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Faculty Profile

Chauncey Maher

Associate Professor of Philosophy (2008)

Contact Information

on sabbatical Fall 2020

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

Spring 2020

PHIL 103 Logic
The study and practice of forms and methods of argumentation in ordinary and symbolic languages,focusing on elements of symbolic logic and critical reasoning, including analysis and assessment of arguments in English, symbolizing sentences and arguments,constructing formal proofs of validity in sentential and quantificational logic.Offered every semester, or every three out of four semesters.

PHIL 261 Intermediate Logic
The big goal of this intermediate course in logic is to help you develop a technically and philosophically deep understanding of logical systems, especially “classical” logic. In the first three parts of the course, we will study the meta-theory of propositional logic and first-order logic. You will learn how to prove that a logical system is correct (or “sound” or “consistent”) and complete. In the fourth part of the course, we will reflect on the nature of logical implication by learning a bit of modal logic. This course counts as a 200-level elective for the Math major.

PHIL 550 Independent Research