Philosophy Returns to Selkirk College this January

Media Release~

WEST KOOTENAY – Students will have the opportunity to explore questions at the very heart of human existence as Philosophy 101 returns to the School of University Arts & Sciences at Selkirk College in January.

This intro-level philosophy course focuses on the nature of human reality. Students will discuss metaphysical issues such as self-identity, free will, and the relationship between the mind and the body. They will also examine issues in value theory including the nature of aesthetic judgment, the foundations of morality, and problems of social justice.

New to Selkirk College, Dr. Jonathan Vanderhoek will teach the class.

“In Philosophy 101, we will delve into questions about whom and what we are as human beings,” he says. “What makes me the same person over time? Am I really the one determining what I do and is there a difference between my mind and my brain? We will also examine the peculiar ways in which we respond to art. For example, why do we love watching movies that make us feel scared or sad? Finally, we will take up some longstanding questions in ethical theory. Why should I care about actually being a good person and not just appearing to be a good person?”

School of University Arts & Sciences Chair Tracy Punchard is excited to see the return of philosophy to Selkirk College. When Dr. John Rowell retired in 2008, “our philosophy courses retired with him,” she says.

“We have felt the gap in our humanities offering ever since,” she says. “When you study philosophy, you contemplate questions that have perplexed humans for thousands of years; at the same time you grapple with the moral and ethical issues most relevant to you and your community today. There is no better course for developing your skills in critical thinking and reasoning, logic, analysis and communication.”

Vanderhoek is eagerly filling that gap. He comes to Selkirk College from the University of Texas in Austin where he taught after achieving his Ph.D. in Philosophy there. Most of his work has focused on the role of empathy in moral agency. He now teaches Biomedical Ethics and Philosophy at Selkirk College.

“I am excited for the return of philosophy to Selkirk because I believe that philosophy can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Critical thinking pushes us to reflect on our background assumptions, and it helps us to sharpen the analytic tools we use in many areas of life,” he says. “Moreover, a hike through the history of philosophy can illuminate ideas and values that underlie our cultural traditions and social practices. In this way studying philosophy can prepare us to make and defend careful judgments about our lives, our society, and our world.”

Philosophy 101 begins January 9 and to ensure students in both Nelson and Castlegar are able to take advantage of this opportunity, it will be offered online and on-campus in both communities. All students will participate in the online portion of the course. Students who wish to study in Nelson may take the on-campus class on Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on the Tenth Street Campus while students in Castlegar attend main campus on Friday from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

To register for Philosophy 101, please contact Admissions at 1.888.953.1133 ext. 21233 or by email at ac.krikles@snoissimda. Deadline is January 6.

For more information please contact:

Jonathan Vanderhoek Selkirk College instructor 1.888.953.1133 ext. 21488

Tracy Punchard Selkirk College University Arts & Sciences, Chair 250.365.1318

PHOTO: New to Selkirk College, Dr. Jonathan Vanderhoek will teach Philosophy 101 which is returning to the School of University Arts & Sciences after a nine-year absence.