PHL302 Instructor

Ports of Call



Your instructor

Captain Bill
I am Bill Uzgalis, an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University. I have a doctorate in Philosophy from Stanford University. I have many interests in philosophy, but I work primarily in the history of philosophy. I have published a number of papers on John Locke, some of those papers inform the material which you will be learning. I am also interested in computers and education. I am presently serving as the Associate Editor of the American Philosophical Association 's Computer Use in Philosophy Newsletter and I have some experience with on-line education. I built a web site -- the Great Voyages web site -- to accompany the regular OSU version of Phl. 302 and have been experimenting with integrating on-line tools into courses. One really interesting effect of the advent of the Great Voyages web site to the class was that students began talking about the course as a voyage, a voyage back in time, and talking of themselves as voyagers and have regularly been referring to me as Captain Bill.

I confess I like the Great Voyages metaphor. Not only is it one which was employed in the era we are studying, but it focuses our attention on seeing things for the first time and trying to grapple with understanding what we are seeing. This is, of course, not entirely true about me. I have read these books and taught this course many times now. Still, in some ways books are like places. One of the pleasures of teaching a course like this is being able to visit those places often visited before, and to always come away having discovered something new.