American Philosopher, in Kinesis 20, no. 2 (1994).
Op-Eds (selected reviewed op-eds since 2006)
“Helping Student Activists Move Past ‘Us vs. Them’,” The Conversation, May 3, 2017 (link here)
“Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Campus Illiberalism as Moral Fundamentalism,” APA Blog, April 13, 2017 (link here); Republished May 12, 2017 as an article in The Key Reporter: Phi Beta Kappa, Voices and Ideas (link here)
“Education Must Broaden Growth of Social Infrastructure,” Education Week, January 20, 2016 (link here)
“Is Religion to Blame?” Vermont Sunday Magazine, Rutland Herald/Times Argus Op-Ed Commentary, December 13, 2015 (link here)
“What We Lose When We Treat Education Like an Industrial Sector,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 2, 2015 (link here)
“Mission of Schools: Human Growth,” Rutland Herald Op-Ed Commentary, September 3, 2015 (link here)
“Education and the Industrial Model,” Blog post, Diane Ravitch’s blog, June 26, 2015 (link here)
“Is Religion the Problem?” Burlington Free Press, Op-Ed Commentary, January 29, 2015 (link here)
“Is Religion the Problem? It Depends.” UU Humanists blog, January 22, 2015 (link here)
“What Dewey Teaches Us,” Vermont Sunday Magazine, Rutland Herald/Times Argus Op-Ed Commentary, November 23, 2014 (link here)
“Beyond the Circular Firing Squad: Pragmatist Dietary Ethics and Animals,” Farm Foundation AgChallenge2050 blog, September 17, 2013 (link here)
“A Durable and Humane Future for Animal Husbandry,” Animal Welfare Approved Winter 2012/2013 Newsletter, 10-11 (link here)
“An Ethos of Responsibility,” Rutland Herald Op-Ed Commentary, November 7, 2012 (link here)
“Did Changing Climate Cause Warm Winter?” co-authored with John Van Hoesen, Rutland Herald Op-Ed Commentary, March 29, 2006 (link here)
“Election Analysis: Competing Systems of Moral Values,” Rutland Herald Op-Ed Commentary, November 10, 2004
Selected Video/Film, Radio, Interviews
Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Edition guest (one hour show), How John Dewey Changed the World, October 13, 2015 (listen)
Interview on Dewey, with Routledge Press / Taylor & Francis (2014) (link here)
Dewey Center, University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln), twelve video interviews on the philosophy of John Dewey (filmed 2007) (link here)
Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Edition guest (one hour show), Animal Cruelty, November 18, 2009 (listen)
Ecological Imagination (book manuscript in process)
“The Scottish Enlightenment Roots of Sympathetic Imagination in American Pragmatism” [Research supported by a 2016 Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh]
“Sympathetic Imagination and Moral Psychology in the Novels of George Eliot”
“Dewey’s Denotative-Experimental Method as Mapping: Inquiry, Representation, and Truth”
“Ecological Imagination through Slow Food” (revision of “Immaginazione morale e etica responsabile”)
Some recent works available online
The Journal of the Central-European Pragmatist Forum, Vol. 7, no. 1 (2016), 11-19.
Selected Paper Presentations at Professional Conferences (US and International)
Refereed (see below for non-refereed presentations)
“Three Independent Factors in Morals: Implications for Democratic Education,” New England Philosophy of Education Society, Symposium on New Perspectives on John Dewey and the Democratic Education Project, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, October 22, 2016 (to be presented).
“Introducing Dewey,” Author Meets Critics: Steven Fesmire’s Dewey, Respondent to James Campbell and David Hildebrand, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Portland, OR, March 2016.
“Democracy and the Industrial Imagination in American Education: The Living Ideas in D&E,” John Dewey Society’s Centennial Celebration of Democracy and Education, Washington, D.C., April 7-8, 2016.
“Beyond the Industrial Model in American Education,” American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division meeting, John Dewey Society, Democracy and Education at 100: Lessons for Today, January 6-9, 2016, Washington D.C.
“Erin McKenna’s Pets, People, and Pragmatism: Animals in Pragmatist Ethics,” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Author-meets-critics session, Grand Rapids, MI, March 5-7, 2015.
“Ecological Imagination in American Pragmatism,” Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World, Estes Park, Colorado, July 2013.
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education, East and West,” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Spokane, Washington, March 10-12, 2011.
“Ecological Imagination,” Beijing University of Foreign Studies, China, December 2009 as part of “Dewey’s Second Mission: A Dialogue between Deweyan Pragmatism and Confucianism.”
“Ecological Imagination: American Pragmatist Resources for East-West Dialogue on Healing and the Arts,” Sogang University Conference on Spirituality, Healing, and the Arts, Sokcho, South Korea, June 2009.
