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Faculty Profile

Chauncey Maher

Associate Professor of Philosophy (2008)

Contact Information

East College Room 201


What is thinking? How does it differ from mere responding? How is it related to speaking? In what sense, if at all, is it governed by norms? I have approached this cluster of questions from two very different angles. In The Pittsburgh School, I offer a introductory overview of three insightful and influential philosophers—Wilfrid Sellars, John McDowell, and Robert Brandom—who hold that humans uniquely occupy “the logical space of reasons.” In Plant Minds, taking inquisitive non-experts as my audience, I interrogate the presumption that plants obviously don’t have minds, and make the case that they do. In a separate project, I inquire into “the white moderate.” In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr. says that he’s almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the white moderate rather than the white supremacist is the great stumbling block in the pursuit of freedom and equality. I argue that white moderates have indeed been a great stumbling block to equality throughout U.S. history, delaying equality while appearing to support it.


  • B.A., University of Maryland, 2001
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 2002
  • Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2008

2019-2020 Academic Year

Fall 2019

PHIL 101 Intro to Philosophy
An introduction to Western philosophy through an examination of problems arising in primary sources. How major philosophers in the tradition have treated such questions as the scope of human reason, the assumptions of scientific method, the nature of moral action, or the connections between faith and reason.

PHIL 201 Ancient Philosophy
This course is an introduction to central questions, claims and arguments in ancient philosophy, centering on the work of Plato and Aristotle. Potential questions include: What is the value of reason and knowledge? What is knowledge? Is it always better to be just than unjust? What constitutes a good human life? What kind of thing is a human being?Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 550 Independent Research