Academics > Philosophy & Religion

Philosophy & Religion

The Department of Philosophy and Religion at Coe offers courses designed to lead students to reflect on their views concerning fundamental issues in life and thought. These issues concern the nature of our world; the nature and possibilities of knowledge; and issues concerning the nature of society, values (both moral and religious), faith commitments and the divine.

The Department of Philosophy and Religion houses two distinct programs each offering a separate major with a broad range of course offerings. Class sizes within the Department vary, with most classes limited to twenty students, and enrollment in upper-level courses is generally fewer than fifteen. This small class size permits individualized attention and provides the opportunity for active participation in classroom discussion.

Philosophy & Religion Department Newsletter - Fall 2015

Religion Program News

Newsletter Archive

Fall 2014 (PDF)

Fall 2013 (PDF)

Last year the Religion Program graduated two outstanding majors, Chloe Reichelt and Timothy Salis. Tim is currently the Volunteer Coordinator at Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity. Chloe is ​currently the Aftercare Coordinator at Hoy Recovery Program in Espanola, New Mexico. Additionally, Sam Orvis, who was a physics major and religion minor, is employed full-time as a Medical Scribe in the Emergency department of Allen Hospital in Waterloo, IA.

Meira Kensky received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. She was also awarded an endowed chair, the Joseph McCabe Chair in Religion, as well as a Perrine Grant. The latter funded a summer project devoted to the translation of the Acts of Timothy and research on that and surrounding texts. This past summer she was able to write the bulk of a chapter for her ongoing book project, Isophsychos: The Figure of Timothy in Pauline and Non-Pauline Literature. She will present an abbreviated version of her findings in November at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. The title of her paper will be "Timothy in Ephesus? 1 Timothy, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Acts of Timothy Reconsidered." Assistant Professor of Religion Chris Hatchell received grants from the Pennock Faculty Development Fund as well as the Research and Creative Endeavors Fund. These grants supported his travel to the Menri Monastery, India, this summer. He worked on his translation of the text called the Zermik (gzer mig), which is a biography of Tönpa Shenrab, the founder of the Bon religious tradition. He also collected texts for his electronic edition of this text.

Philosophy Program News

The Philosophy Program graduated five majors last year. These were: Erica Czajka; Patrick Johnson; Joel McGuire; Martha Quist; and James Weeks. We will miss having these students in our classes and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Last spring a couple of our majors presented their work at the annual Midwest Undergraduate Philosophy Conference held at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. Joel McGuire presented a paper in defense of J.L. Mackie's error theory of moral discourse and one of our junior majors, Hannah Gustafson, presented a paper on Kant's response to the Humean critique of metaphysics. Other Coe students in attendance at the conference were: Dane (Shade) Brusuelas-Hannum, Brenna Deerberg, and Erik Franklin. Professor Lemos joined them on the trip. Our students performed well and a good time was had by all.

Shade Brusuelas-Hannum, who is currently a senior major in philosophy and environmental studies, attended a summer workshop for undergraduate women contemplating careers in philosophy. The workshop was held on the campus of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Competition for admission to this program is highly competitive. We were very pleased that Shade applied and was accepted. UCSD paid all of the expenses for her travel and attendance at the workshop.

In the last academic year, Professor Lemos had articles appear in four different academic journals. These were:

"Hardheartedness and Libertarianism" in Philo;
"A Kantian Defense of Libertarian Blame," in Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics;
"Self-forming Acts and the Grounds of Responsibility," in Philosophia; and
"Libertarianism and Free Determined Decisions" in Metaphilosophy.

In the fall of last year, Professor Lemos also attended a free will conference at the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics at the University of Michigan-Flint. The paper he presented there, "A Kantian Defense of Libertarian Blame," was one of the conference papers selected for publication in the Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics. He continued his researches and writings on the free will problem this past summer.

Professor Peter McCormick spent time last summer preparing a new course on philosophy and literature which he would like to teach this coming spring. The course will focus on some of the philosophical themes in classic works of literature. The course will address literary works by Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoevsky, William Golding, and others.

Finally, Professor Jeffrey Hoover was awarded an endowed chair, the Howard Hall Chair. This endowed chair will help fund his academic research projects and travel to conferences.  In recent months Jeff’s research has been focused on accounts of subjectivity and self-awareness and the role embodied experience may play in them. One historical account in particular figures centrally in this research, namely, that of F.D.E. Schleiermacher who originates a theory involving organic bases of awareness in opposition to Kantian and post-Kantian accounts of his day.

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