“Ecological Imagination in the Kyoto School of Philosophy and Classical American Pragmatism: Citizenship Education in Japan and the U.S.,” International Network of Philosophers of Education (INPE), Kyoto University, August 9-12, 2008.
“Jonathan Edwards and Ecological Imagination,” Jonathan Edwards and the Environment, Northampton, MA, October 2007.
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education,” Society for Human Ecology, Bar Harbor, ME, October 2006.
“Imagination and Human Flourishing: Cognitive Science, Metaphor, and Ethical Deliberation.” Society for Empirical Ethics, Marlboro College, VT, November 2003.
“Pragmatism and Animal Ethics.” Penn State University, Conference Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of John Dewey’s Death, October 2002.
“Dewey and Animals: Pragmatism, or Paleopragmatism?” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, University of Southern Maine, March 2002.
“Imagination in Pragmatist Ethics.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Las Vegas, NV, March 2001, winner of Mellow Prize for Best Paper Advancing American Philosophy.
“John Dewey and the Renascence of Moral Imagination.” Northern New England Philosophical Association, University of New Hampshire, October 2000.
“Imagination and Pragmatist Ethics.” American Philosophical Association, Central Division meeting, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, April 2000.
“Ecological Humanism: A Moral Image for Our Emotive Culture.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, University of Oregon, February 1999.
“The Metaphor of Morality As Art.” Tennessee Philosophical Association, Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University, November 1997.
“William James’s Critique of Objectivist Rationality.” Intermountain Philosophy Conference, Western Carolina University, October 1996.
“Morality As Art.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Bentley College, Boston, MA, March 1995.
“Dewey and the Moral Artist.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Rice University, Houston, TX, March 1994.
“Dewey’s Theory of Deliberation as Dramatic Rehearsal.” Mid-South Philosophy Conference, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, February 1994.
“John Dewey’s Dramatic Rehearsal and the Moral Thinker As Artist.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, March 1993.
“William James’s Reconstruction of Rationality.” Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, March 1992.
“Aerating the Mind: The Metaphor of Mental Functioning As Bodily Functioning.” Washington University National Graduate Philosophy Conference, St. Louis, MO, October 1991.
“Reasonableness.” Mississippi Philosophical Association, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS, April 1990.
Selected Invited Conference Presentations (including keynotes, plenaries, etc.)
“Mapping the Terrain of Moral Action,” Science, Pragmatism, and Value, a conference in honor of Philip Kitcher, Columbia University, February 24-25, 2017.
“Three Independent Factors in Morals and Dewey’s 1932 Ethics,” International Workshop on the Dewey-Tufts Ethics, University of Massachusetts at Boston, October 20-21, 2016.
“Ecological Imagination and Pluralism in Ethics and Education,” Keynote presentation; Education, Social Justice and Democracy: Critical Issues in 21st Century Education (A conference in celebration of the Centenary of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education), University of Edinburgh, Scotland, June 17, 2016.
“Public Philosophy Workshop: Following Dewey’s Example Today,” co-presenter with Eric Thomas Weber, John Dewey Society’s Centennial Celebration of Democracy and Education, Washington, D.C., April 7-8, 2016.
Respondent to Philip Kitcher, Casey Haskins, and Todd Lekan. Author Meets Critics session for Steven Fesmire’s Dewey, American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division meeting, Society for the Philosophy of Creativity, January 6-9, 2016, Washington, D.C.
“Beyond the Industrial Model in American Education,” American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division meeting, John Dewey Society, Democracy and Education at 100: Lessons for Today, January 6-9, 2016, Washington D.C.
“Dewey’s Denotative-Experimental Method as Mapping: Inquiry, Representation, and Truth,” New England Pragmatist Forum (inaugural conference on John Dewey), Green Mountain College, October 15-17, 2015.
“Mapping our Milieu: Experimental Simulation in John Dewey’s Philosophy,” plenary presentation, American Philosophy Forum, Rissho University, Tokyo, Japan, June 27-28, 2015.
“Dewey’s Ethics: Concepts for a Pluralistic Society,” Hitotsubashi University, Conference on Applied Ethics and Dignity, plenary presentation, Tokyo, Japan, June 29, 2015.
““Mapping Our Ecological Milieu,” Embodying Philosophy: Embodied Meaning, Mind, and Value conference to honor Mark Johnson, University of Oregon, April 24-25, 2015.
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education,” plenary presentation, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB), New College, Oxford University, UK, March/April 2012.
“Ethical Issues Facing Animal Agriculture,” Plenary Speaker, Farm Foundation Roundtable, Mobile, Alabama, January 11, 2013.
