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Department of Philosophy

Faculty Spotlight

DR. Thomas Nail's New book Lucretius II: The ethics of motion 

April 2020

Philosophy Professor Thomas Nail has published his new book, Lucretius II: The Ethics of Motion, with Edinburgh University Press. 

lucreteius II


Human suffering, the fear of death, war, poverty, ecological destruction and social inequality: almost 2,000 ago Lucretius proposed an ethics of motion as simple and stunning solution to these ethical problems. Thomas Nail argues that Lucretius was the first to locate the core of all these ethical ills in our obsession with stasis, our fear of movement and our hatred of matter. Instead of trying to transcend nature with our minds, escape it with our immortal souls and dominate it with our technologies, Lucretius was perhaps the first in the Western tradition to forcefully argue for a completely materialist, immanent and naturalistic ethics based on moving well with and as nature. If we want to survive and live well on this planet, Lucretius taught us, our best chance is not to struggle against nature but to embrace it and facilitate its movement.

Lucretius II is the second installment in Thomas Nail's transformative reading of Lucretius' didactic poem De Rerum Natura, which can be read individually or as a trilogy. Lucretius I covered books 1 and 2 of De Rerum Natura and looked at Lucretius' ontology; this volume covers books 3 and 4 and Lucretius' ethics. The third and final volume will cover books 5 and 6.


 the hegel Society of america

Spring 2020

Philosophy Professor Jere Surber is the new President of The Hegel Society of America. 


The Hegel Society of America is a learned society, founded in 1968, whose goal is to promote the study of the philosophy of Hegel and Hegelianism, its place within the history of thought, and its relation to social, political, and cultural movements since his time.

Professor Surber will deliver the Presidential Address at the 2020 Meeting this Fall.  

You can learn about the Hegel Society of America by visiting



"We live in a world of borders. Territorial, political, juridical, and economic borders of all kinds quite literally define every aspect of social life in the twenty-first century. Despite the celebration of globalization and the increasing necessity of global mobility, there are more types of borders today than ever before in history. In the last twenty years, but particularly since 9/11, hundreds of new borders have emerged around the world: miles of new razor-wire fences, tons of new concrete security walls, numerous offshore detention centers, biometric passport databases, and security checkpoints of all kinds in schools, airports, and along various roadways across the world." (taken from Introduction)

Dr. Thomas Nail's new book, Theory of the Border with Oxford University Press was officially released on Tuesday, August 2, 2016.

Preview Theory of the Border here.

Order a copy of your own here.

Ibn Gabriol's Theology of Desire by Sarah Pessin published by Cambridge University Press

Sarah Pessin Sarah Pessin

Drawing on Arabic passages from Ibn Gabirol's original Fons Vitae text, and highlighting philosophical insights from his Hebrew poetry, Pessin develops a "Theology of Desire" at the heart of Ibn Gabirol's 11th century cosmo-ontology, challenging centuries of received scholarship on the "Doctrines of Divine Will and Universal Hylomorphism." Pessin rejects voluntarist readings of the Fons Vitae as opposing divine emanation, as she emphasizes uniquely "Empedoclean" notions of "Divine Desire" and "Grounding Element," alongside Ibn Gabirol's use of a particularly Neoplatonic method with apophatic (and what she calls "doubly apophatic") implications. Pessin in this way reads claims about matter and God as insights about love, desire, and the receptive, dependent, and fragile nature of human being. Pessin re-envisions the entire spirit of Ibn Gabirol's philosophy, moving us from a set of doctrines to a fluid inquiry into the nature of God and human being—and the bond between God and human being in desire.

Sarah Pessin's blog entry at Cambridge University Press: Methodological Questions about how [not] to Read Ancient and Medieval Cosmology