On poverty and the theology requirement

I recently attended the United Nations 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Representatives from around the world discussed the relationship between poverty and the education of women. The Western nations tended to present abstract arguments for “disaggregating data” and the importance of increased access of opportunity to education, political office and economic…

On Business Degrees and Free Market Mysticism

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, October 2, 2014. “I don’t like to hire students who studied accounting. They tend to approach problems narrowly, as though they are clear-cut numerical issues with clear-cut, single-answer solutions. This just isn’t true.” I was a bit surprised to hear this from a partner at a nationally recognized…

On Empty Classrooms

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, September 18, 2014. Willis Konick retired in 2007 as one of the University of Washington’s most sought-after professors. For Willis, as his students called him, the classroom had changed over the years. According to the Seattle Times, ” [Willis] said teaching Dostoyevsky novels in the 1960s was…

Studying Death

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, September 4, 2014. When students first read how Athens put Socrates to death they either balk at the injustice of the Athenians or at the uncalculating stubbornness of Socrates. Socrates was charged with corrupting Athens’ youth and refused to yield when faced with death. I myself sided…

To Win as Notre Dame

Notre Dame has a weird alma mater. You wouldn’t know that from a teleconference with head football coach Brian Kelly today. In it, he said that football players would not be expected to remain on the field and sing the school’s alma mater with the other students after home losses. He said, “I just don’t think…

Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School

Coming to law school has made me particularly glad that I decided to major in philosophy. In many ways, I’ve found many of the ideas I encountered as an undergraduate to be foundational to the way I approach the law. I could make a pretty long list of books that I think every student should…

On Christian Children in the Public Schools

Sometimes I shock my friends when I tell them I would strongly consider (and possibly prefer) homeschooling for my children. There are a host of objections to homeschooling (both preposterously unfounded and practically well-founded). One objection that I would like to take up is the idea that homeschooling would require an educational and intellectual competence…

A Letter to the Philosophy Department at Notre Dame

I recently completed my exit survey as a philosophy major at Notre Dame. With it, I included the following thoughts on my time at Notre Dame. My Time in Philosophy at Notre Dame As I consider my time in the philosophy department at Notre Dame, I would like to take note of two things, both…

The Paradox of an Education in Philosophy

When one thinks about the constitution of an education in philosophy, one often begins by considering the curricula of philosophy departments in contemporary American universities. When asking, “What is an education in philosophy,” we begin by asking, “What is an education in a philosophy department?”

Done with college, and today I’m… disappointed

The university used to be a place in which the primary focus was an “opening” of the mind to the intellectual life. The undergraduate years were a preparation for a life of reflectiveness, an unending search for truth. The goal of college was a lifetime of reading, learning, thinking, conversing, reflecting. I just finished my…

On Staying Catholic

The following column was published in The Observer on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. I almost gave up Catholicism twice while at Notre Dame. For two weeks during freshman year, a class I was taking had convinced me that the existence of God was incompatible with rational belief. During the middle of my college career, a traumatic personal…

DARTing advice you won’t get

The following column was published in The Observer on Wednesday, April 2, 2013. Here are ten DARTing tips you won’t typically get from your academic advisors. This advice is particularly aimed for Arts and Letters students, although it can be helpful for anyone registering for courses next semester.