A reading group composed of both students and faculty is in the middle of a year-long study of Being and Time, one of the most important works of 20th C German philosophy Martin Heidegger. Previous reading groups have focused on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.
Another reading group, on the phenomenology of music, concluded in 2012 with the graduation of student Matthew Houston, whose double major in Philosophy and Music centered on that topic. Matt is continuing his study of phenomenology at Stony Brook University.
Guest speakers in Religion are a regular feature at UMF; for example, in Fall 2012 Philip Arnold of Syracuse University will be speaking on “The Gift of Sport: Indigenous Ceremonial Dimensions of the Games We Love.”
Professor of Religion Jennifer Reid’s book, Louis Riel and the Creation of Modern Canada: Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State, was reissued in 2012 by the University of Manitoba Press, and Dr. Reid was interviewed about it by the radio series, “At the Edge of Canada.”
Professor of Philosophy Jonathan Cohen’s book on Nietzsche’s Human, All-Too-Human, entitled Science, Culture, and Free Spirits, was published in 2010 by Humanity Books, an imprint of Prometheus Publishing.
Assistant Professor George Miller published “You Can’t Step Into the Same Argument Twice: Wittgenstein on Philosophical Arguments,” co-written with Professor Daniel Cohen of Colby College, in the Spring 2010 issue of the philosophy journal Cogency.
In 2009, at the 5th Annual New England Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at Providence College, Philosophy / Religion major Nancy Boucher of Farmington delivered her paper, “A Confused Gaze in Philadelphia — Devereaux’s Expanded Male Gaze,” a philosophical and artistic analysis of a photograph by artist Jacob Holdt. Nancy’s paper was one of only 11 chosen for the day-long conference; other student readers were from Brown, Bennington, Georgia State, Providence, Delaware, Tufts, and others.
In 2009, UMF’s Philosophy and Religion Department hosted the annual meeting of the Maine Philosophical Institute. The day-long event featured thought-provoking panel discussions and presentations by philosophers teaching at Maine colleges (including Farmington’s) as well as independent philosophers.
At UMF, Philosophy/Religion students are recognized for their work. In 2008, student Matt Nichols was awarded one of Farmington’s Michael Wilson Research Scholarships for a project entitled “Heidegger on Authentic Communication” and Jon St. Peter had his paper comparing Nietzsche and Heidegger accepted by The Reed, a journal of undergraduate philosophy at St. Olaf College (MN).
In 2008, UMF Philosophy faculty helped organize a semester-long forum on Philosophy and Popular Culture where students and faculty gave thoughtful and creative presentations. Examples included a Professor of Philosophy Jonathan Cohen’s presentation, “‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, or, Why You Need to Take the Beach Boys Seriously;” and Asst. Professor of Philosophy George Miller and Visiting Asst. Professor of Philosophy Elliot Welch, along with several students, in a panel discussion on “Plato and Superman.” The series also featured visiting speakers Aeon Skoble and Jason Blahuta, two philosophers whose work has appeared frequently in the Philosophy and Popular Culture book series.