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Environmental Studies

Jay Odenbaugh

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

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J.R. Howard Hall

 “Philosophy in its best moments is about instilling intellectual accountability. As William James noted, ‘a great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.’ To understand our beliefs and values is important not only for intellectual reasons but for deeply practical reasons. Beliefs and values have effects — some beneficial and some not. It thus is of profound importance to be responsible for one’s view of the world and my teaching is first and foremost an attempt to bring students to understand and respect that responsibility.”

I graduated with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Calgary in 2001. My research interests include the history and philosophy of science (especially ecology and evolution), metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. In the history of philosophy, I am especially fascinated by the American pragmatists and their descendants.

Besides philosophy, I enjoy reading about about art and art history, rock climbing, hiking, cycling, and playing 


Fall 2017

PHIL 215: Philosophy and the Environment
MWF 1:50-2:50

Investigation of philosophical questions about our relationship to the environment. Topics include the value of individual organism, species, ecosystems; the concepts of wildness and wilderness; aesthetics of natural environments; and the relationship between ecological science and environmental policy. 

PHIL 451: Philosophy Study: History of Philosophy: American Pragmatism 
MWF 10:20-11:20

Advanced study of movements and philosophers discussed in 300-level history of philosophy courses. May be repeated with change of topic.


“True Lies: Robustness, Realism, and Models,” Philosophy of Science, forthcoming.
“Buyer’s Beware: Robustness Analyses in Economics and Biology” (with Anna Alexandrova) Biologyand Philosophy, forthcoming.
“Consensus, Climate, and Contrarians” Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, forthcoming.
“This American Life,” Ethics, Policy & Environment, Vol. 13, Issue 4, forthcoming.

Academic Credentials

Ph.D. 2001 University of Calgary, M.A. 1996 Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, B.A. 1994 Belmont University


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