RJ Snell

Teaching Poorly? On Being a Muddled Teacher
By RJ Snell on January 17, 2011

Now I'm told by the educrats that my style amounts to bad education. So why is it that c students consistently rank my courses as "much more learned than other courses" ?


"Important" Academic Issues # 4--Office Space
By RJ Snell on November 12, 2010

As part of the ongoing evacuation of academic culture from the academy, the corporate cubicle makes perfect sense: for faculty offices efficient, inexpensive, simple. Too bad that's not what the academy is about.


More Socratic education--why "games" of dialectic matter
By RJ Snell on September 28, 2010

If I admit that A is B, and realize in advance that B is C, and C is the contrary to my original thesis I have gained the benefit of dialectic as a game, and have played the game well, i.e., without a contentious spirit.  The dialectician who cannot see such consequences will still lose the thesis but it cannot be said that they have gained any understanding.  In dialectic there are probably many such embarrassments; unable to see implications the novice loses countless debates until finally having an insight connecting the question to its implications.


Voegelin and the Turning of a Soul
By RJ Snell on September 21, 2010

Lehrman Fellow John von Heyking has a terrific post on Eric Voegelin and the conversion or turning of the soul. Click here to read.


Socratic lies (but good ones)
By RJ Snell on September 15, 2010

Does Socrates teach to me to trick and deceive students for their own good? Could that every be acceptable?


What am I teaching? A way of life or a theory?
By RJ Snell on September 08, 2010

When cynics and skeptics of the contemporary kind profess their accounts I worry about balance and indoctrination and the loss of reason--am I guilty of special pleading, or is the socratic somehow self-evidently the case?


Newsflash: The Humanities Are Still Useless
By RJ Snell on August 31, 2010

Is contemplation doomed when even the teachers of humanities are skeptical?


"Important" Academic Issues #3--Responding to Student Emails (s l o w l y)
By RJ Snell on August 11, 2010

Now, I happen to think that I am not a personal assistant to students, or their intern, but rather their teacher; and without any sense of personal self-aggrandizement I do believe that I (along with many others) lead (educate) them.

In addition to the sense of the propriety of what respect a student owes a teacher, I suspect as well that making a student wait is good for them. If the current time forms them into believing that each and every impulse and curious thought should be entertained, followed, sated, and quickly, then making them wait might just be good for their souls, and for my own.



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about the author

R. J. Snell
R. J. Snell

Associate Professor and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University outside of Philadelphia. Ph.D. from Marquette, MA from Boston College and BSc. from Liberty University.

I work broadly in the history of philosophy, but especially Thomism in conjunction with contemporary thought. My first book argues for a Thomist, Bernard Lonergan, against the skepticism of Richard Rorty.

Starting to do more work on the natural law and especially the epistemology of apprehending the good.