The End of an Era

With a smile on her face, I recently saw a bright young woman go straight to Professor David Solomon and hug him. I’ve seen this happen with many of Professor Solomon’s former students. They return to campus and light up when they see him, almost as if they are seeing their father after a long…

My Friend the Carmelite

This fall, a friend began her life as a Carmelite nun. Becoming a cloistered nun is, in a way, like choosing your death. Though she’s just reached her mid-twenties, I may never see or hear from her again. She can only receive visitors a year after her entrance, six years after, and 25 and 50 after….

I Got a Tattoo

A philosophy professor once told me the truly adult decisions are the ones we make in the face of an unforeseen future. Maybe this is why for some a tattoo is a rite of passage. It marks a significant event, an obstacle overcome, a new beginning or a personal commitment. It marks a memory to…

Video: Gay and Catholic

In October, I gave a talk at the University of Notre Dame on being gay and Catholic. Part one has the main talk, and part two is the Q&A.

Curriculum Problems are Faculty Problems

In the midst of discussions over curricular developments at Notre Dame, I am mindful of a remark made by Otto Bird, the founder of the Program of Liberal Studies: “In the 1950s I was a member of the Faculty Hiring Committee, a body appointed by the administration to put pressure upon the department heads to…

Friendship: The Foundation of Reason

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, October 16, 2014. “I will always consider the possibility that I might be wrong.” So states the commitment to humility in the Center for Social Concerns’ “Virtues of Discourse” pledge. As one of the seven “virtues” in the pledge, humility means, “When I realize that I have been…

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…

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…

Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality

“… and old principles reappear under new forms. It [a great idea] changes with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” So goes the argument of Blessed John Henry Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Like any great idea, doctrine must change in order to remain the same. Only dead doctrine cannot change, for “a power of development is a proof of life.”

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?”

Mr. Crummett’s Cookies

The following letter to the editor was published in The Observer on March 7, 2013. It was a response to a letter to the editor, “Appreciating philosophy“, printed on March 4, which was a response to my February 26 column, “Our introduction to ‘philosophy’“. Socrates was killed on charges of corrupting the youth. Dustin Crummett’s recent letter to…