Teaching

While teaching at Indiana University Kokomo, York University, Houghton College, George Brown College, and the University of Missouri St. Louis, I have taught students from different cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds, as well as academically gifted, challenged, and non-traditional students. I have taught large, small, and online courses. I have taught in a program specifically designed for adult students. My goal in teaching is to create a space in which we can all have a conversation and search for truth, regardless of background, by requiring that we all support our claims with arguments.

I am a member of the American Association Philosophy Teachers and in last year I have learned much about best practices and pedagogy from Indiana University’s Center for Teaching a Learning. I have altered my teaching at the lower-level to include more group-work, focusing on close-reading skills and argument reconstruction. I head up all things philosophy at Indiana University Kokomo, including the Philosophy Club, Philosophy Minor, and adjunct hiring and training.

In my lower-level courses, I lecture using PowerPoint, which allows me to incorporate video clips into class. I begin every class with two review questions. Every class session has at least some group work. Usually this focuses on close reading of a short passage of the text, but other activities include: developing objections to an argument, applying an ethical theory to a short clip from The Office,  developing and presenting a defense of one of three positions on personal identity, and work-shopping peer papers.

I treat my upper-level courses as seminars. I create detailed handouts of the reading with discussion questions, but rather than give my student this completed handout, I delete parts (an objection here, an argument there). In class, we work together to fill out the handout as we discuss our own objects. These handouts have helped focus discussion and encourage student participation.

Send me an email if you would like sample syllabi or teaching evaluations (joshuamugg@gmail.com).

Areas of Teaching Competence: Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, Logic, Philosophy of Science (especially psychology), Philosophy of Religion, and Applied Ethics

Courses I have taught:

Metaphysics: A topical course on contemporary metaphysics. We cover the nature of properties, substance versus buddle theory of particulars, time, causality, and free will.  (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2016)

Problems of Ethics: Racism: This course is divided into three parts: 1) two weeks on the metaphysics of race, 2) six weeks on critical race theory (two books, one by Appiah, one by Mills), and 3) six weeks on contemporary psychological work on implicit racism (readings from Saul and Brownstein). (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2016)

Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Science: A survey of central theories and problems within contemporary philosophy of science. We begin with logical positivism and the question of realism and demarcation. We then closely read Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Polanyi’s Tacit Knowledge. The topics is the nature of scientific explanation. As an application of the nature of scientific explanation, we consider science and religion, and how these two areas should interact. Finally, we consider natural kinds. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2016)

Introduction to Philosophy of Mind: An introduction to metaphysical theories about the relationship between the mind and body. We examine Descartes’ mind-body dualism as well as 20th century theories including: behaviorism, the identity theory, machine and causal functionalism, instrumentalism, eliminativism, and emergentism. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2016, York University, Fall 2014)

Introduction to Ethics: We begin with metaethical questions (constructivism, relativism, egotism, sentimentalism, realism, etc.) by considering the ‘why be moral?’ question. Then we turn to normative ethics, focusing on utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics. Finally, we look at contemporary moral psychology. Throughout the course we use classical and contemporary readings. (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2015)

Introduction to Philosophy: A topical introduction to philosophy from both classical and contemporary readings covering logic, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and normative theory (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, George Brown College, Fall 2013)

Introduction to Philosophy (Online): A topical introduction to philosophy from both classical and contemporary readings covering logic, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and normative theory (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2016)

Critical Thinking: An introduction to deductive and inductive reasoning in natural language, focusing on argument identification, valid forms of inference, and formal and informal fallacies (George Brown College, Fall 2013).

Personal and Professional Ethics: This course teaches students the basics of normative theory and then focuses on the application of these norms in a business and consumer setting (Houghton College, Fall 2013, Spring 2014).

  • Note: This is a five-week night class for non-traditional students in an accelerated degree program. The class meets once each week for four hours.

Business Ethics Online: This online course on the philosophy of work focuses on how four virtues (truth, goodness, unity, and beauty) apply in the workplace and to the concept of work (Houghton College, Spring 2014, Summer 2014).

Business Ethics: This online course introduces students to three major normative ethical theories: Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics, and then focuses on the application of these theories in a business setting (University of Missouri St. Louis, Summer 2008).

 

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