Skip to body

Philosophy and Religious Studies

College of Arts and Humanities

Department Newsletter






From the Chair -Dr. Jeff Dippmann

Profile Picture: Dr. Jeff Dippmann, ChairWelcome to all of our alumni and friends of Philosophy and Religious Studies! We enter the 2018-2019 academic year with a number of new faces among our faculty and some old faces in new positions, and fond memories of others. It’s an exciting year as we begin to plan for the possible implementation of the first new general education program at Central since the 1990s. We’ll share more information about that following the final Faculty Senate vote on the program at its October 31st meeting. Suffice it to say that the department has a virtual cornucopia (note the clever October reference here) of new and revised courses cued up and ready to go should the program be implemented in fall 2019. Stay tuned!
In addition, we are welcoming three new full-time lecturers (and one returning on-line lecturer) to the department this year, each of whom you will meet in the right-hand column. They are a dynamic and energetic group, and we are all looking forward to working with them over the coming year. Be sure to check out their respective specializations and publications, as well as following their work on our department homepage as we update faculty profiles and information.
As you may have noted, I am stepping in as the department’s new chair beginning this year. Dr. Altman has served in that capacity for the past five years, and has done an outstanding job on behalf of Central’s student body, the department, and all of its constituents and dedicated stakeholders. I am particularly grateful to him for his leadership through myriad changes at the college and university levels and wish to thank him for his dedication and vision the past five years. I hope I can continue his work in growing the department and raising its profile across campus and elsewhere.
We have several new initiatives and programs we are experimenting with this year, including a faculty (and hopefully alumni) reading group. In an effort to foster even greater crosscultural dialogue across the department, we have begun reading Kitarō Nishida’s seminal work, An Inquiry into the Good. You can read more about this in the newsletter, but I want to encourage all of you to consider reading along with us and follow our progress through the book. In some small way, I hope this creates continuous conversation with and among you, our valued friends and alumni across the geographic (and disciplinary) spectrum!
Photo: 6 faculty standing in a conference roomFinally, to return to my opening theme, I found this picture from 2000 among my files. The occasion is the arrival of a slipcase set of four Chinese volumes of Confucius’ works. See how many faculty you can identify, and let us know how well you do. Extra bonus shout out in the next newsletter for those of you who correctly identify all six!

Upcoming Events


Fall 2018 Colloquium
Zombie Brains: Thinking about the Undead
Tuesday, October 30 | Dean 104 | 5 PM

sponsored by the Philosophy & Religious Studies Club, the Neuroscience Club, and the Psychology Club.

CAH Celebrating Arts & Humanities Speaker Series

Monday, Oct. 29, 6:00-8:00 PM, Samuelson 104
Dissent, Demonstration, and Democracy:
Lessons from Gwangju (Korea)
Panelists: Jeffrey Dippmann, Chong Eun Ahn, Cynthia Coe & Volha Isakava

Film Screening and Discussion

Monday, Nov. 5, 6:00-8:30 PM, Samuelson 104
A Taxi Driver 택시 운전사 (2017)


these events are sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Seattle, College of Arts and Humanities, and the Asian Studies Program

Alumni Day

Thursday, October 18, Panel 1:00-2:30 PM, SURC Ballroom

Featuring Katie Jacobson, BA Religious Studies, Philosophy & Music minors, 2010. Katie is a vocalist, lyricist, and composer interested in the use of words, humor, and visual narratives within music improvisations and compositions. Her recent work is a mixture of music performance, comedy sketch, and performance art. Katie loves to write music in any and every style. Some of her past pieces have included punk rock songs about middle age, jazz ballads about internet culture, and manic pizza dance parties. Katie just wrapped up her Last Show Ever with the band Honey Noble. A highlight for Katie was when once after a performance someone said to her, “I just have no idea what is going on in your brain.”


Nishida Reading Group

This year, the department is reading An Inquiry into the Good by Kitarō Nishida. Published in 1911, the work was the first attempt by a Japanese philosopher to seek common ground between eastern (especially Zen), and western (particularly German) philosophical thought. Ranging from ontology to epistemology to ethics and religion, Inquiry remains a challenging and thought-provoking work of cross-cultural philosophy. We invite the community to read along with us.
We held our first meeting on October 1, where we reviewed, dissected and debated the first chapter: “Pure Experience.” Our goal is to finish chapters two through six by quarter’s end. Please join us and keep excercising those analytical skills!!

