- GRADUATE STUDIES
- STUDENT LIFE
Dr. James E. (Jed) Donelan
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities
Ph.D. in Philosophy from State University of New York at Stony Brook, May 1995
Regularly Taught Courses
Personal Statement on Philosophy and Teaching
I pursued my degrees in philosophy because I was always asking myself the big questions, and I thought that life was too important not to ask them. Naturally, I haven’t found any final answers, but I certainly enjoy looking for them with the students of Franklin Pierce University. In my classes I try to provoke a sense of wonder and possibility of what human reason can figure out, as well as a humble respect for what lies beyond our abilities. For the most part, I teach from the classics of the Western philosophical tradition, not because we find final truths embedded in that tradition, but because we can find in that tradition many rich and deeply engaging (if often very flawed) inquiries into the nature of reality and what it means to be a human being. I think it is this last question that concerns me the most: What does it mean to be beings like us? I invite my students to explore this question with me through the lens of Western philosophy.
Socrates Café: I have been working with students since the Fall of 2002 to convene a biweekly Socrates Café, an informal discussion in which students, faculty, and staff grapple with a philosophical question broadly defined. Following models set forth by Marc Sautet in France and Christopher Phillips in this country, our Café has recently addressed such questions as: What is a Philosophical Question? Do We Have an Obligation to Nature? and What is Love? The Café provides a great opportunity for community members from both inside and outside the philosophy program to “think outside the classroom.”
New England Center for Civic Life (NECCL): I am a founding member (1998), past Program Coordinator, and member of the Advisory Council for NECCL. I am drawn to NECCL’s mission of fostering deliberative democracy from my own research interests in deliberative democracy and discourse ethics. I bring the deliberative methods I have learned through NECCL into my teaching, particularly my Ethics class, and I make sure that Ethics students participate in NECCL’s deliberative programming. I am currently taking a lead in NECCL’S Monadnock Initiative for Business and Professional Ethics.