Current Students | Philosophy | SIU

Southern Illinois University



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Current Students

In an effort to keep this page from becoming ungainly, the webmaster has decided to confine it to active students. There are several other students presently working outside the department on their dissertations. Anyone who is interested in knowing more about them and their endeavors, feel free to contact the Office Support Specialist.

Office hours can be viewed HERE.

David Antonini

B.A. - Political Science and Philosophy; Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

I am currently working on a dissertation which focuses on Hannah Arendt and the challenges that modernity poses to engaging in meaningful political experience. I aim to show how her thought can overcome such challenges and provide an idea of what meaningful political experience looks like. My other interests in include the history of political philosophy in general, with an eye towards understanding how the concept of "nature" each thinker works with informs their political thought. Additionally, I have an enduring interest in Kant, existential thinkers, and ethics.

John August III

B.A. - Drake University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Pragmatism, Philosophy of Science, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of History – especially Narrativism and how it might relate to Pragmatic theories of knowledge. I also enjoy reading existential and phenomenological projects as well as others included in the Continental tradition.

Andrew Barrette

B.A. - University of Wisconsin - Platteville
M.A. - Loyola Marymount University

Phenomenology and the German retrieval of the Ancients.

Jaclyn Berg

B.A. - University of North Dakota

My primary areas of focus are in social, political, and ethical philosophies, although I am also interested in feminist philosophy and environmental philosophy. I enjoy reading Nietzsche, Sartre, De Beauvoir, Foucault, and many others, but the authors I am most drawn to are Marx, Weil, and, more recently, Alain Badiou whose "Ethic of Truths" I am particularly attracted to. I am especially concerned with the effects of capitalism and consumer culture on concepts of ethics and human rights.

Eric Bruce

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Kevin Cales

B.S. - Radford University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

As of now, Kevin’s primary interests are phenomenology, hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, Gadamer, Plato, and those who are referred to as the Pre-Socratics. To be candid, Kevin is trying to find his way about the world, and has been for as long as he has been able. He may not have many convictions, but he is convinced that life leads one to philosophy. He shares Gadamer's conviction that, “… Philosophy is a human experience that remains the same and that characterizes the human being as such, and that there is no progress in it, but only participation” (Hans Georg Gadamer. 1986. The idea of the good in Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Juan Alejandro Chindoy

Bachelor -  Philosophy and Letters, Universidad de Caldas, COLOMBIA
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Interests: I like moral and political philosophy discussions. Among my favorite writers are George Orwell, Oscar Wilde and Isaiah Berlin.

John Cohan

B.A. - Grand Valley State University
M.Phil - Fudan University

Aaron Darrisaw

B.A. - Georgia Southern University
M.A. - Reformed Theological Seminary

My central area of research is in 20th century French thought; especially the philosophies of Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy. I'm interested in developing a theory of political subjectivity, drawing upon the insights of these thinkers. 

I have additional research interests in Critical Theory (esp. Adorno) and Marxist theory.

David Denenny

B.A. - Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Matthew Donnelly

B.A. - University of Notre Dame
M.A. - Boston College

Lois Eldrige

A.A. - Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA
B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Johnathan Flowers

B.A., B.S. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My primary areas of interest are Japanese Aesthetics as a mode of relating lived experience and affectivity as well as Japanese Buddhist doctrines of experience and ethics. I am further interested in Chinese Confucian traditions taken up in Japanese Neo-Confucianism particularly through Wang Yangming, Mencius, and Chu His. I also seek to place the work of John Dewey in conversation with East-Asian Aesthetics and concepts of lived experience to develop a fuller notion of the aesthetic that is not divorced from “ordinary experience.”

As of late, I have also become more interested in Phenomenology (through Merleau-Ponty) as a way of discussing race (specifically authenticity and identity politics), gender, sexuality, and neurodiversity. I am chiefly interested in the way societies and institutions are organized around some bodies as a “default” which results in the expulsion of other bodies from the social space.