“Animals in American Pragmatism,” Coss Dialogues panelist, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Spokane, Washington, March 10-12, 2011 (with psychologist Roger Fouts, director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University)
Commentaries on papers in environmental ethics, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Michigan State University, March 2008.
“Ecological Imagination: American and Asian Philosophies of Nature.” New York Pragmatist Forum, Fordham University-Lincoln Center, May 18, 2007.
Commentaries on papers in bioethics and environmental ethics, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (SAAP), San Antonio, Texas, March 2006.
“Ecological Imagination in Dewey’s Ethics.” Sino-American Conference: 2005 International Symposium on the Contemporary Significance of Dewey’s Thought, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, May 23-26, 2005.
“Pragmatist Ethics: Theory and Practice.” Invited two-day seminar leader and presenter, Summer Institute in American Philosophy, University of Oregon, July 2004.
“Redirecting American Culture.” Green Mountain Philosophy Conference, Poultney, VT, October 2003.
“Environmental Pragmatism at Work.” Plenary session presenter and organizer, SAAP, University of Colorado at Denver, March 2003.
“Contemporary Theories of Imagination.” American Philosophical Association-Eastern Division, Society for Philosophy of Creativity, Philadelphia, PA, December 2002.
“Justice in a Time of Crisis: The Response of American Philosophy.” Panel presentation, American Catholic Philosophical Association, SAAP group meeting, Albany, NY, November 2001.
“Beyond Consuming Desires: On Bill McKibben’s Environmental Ethic.” Coss Dialogues panelist with Bill McKibben, Andrew Light, Larry Hickman, and Paul Thompson, SAAP, Las Vegas, March 2001.
“Dewey’s Ethics: A Response to Critics.” Symposium on John Dewey. North/South Carolina Philosophical Association, Columbia, SC, February 1998.
“Aesthetics and Everyday Life.” SAAP, Albuquerque, NM, March 1997 (commentary on papers in aesthetics).
“Embodied Reason.” Joint Presentation with Mark Johnson. Philosophical Collaborations Conference, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, March 1993.
2004-2016 Selected Invited Recent Professional Presentations (see above for invited conference presentations)
“Rescuing Democracy from Moral Fundamentalism: How Moral Certainty is a Roadblock to Sustainability,” Husson University, Bangor, ME, Husson Symposium on Ethics, Plenary Speaker, February 6, 2017
“Dewey, Experience, and Imagination,” faculty member for National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-funded 2016 Summer Institute “Moral Psychology and Education: Putting the Humanities to Work,” Grand Valley State University, early June 2016 (to be presented/facilitated).
“Value Theory in the Philosophy of John Dewey,” Kobe University, Japan, June 25, 2015.
“Psychology of Ecological Imagination: A Case Study of Environmental Education at Green Mountain College,” Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University, Japan, July 2009.
“Ecological Imagination and the Power of Metaphors,” Kobe University, Faculty of Letters, Japan, April 2009.
“Ecological Imagination: Pragmatic Pluralism in Ethics,” University of Vermont, Environmental Ethics Lecture Series, February 12, 2008.
“The Moral Politics of Climate Change,” Green Mountain College, Focus the Nation lecture, January 31, 2008.
“Ecological Imagination: Inspiration and Education.” Keynote Address, Unity College’s Inspired Speaker Series, Unity, ME, January 2007.
“Sustainable Dining at a Liberal Arts College.” Terra Madre: International Gathering of Food Communities, Turin, Italy, October 2006 (with Philip Ackerman-Leist and Heather Keith).
“Campus Sustainability.” Co-presenter, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH, May 23, 2006.
“Ecological Imagination in Moral Education.” Kyoto University, Japan, Graduate School of Education, November 2005.
“Conservation: Preserving Our Living Landscape.” Invited panelist for the National Association of Conservation District’s 2004 Northeast Regional Meeting, Burlington, VT, August 2004.
“American Philosophy and Environmental Ethics.” Kwansei Gakuin University, School for Policy Studies, Sanda, Japan, June 2004.
“American Philosophy and Environmental Ethics,” Kwansei Gakuin University, School for Policy Studies, Sanda, Japan, June 2004 (Heather Keith, co-presenter)
SELECTED INVITED COLLOQUIA AND COMMUNITY PRESENTATIONS (abbreviated to exclude Skype visits and class visits)
“Philosophy and Food,” Burlington Public Philosophy week, April 4, 2017, Study Hall, Burlington, VT (sponsored by the University of Vermont, organized by Tyler Doggett)
“Moral Politics of a Social Movement: The Food Movement,” GMC Honors Forum, April 11, 2017
“Growing Beyond Moral Fundamentalism: Pragmatic Pluralism in Ethics and Politics,” Unitarian Universalist Church, invited speaker, Rutland, VT, December 4, 2016.
