My general approach to teaching is predicated on a single concept: motivation. I aim to help students get intrinsically motivated to learn about philosophy rather than merely instrumentally motivated to receive a good grade or satisfy some course requirement. As much empirical research on learning suggests, students who are intrinsically motivated to learn garner all kinds of benefits, including a deeper understanding of what they learn about, an enhanced ability to transfer their knowledge to other domains, and feelings of enjoyment and emotional investment in their education. In my experience, using intriguing thought experiments as well as real-world examples (prior to introducing philosophical theories) helps to effect a shift in student motivation. Also, showing students how philosophical viewpoints bear on our lives and simply being passionate myself about philosophy seems to help students get excited about it too! Of course there are numerous other ways of helping students get intrinsically motivated to learn, as this is only a sample of what I do, and I am always searching for new and effective teaching methods. So, if you have any ideas, please let me know!

Below is a list of courses I have taught or am currently teaching, excerpts from student evaluations of my teaching, and some details about my involvement in the Ohio State Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp for high school students.

Courses (syllabi available upon request)

Course description:

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are pervasive, as they are now utilized across a wide variety of domains, such as education, finance, healthcare, social media, the military, the legal system, and so on. Moreover, as AI capabilities improve, these systems will likely become increasingly competent at performing many different kinds of tasks in addition to the ones they already undertake, and this will serve to increase their prevalence. Clearly, AI has the potential to make an enormous impact on the world. In view of these considerations, it is crucial to investigate the ethics of this emerging technology, and that is what this course aims to do. We will explore the following ethical issues relating to AI systems: algorithmic bias, data privacy, explainability, mis(dis)information, labor disruption, catastrophic risks, AI policy, and more!

Course description:

In this course, students will be introduced to major ethical concepts and theories, they will critically examine professional codes of ethics, and they will consider a number of contemporary ethical issues in the context of engineering. Students will learn how to competently engage in ethical reasoning, and they will practice that skill by applying it to each of the following topics: whistleblowing, conflicts of interest, cost-benefit analysis, risk and uncertainty, privacy, the problem of many hands, artificial intelligence, and sustainability.

Course description:

In this course, students will be introduced to major ethical concepts and theories, and they will consider a number of contemporary social and ethical issues in the U.S. These will include abortion, animal rights, poverty, gun control, reparations, gender, healthcare, immigration, social media, algorithmic bias, conspiracy theories, and climate change. Students will read and critically examine arguments relating to these issues, and they will learn how to apply their own ethical reasoning to them.

Course description:

Some philosophers claim that if there is no afterlife, our lives are meaningless; all of our efforts are hopelessly and absurdly pointless. Nothing we do in life, according to these authors, can have any genuine significance. Others are far less pessimistic and argue that even without an afterlife, our existence can be meaningful. They claim that things like achievement, happiness, and engaging in valuable projects can give meaning to our lives. In fact, some philosophers even contend that death is a crucial feature of a meaningful life; immortality would inevitably drain our lives of meaning and undermine our happiness. This course will explore such competing theories.

Course description:

Studying logic is crucial for developing skills that will enable you to formulate sound arguments of your own and assess the arguments of others. In this course, students will be introduced to several major topics in informal, formal, and inductive logic, which will assist them in the development of such skills. In particular, we will cover the following: basic logical concepts (e.g. deduction, induction), linguistic meaning and definition, fallacies, categorical propositions and syllogisms, legal and moral reasoning, and hypothetical/scientific reasoning.

Course description:

Does God exist? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? How do we distinguish between right and wrong actions? What is the meaning of life? This course will critically investigate a variety of positions on such philosophical matters. Students will read both historical and contemporary philosophical texts that address these and related questions, and they will cultivate their critical thinking and communication skills through class discussion and writing activities. By the end of the course, students will appreciate the extent to which philosophical ideas pervade human inquiry and our lives more generally, and they will understand how their own worldviews incorporate certain philosophical viewpoints that are subject to rational evaluation.

Student Evaluations

PACT Summer Camp

The Ohio State Philosophy and Critical Thinking (PACT) Summer Camp is a week-long educational camp for high school students. It introduces students to philosophy through a variety of engaging learning activities. I have been involved in two iterations of the camp. For the 2021 camp, which focused on the topic of disagreement, I was a lesson planner and instructor. I created a lesson plan that outlined the various spheres of disagreement (e.g. religious, ethical, scientific) and explained some commonalities and differences among such spheres. I also had students think about possible ways of resolving such disagreements and discuss the potential barriers to resolution that might exist within each sphere. For the 2023 camp, which focused on artificial intelligence, I was a lesson planner. I worked with professors during the early stages of the design of the camp, contributing to the planning of lessons and activites, and I also provided feedback on the lesson plans developed by some of the graduate students in the philosophy department.

Being involved in the PACT summer camp has been an extremely rewarding experience. I have learned a lot from my fellow instructors as well as camp participants. I feel better prepared than ever to teach first-year undergraduate students since I have spent time with high school juniors and seniors, and I have gotten to know what works for them, educationally speaking. I have also learned lots of cool teaching methods too, which I plan to implement in future courses. My hope is that I will be able to contribute to summer camps in the future, whether at Ohio State or elsewhere, and in the latter case perhaps even start up a new one!