Andrew Gillespie

B.A. - McKendree University - Lebanon, IL
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Areas of Specialization: Africana Philosophy, Philosophy of Economics, Social and Political Philosophy

Areas of Competence: Applied and Theoretical Ethics, Logic, Ancient Greek and Roman Culture and Philosophy, American Pragmatism, Critical Theory

David Gray

B.S. - Northern Illinois University

While I'll always have an affinity for Kant, my current interests are in phenomenology, especially regarding time (Husserl) and value (Scheler). I am particularly interested in the constitutive dimension of the person, as it relates to emotive horizons and the symbolic value of deeds and expressions.

Ryan Grumberg

B.A. - James Madison University - Harrisonburg, VA
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Since having moved to SIU my interests have increasingly shifted to the relationship between Americanists and those in the early Continental tradition. Thinkers of note would include: Emerson, James, Royce, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Heidegger. Perhaps someday I'll understand Hegel, too. In a negative sense, I have ongoing affinities with anyone confronting physicalistic reductionisms broadly construed, e.g., those found in scientistic 'Philosophy's of Mind,' etc. In contradistinction to these, I think of myself as championing those waving the flags of: pluralism, emergentism, process, and the sort of naturalism that existed before folks thought neuroscience was a defining feature thereof.

Bethany Henning

B.A. - North Central College
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My current research is in pragmatist aesthetics and inquires into the links between the qualitative and affective dimensions of aesthetic experience. My dissertation seeks to trace a conception of the unconscious at work in American philosophy, the most productive articulation of which is found in Dewey's metaphysics and aesthetics. I use musical experience to explore the intersubjective, qualitative, affective, and embodied dimensions of meaning.

My Masters thesis argued from a reading of Kristeva's Tales of Love that there is more semiotic richness to an imaginary realm that is founded on the acoustic rather than the visual image.

AOC: Feminist Philosophy, Phenomenology, Ancient Philosophy, Ethics

Emily Humbert

B.A. - Sacred Heart University
MAT - Sacred Heart University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Interests: Feminist Philosophy, Race and Philosophy of Education.

Caleb Ingram

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale (English Literature & Philosophy)

Research Interests: History of Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Counter-Enlightenment, Romanticism, Existentialism, Personalism, and Lebensphilosophie.

Jared Kemling

B.A. - Bradley University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My dissertation seeks to expand the philosophy of symbolic forms (following Ernst Cassirer) by introducing phenomenological personalism (e.g., Marcel and similar). Specifically, I develop Marcel’s concept of “creative fidelity” as an “idea of the personal.” I argue that philosophical anthropology that is limited to Cassirer’s vision has underestimated a vital path by which humans make meaning—the way that we “personalize” our cultural world. To account for this personalized horizon, I outline a distinct symbolic form of culture, rooted in creative fidelity as a symbolic function, on par with the symbolic forms of language, myth, and objectivating knowledge. Of special interest are the ontological and phenomenological aspects of moral experience.

A.O.S. 19th and 20th Century European Philosophy, American Philosophy, Moral Philosophy

A.O.C. Phenomenology, Philosophical Anthropology, Personalism, Aesthetics, Process Philosophy

Micah Klareich

B.A. - Pitzer College (Honors Philosophy and Media Studies)
M.A. - University of Copenhagen (Philosophy with Specialization in Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind)

My primary research is on the tripartite distinction between static, genetic, and generative phenomenology as well as how these scopes of phenomenological analysis may facilitate dialogue across disciplinary lines particularly with philosophy of mind, descriptive and developmental psychology, and cultural and historical sociology. An overarching and recurrent theme throughout my work is to provide a structural (static), developmental (genetic), and historical (generative) account of the co-constitutive relationship between self, other, and world (subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and lifeworld). I'm also deeply interested in the structure and dynamic of (inter)personal revelation and sociocultural revolution as embodied in and enacted through the transvaluative process.

Eli Kramer

B.A. - Johnston Center for Integrative Studies of the University of Redlands with an emphasis in "Wandering Philosophy-an approach to learning."
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My research interests spread across European and American Idealism, Process Philosophy, Early American Philosophy, Modern European Philosophy, Philosophy of Culture, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of History, and Philosophical Anthropology. I have a particular interest in the history and philosophy of higher intellectual institutions (such as universities, colleges, academies, and academic monasteries).

