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Environmental Studies

Jay Odenbaugh

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

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 


Spring 2018 Courses:

PHIL 217: Emotion, Evolution & Express
 TTH 9:40am - 11:10am

Introduces students to philosophy through a specific theme or topic. Students investigate how philosophy is represented and enacted in a specific area as well as by participating in its enactment. Possible topics include philosophy and existentialism, philosophy and Latin America, philosophy and literature, philosophy and race, gender, class.

Prerequisites: None.


PHIL 315:  Philosophy of Science
TTH 1:50pm - 3:20pm

Issues concerning scientific knowledge and its epistemological and ontological implications from the perspective of history and practice of the natural sciences, such as explanation, testing, observation and theory, scientific change and progress, scientific realism, instrumentalism.

Prerequisites: PHIL 101 and PHIL 250. PHIL 102 or one course in the history of philosophy sequence (PHIL 301 through PHIL 307) recommended.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.



“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