“Rescuing the Sustainability Movement from Moral Fundamentalism” GMC Faculty Colloquium, October 26, 2016.
“John Dewey’s Lessons for the Liberal Arts College,” GMC Faculty Colloquium, February 2014.
“The ‘Problem’ of Freedom vs. Determinism,” Agora Philosophy Club, Green Mountain College, November 2013.
“What is the Meaning of Life?” Agora Philosophy Club, Green Mountain College, October 2012.
Animal Ethics & the Dining Hall community forums, Fall 2012, Green Mountain College (facilitator).
“Sustainability Philosophy: Why Ecological Imagination Now?” Solarfest, Thriving Locally Tent, July 21, 2012, Tinmouth, VT
“Does God Exist?” Agora Philosophy Club, Green Mountain College, February 2011.
“A Fulbrighter in Japan: Ecological Imagination and Moral Education in the Kyoto School of Philosophy,” Green Mountain College (GMC), Faculty Colloquium, April 2010.
“Experiences at Terra Madre.” GMC, Faculty Colloquium, April 2007, co-presenter
“Experiences in China.” GMC Faculty Colloquium, November 2006, co-presenter.
“How Metaphors Kick Your Writing Around the Block.” Horace Greeley Writer’s Symposium, GMC,October 2004.
“Writing as Process.” Horace Greeley Writer’s Symposium, GMC, January 2004.
“John Dewey and Moral Imagination.” GMC faculty colloquium, October 2003.
“Got Reason? Animals and Ethics.” GMC faculty colloquium, February 2003.
“Pragmatist Animal Ethics.” Siena College, Philosophy Colloquium, April 2002.
“Dewey’s Social-Political Philosophy.” Siena College, Honors Ethics forum, November 2000.
“Moral Imagination and Pragmatist Ethics.” Siena College, Philosophy Colloquium, November 2000.
Institute for Continued Studies, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), “How Metaphors Shape Our Lives” and “What is Secular Humanism?” October and November, 1998.
“The ‘Horizon’ of William James” and “Deweyan Moral Education.” Departmental Philosophy Forum, ETSU, April and September 1996.
“A Functional Definition of `Families’.” Lambda Society Forum, ETSU, April 1996.
Agora Philosophy Forum, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, three presentations, 1991-93.
Selected Honors, Awards, and Recognitions
Elected a 2016 Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Executive Board, John Dewey Society, 2017-2020
Dewey awarded a 2015 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title”
Dewey, October 2015 highest Choice classification “Essential: All Readers”
Dewey, Routledge’s nominee for a 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award
National Endowment for the Humanities faculty, for NEH-funded 2016 Summer Institute “Moral Psychology and Education: Putting the Humanities to Work,” Grand Valley State University, early June 2016.
Plenary speaker, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, New College, Oxford University, April 2012
Fulbright Scholar grantee, Japan, Kyoto University (京都大学), Combined Lecturing-Research grant, March 2009-August 2009
John Dewey and Moral Imagination awarded a 2005 Choice “Outstanding Academic Title”
Executive Committee, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, 2002-2005
Ila and John Mellow Prize (“best paper advancing American Philosophy”), SAAP, Las Vegas, 2001
President, Tennessee Philosophical Association, 1998
Presidential Grant, East Tennessee State University, 1998
Dissertation Research Fellowship, 1993-94, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Doctoral Fellowship, 1992-93, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Honorable mention for Douglas Greenlee Prize, SAAP, 1992
Second place, Mississippi Philosophical Association Essay Contest, “Reasonableness,” 1990
Ford Foundation Fellowship, Millsaps College, 1989-90
Phi Beta Kappa, Millsaps College, 1990
Summa Cum Laude, with Honors in Philosophy, Millsaps College, 1990
Professional Service (does not include article and book manuscript reviews for journals and presses)
Membership and Offices in Professional Associations (partial list)
American Philosophical Association
Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (1991-present): Executive Committee (2002-2005); Program Committee (2002-2004)
John Dewey Society: Executive Board (2017-2020); Board of Advisers of the John Dewey Society’s The Journal of School & Society (2015-2020), JDS Awards Committee (2015-present)
Phi Beta Kappa Society (1990-present)
International Society for Environmental Ethics
New England Pragmatist Forum (co-founder and first convener)
National and Regional Professional Conferences Organized
New England Pragmatist Forum, first convener, Inaugural conference on The Philosophy of John Dewey, Green Mountain College, October 15-17, 2015
Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Program Committee, Birmingham-Southern University, AL, March 2004
Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Program Committee, University of Colorado at Denver, March 2003
Tennessee Philosophical Association, Program Chair, Vanderbilt University, November 1998 (President, Tennessee Philosophical Association, 1998)
Intermountain Philosophy Conference, Program Chair, ETSU, October 1997