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Meet the Philosophy Faculty
James Bednar, Assistant Professor
B.A., Hanover College
M.A., Kent State University
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Prof. Bednar specializes in epistemology and has abiding interests in American pragmatism, Modern philosophy, and decision theory. He teaches courses in these areas as well as in the history of analytic philosophy, symbolic logic, and critical thinking. His current research examines the role of emotions (e.g. fear and hope) and pragmatic factors (e.g. the cost of information) in the conduct of inquiry. Prof. Bednar enjoys building boats and is an avid kayaker.
Christine S. Dinkins, Associate Professor
B.A., Wake Forest University
M.A., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Prof. Dinkins is chair of the philosophy department and specializes in ancient Greek philosophy and 20th-century German philosophy. Her particular focus is on applying the methods of Socrates, Heidegger, and Gadamer to qualitative research, for instance in the 2006 book she co-edited, Listening to the Whispers: Re-thinking Ethics in Healthcare, and the upcoming book she co-authored, Our Dissertations, Ourselves: Shared Stories of Women’s Dissertation Journeys. Her classes include Ancient Western Philosophy, Philosophy through Literature, and Phenomenology. Prof. Dinkins’ January classes have included Canine Conundrum, Mancala to Mahjong and Beyond: The Evolution of the Game, and The Power of Stories. Prof. Dinkins is the winner of Wofford’s 2010 Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Jeremy Henkel, Assistant Professor
B.A., Whitman College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa
Prof. Henkel specializes in non-western philosophy, teaching an introductory course in world philosophy as well as seminars in various Asian traditions (Buddhist philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy). His areas of interest also include the philosophy of language and ethics. His current research explores the ethics of speaking, particularly with regard to issues of deception. Prof. Henkel is a member of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and the Director of the Society for Student Philosophers. He is also 5th-Degree Black Belt and Instructor of Taekwon-Do.
Charles D. Kay, Professor
A.B., Princeton University
M.A., Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh
Prof. Kay is former chair of the Philosophy Department and currently coordinator of Wofford’s Medical Humanities Program. His courses include BioMedical Ethics, Philosophy of Science, Science & Religion, Early Modern European Philosophy, and the History of Medicine. A past president of the South Carolina Society of Philosophy, Prof. Kay is also a member of the Ethics Committee of Spartanburg Regional Medical Centers, the Bioethics Committee of the South Carolina Medical Association, and the board of the SC Healthcare Ethics Network.
Stephen A. Michelman, Professor
A.B., Vassar College
M.A., Ph.D. Stony Brook University
Prof. Michelman specializes in 19th- and 20th-century French and German philosophy with particular focus on the development of existentialism, a topic explored in his
Historical Dictionary of Existentialism
(Scarecrow Press, 2008). His classes include 19th- Century European Philosophy, Existentialism, Philosophy of Art, and Theories of Human Nature. His current research concerns the nature of unconscious emotions and the theoretical challenges posed by psychosomatic disorders. An avid jazz guitarist, Prof. Michelman’s January courses have included Jazz History and American Popular Music.
Nancy M. Williams, Associate Professor
B.S., Winthrop University
B.A., UNC Charlotte
M.A., University of South Florida
Ph.D., University of Georgia
Prof. Williams specializes in feminist philosophy and ethical theory, with particular focus on animal rights and food ethics. Her courses include Social and Political Philosophy, Critical Reasoning, Ethical Theory, and various applied ethics courses, including Environmental Ethics and Food Ethics. Currently her research addresses issues in feminist animal care theory. Reflecting these interests, her January term courses have included literary criticisms of human-animal relations and vegetarian cooking. Prof. Williams enjoys a range of outdoor activities including road biking, hiking, and cross-country travel in a recreational vehicle.
James A. Keller, Samuel Pate Gardner Professor, Emeritus
S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.Div., Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University
Prof. Keller’s research and teaching interests center on issues in the philosophy of religion, particularly different ideas about God and about how religious beliefs can be appropriately justified. Many of his conclusions on issues in the philosophy of religion can be found in his book
Problems of Evil and the Power of God
(Ashgate, 2007). However, he is also interested in metaphysics and in different ideas about how moral beliefs can be appropriately justified. He is an avid reader of science fiction and has a collection of hundreds of volumes amassed during the last 40 or 50 years. He is also a film buff. Topics in his interim projects have included science fiction, film, and issues involving human and animal rights.
Philosophy Faculty Contact Information
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429 North Church Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303-3663