Faculty Profile

Crispin Sartwell

Associate Professor of Philosophy (2004)

Contact Information


255 W Louther St


  • B.A., The University of Maryland, 1980
  • M.A., The Johns Hopkins University, 1985
  • Ph.D., The University of Virginia, 1989

2017-2018 Academic Year

Fall 2017

PHIL 180 Political Philosophy
Cross-listed with POSC 180-01.

POSC 180 Political Philosophy
Cross-listed with PHIL 180-01.

PHIL 204 American Philosophy
An introduction to major philosophical texts and themes originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This course will cover such thinkers as Emerson, James, Peirce, Dewey, and Santayana and themes such as naturalism, transcendentalism, in particular, pragmatism. Contemporary developments in the American philosophical tradition may also be included.Prerequisites: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 251 Philosophy of Religion
This course focuses on philosophical issues arising from religious belief and practice.Topics treated may include: the existence and nature of god or gods; the contested relation of a god to moral values; faith and reason as sources of belief or ways of believing, as expressed in classic texts by thinkers such as Aquinas, Hume, Kierkegaard, and William James, as well as in contemporary texts. Prerequisite: one prior course in philosophy or permission of the instructor.

Spring 2018

POSC 180 Political Philosophy
Cross-listed with PHIL 180-02.

PHIL 180 Political Philosophy
Cross-listed with POSC 180-02.

PHIL 205 Confucius & Confucianism
It is often said that that, some 26 centuries after the life of Confucius, China remains a Confucian culture. This may well make him the most influential philosopher in human history. This course will closely read Confucius's Analects, as well as other texts attributed to Confucius. We will then read ancient followers such as Mencius and Hsün Tzu and examine their rich atmosphere of philosophical debate. The course will finish with the neo-Confucianism of figures such as Wang Yang-Ming, whose profound philosophy was also influenced by Taoism and Buddhism.

PHIL 391 Kierkegaard and Nietzsche
Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche were two of the most radical intellectual figures of the 19th century, and two of the most influential on the 20th. They have many things in common, including rollicking prose styles and a withering skepticism of the cultures out of which they themselves emerged. Kierkegaard was a hyper-religious thinker (his famous leap of faith), and Nietzsche a notorious religious skeptic ("God is dead"). These positions are not as far apart as they appear, believe it or not. We will closely read a few key texts of each, as well as slices of existentialism and post-structuralism that they influenced.