Kathleen A. Creel

Pedagogical Approach

  • Epistemic Virtues: Doing philosophy with others teaches charitable reconstruction of an opponent's views, respectful disagreement, argument formation, and equanimity in the face of uncertainty and doubt.
  • Ethical Reflection: As students develop their knowledge and craft, it is important that they also practice pursuing the good.
  • Synthetic worldview: Learning to develop a synthetic and action-guiding world view is one of the benefits of a philosophical education.
  • Conceptual Engineering: By developing a clearer understanding of historical development and current epistemic role of concepts in shaping their lives, students will learn to reshape their collective epistemic lives.

Ethics of
Instructor, Jan. 2020

In a field filled with vexing questions, the ethics of technology issue most commonly addressed by the media is whether a self-driving car should swerve to hit one person in order to avoid hitting two. In this class, we will go beyond the headlines to explore issues such as transparency, bias and fairness, surveillance, automation and work, the epistemology of deep fakes, and more. Our discussion will rely on articles from the course packet, enlivened by discussions with experts in the field over Skype. Students will apply their ethical knowledge to write multiple newspaper length op-eds arguing for their views.

  • Syllabus available on request
Problem Solving:
How Science Works
Instructor, Spring 2019

A scientist announces that the sun contains a new, so far unknown chemical element, even though there is no hope of getting a sample. Another is sure that a famous predecessor has faked his data, even though he has seen nothing but the perfect, published results. Astonishingly, both claims prove to be sober and sound. We will explore the approaches and methods that make such miracles part of the routine of everyday science. This course is intended for students with little or no background in science.

Magic, Medicine & Science
Instructor, Fall 2018

Science emerged from heady centuries in which inquiries into what we would now consider scientific topics – including motion, the interaction of substances, medicine, nature, and the development of life -- were done by doctors, natural philosophers, magicians, and alchemists. We will explore the intertwined traditions of science and alchemy within the period from 1550-1700 in Europe and the Mediterranean region, often called the scientific revolution, as well as their ancient and medieval roots. We will recast traditional narratives about the development of science by investigating their fuller context. Our special focuses will be on the development of the concepts of sympathy and of force.

Morality & Medicine
Instructor, Spring 2017

All of us will be confronted at some point with difficult medical choices concerning our own lives, the lives of family members, or the lives of patients under our care. This course is designed to help you meet such questions by providing a philosophical framework in which to judge the values you find most important and determine how they apply to specific biomedical contexts. In this course we will examine a number of ethical issues that arise in contemporary medical practice and research. Topics to be covered include the physician-patient relationship; informed consent; medical experimentation; termination of treatment; euthanasia; resource allocation; disability and well-being; race-based medicine; and health care reform.