Cheongho Lee

B.A. - Seoul National University, Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
M.A. - Seoul National University, Seoul, SOUTH KOREA

Interests: C. S. Peirce in general, Josiah Royce's absolute pragmatism, C. I. Lewis's conceptual pragmatism, and synthesizing them into the middle not disqualifying their core implications especially with regard to temporality and a consistent source of normativity.

Andrii Leonov

B.A. — Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Dnipro, Ukraine)
M.A. — Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Dnipro, Ukraine)

For now, my philosophical interests include philosophy of mind, phenomenology, Descartes’ philosophy, as well as various philosophical translation issues.

Donnie McMann

B.A. - University of California Riverside
M.A. - Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Areas of Specialization: Kristeva, French Feminist Theory, Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, Marxism, Critical Theory, Queer Theory, Philosophy of Psychiatry, Philosophy of Psychology, Cats, Psychopathology, Addiction,Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression/Melancholia.

Areas of Competency: Buddhism, Taoism (esp. Chuang Tzu), Hinduism, Philosophy of Mind, German Idealism, History of Continental Philosophy, History of Analytic Philosophy, and Applied Ethics.

I am working at the intersections of (generative) phenomenology and psychoanalysis through the work of Julia Kristeva.
Broadly speaking my current projects are oriented around an attempt to bring the person's symbolic world and lived experience back into our understanding of issues in mental health/illness, now as the necessary starting point for psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. This fits into an emerging critical theory of the development and significance of contemporary psychopathology, recognizing both its tragic missteps in and its contributions to helping those suffering within issues of mental health, be it neurosis or psychosis. I find that a key factor in understanding these issues is affective resonance, and the ability to bring something from one's abyss up into the light of representation.

Jeffrey Morrisey

B.A. - University of King's College
M.A. - Institute for Christian Studies

German Idealism, Phenomenology, History of Philosophy.

Les Murray

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

My interests in Philosophy currently include Ancient Philosophy, the History of Philosophy (especially the History of the Philosophy of Science, Math, and Medicine), Philosophy of Science, Environmental Philosophy (especially Environmental Ethics), Philosophy of Economics (especially related to sustainability), Metaphysics, Asian Philosophy, and Pragmatism. I plan to practice philosophy, grow as a person, and exchange Philosophic ideas with other curious souls.

Philip Powe

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL

My interests are Continental Philosophy (esp. Kant and Schopenhauer), History of Philosophy, Ancient Greece (Aristotle), Foucault and Nietzsche. I hold an MA in Philosophy from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an MA in German Intellectual History from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. I am also interested in the History of Philosophy.

My current research is on the Will. I am also interested in Foucault's view of Power.

I am a life long resident of Southern Illinois, growing up in East St. Louis, and working as a local and state historian, as well as an archeologist. When I am not doing coursework or studying, I am either fishing or hunting. The one thing I do enjoy as much as philosophy is cooking and baking. Attending SIU has been a dream of mine since I was a small child and to finally have that dream come true is an outstanding feeling.

Robert Robbins

B.A. - The Catholic University of America (Philosophy)

I am open to a broad area of philosophical interests and experiences, but I do have an interest in aesthetics, particularly in studying justifications for objective values of the beautiful in literary and musical art.

I am a husband, father of four, and practicing catholic, relationships which form and inform my philosophical understanding and worldview. I am also an avid though amateurish practicing classical guitarist. And I have even been known to jot down a line or two of verse once in a while.

Michael Russo

B.A. - St. John's University, Queens, NY
M.A. - SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY

Ebraheem Safabakhsh

B.A. - University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
M.A. - University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
M.A. - New School University, New York, NY

For someone who is fascinated with the process more than achieving the outcome, it is quite hard to determine in a definite way the area of his studies. I am even scared of being determinate in this regard due to the possible losing of the chance for being open to other sources of philosophical inspiration. Having said this, I must say that my philosophical upbringing has been in phenomenology, mainly Husserl’s and Heidegger’s, and secondly, Merleau-Ponty’s and Levinas’s. Delving into the French school of phenomenology began to turn my attention to the way French philosophers have integrated Hegel’s phenomenology into the Husserlian and Heideggerian modes of phenomenology. The project, therefore, arising from my studies in New School for Social Research is an attempt to get to the distinctive character of French phenomenology due to its neighboring with the then prevalent Hegelianism of figures like Kojѐve, Koyre, Wahl and Hyppolite. Finally, the last strike in my path since I started my studies at Southern Illinois University has been the encounter with almost neglected philosophy of Josiah Royce, a strike so unexpected and unprecedented that I should admit that his account of time is way more penetrative and insightful than that of Husserl’s or Heidegger’s.

Joseph Smith

B.A. - Kutztown University
M.A. - Union Theological Seminary

Jessica Soester

B.A. - Texas A & M University
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Social and political philosophy, philosophy of economics, phenomenology, Classical American Pragmatism. My current research is on Marx's concept of "freedom," particularly focusing on the embodied and social dimension of freedom. Other research interests include the intersection of philosophy and geography (the production of space, the right to the city), education and pedagogy, participatory aspects of freedom, the capabilities approach.

Scott Sparrow

B.A. - Salisbury University - Salisbury, MD
M.A. - Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

My research focuses on German Idealism (especially Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit), the history of ethical thought, and contemporary work concerning trust. Of particular concern to me is the possibility of an ethics informed by Hegel's theory of recognition and the critiques it levels against other forms of ethical and moral philosophy. In line with that concern, I am about to embark on a dissertation entitled "Absolute Dependence and Trust: How the Self achieves Moral Status." Also of notable interest to me are Ancient Skepticism, Early Modern rationalist metaphysics, Social Contract theory, and theories of perception.

Amy Stewart

B.S. - Psychology, Kennesaw State University
M.A. - Gender/Cultural Studies, Simmons College

Amy Stewart is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy as well as an instructor for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she specializes in continental feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis, and philosophies of gender, race, and sexuality. Her dissertation project, which engages and integrates Lacanian and Kristevan psychoanalysis, explores the imaginative albeit unsettled embodiment of transgender liminality in order to cultivate a queer ethics of intimate revolt. Amy regularly teaches courses on gender and sexuality studies and has offered a special topics course on transgender histories, identities, and politics; she has also taught courses on queer studies, critical theory, and existential philosophy. As an active interdisciplinary scholar, Amy has organized academic conferences on feminism and philosophy, developed curriculum for gender studies programs and anti-racism civic engagement projects, indexed manuscripts on psychoanalysis and literature, and served on numerous committees advancing progressive LGBTQ campus policies. At Simmons College, where she completed her M.A. in Gender/Cultural Studies, she was appointed as the first Hazel Dick Leonard Research Fellow on Gender. Amy’s research has been presented at over 30 national and international conferences and her writings appear in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, as well as the volume New Forms of Revolt: Essays on Kristeva’s Intimate Politics.

Kevin Taylor

B.A. - Eastern Illinois University (Philosophy)
M.A. - Southern Illinois University (Philosophy)
M.A. - University of Illinois (East Asian Languages and Cultures)

Research Interests: East Asian Religions, Buddhism, Japanese Studies, Environmental Philosophy, Environmental History, American Pragmatism, Comparative Philosophy

Ethan Traman

B.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. - Southern Illinois University Carbondale

I am primarily interested in the faculties and reflection, imagination, and historical sensitivity. Academically, my interests range from virtue ethics to mysticism, both metaphysical and spiritual in the latter case.

Matthew Williams-Wyant

B.S. - Towson University
M.A. - American University

Areas of Research: Phenomenology, Existentialism, Indian Buddhism and Classical Chinese Philosophy. My primary focus within these traditions centers on epistemology, specifically the generation of meaning and the question of evidence. I am currently working on my dissertation on the role of adversity and cliché in the generation of sense and meaning in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. Additional interests include the role of praxis and self-cultivation in one's engagement with philosophy and in the world. To what extent is the study of philosophy a means of learning how to breathe?