Philosophy & Religious Studies Club

Club flyer. Text reads: Have you ever wondered what it all means? Well we have. We don't have the answers, but we sure like to think about it. P&RS club holds open discussions on campus on topics like the meaning of life, religion, belief and truth, moral and ethical issues, and how we ought to live life. All are welcome.

Fall Quarter meetings
Wednesdays at 5 PM
L&L 106A

Winter 2019 Classes

PHIL 101 - Philosophical Inquiry
PHIL 104 - Moral Controversies
PHIL 106 - Asian Philosophy
PHIL 150 - Critical Thinking
PHIL 308 - Medical Ethics
PHIL 348 - Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 353 - Early Modern Philosophy
RELS 101 - World Religions
RELS 376: Contemporary
Religious Thought: Holy Horror in Cross-Cultural Cinema
RELS 413 - Varieties of Early Christianity

Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
April 5 & 6, 2019
Call for papers submission deadline Feb 1, 2019

The club usually carpools to this conference, so if you are considering attending but don’t have the means to get there, please contact a club member.


This summer... what did you do with your spare time

Profile Picture: Matthew AltmanWhile serving as President of United Faculty of Central and Department Chair, I also did some research: revising a book chapter on Fichte’s Vocation of Man, substantially revising and submitting a paper on Kant and suicide, successfully submitting a paper on Kant and animals for the Northwest Philosophy Conference, and revising a journal article on Kant and animals. The high point of the summer was a trip to the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing, where I presented a paper on the justification of punishment.

Profile Picture: Mike HundleyI’ve been working on my book Yahweh among the Gods (under contract with Cambridge University Press) on the complex conceptions of the divine in Genesis, Exodus and the ancient Near East. I’ve also been working on finishing up two articles—one on magic in the Bible and ancient Near East and the other on ancient Egyptian temples. Finally, I’ve been in discussion with Oxford University Press about another book project, Ancient Gods and Monsters.

Profile Picture: Cindy CoeI was invited to contribute two chapters to two different anthologies:  one on Sartre, Levinas, and Fichte on the problem of other minds for the Palgrave Fichte Handbook, and the other on Levinas and the feminine for the Oxford Handbook of Levinas. In August, I also attended the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing and presented a paper on Levinas and compassion fatigue (a version of what I presented at the CAH Speaker Series in January, which will hopefully lead into a journal article when I can get to that project). But the summer wasn’t all work:  we spent a few days at the San Juans, visited family in Michigan and Massachusetts, and spent a day at Cedar Point in Ohio on giant roller coasters (much less scary when you don’t open your eyes until the ride ends).

Profile Picture: Lily Vuong

This past summer, I attended two workshops. The first was held in Philadelphia, PA and was sponsored by the Wabash Center for Teaching in Theology and Religion’s Peer Mentoring and Cluster Grant for the project, “Non-Normative Texts and Non-Normative bodies.” The second workshop I participated in took me to Rome, Italy for a month where I attended a conference on material culture and religion and worked on my

New Faculty Profiles

Clayton Bohnet

Profile Picture: Clayton Bohnet

Clayton Bohnet  received his doctorate in Philosophy from Duquesne University in 2011-12.  In an effort to ground historically his understanding of the difference between analytic and continental philosophy he wrote his dissertation under Dr. Tom Rockmore on the philosophy of logic in Kant and Hegel (Logic and the Limits of Philosophy, Palgrave, 2015). His recent work A Polis on the Edge of the Void: A Philosophical Montage on Protest is set to be published by Lexington Press June 2019. Bohnet’s current research interests are: the history of Spinoza’s reception, the concept of life in applied ethics, and the value of the Frankfurt School’s reading of the ‘Enlightenment’ for understanding contemporary political milieu. He has previously taught Philosophy of Art, Modern Philosophy, 19th/20th Century Philosophy, and World Religions. He currently teaches Introduction to Philosophy, Moral Controversies, and Asian Philosophy.

This summer... what did you do with your spare time?

Clayton, his wife Laura, and son Solomon spent much of the summer on Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada with his family. While there, he enjoyed the beach, long distance running, the abundant sun and beautiful sunsets, playing tennis with his father, and lots of light-hearted fun. Prior to the vacation, Clayton finished a chapter draft on Deleuze for his current research project on the history of Spinoza’s reception. After the vacation Clayton and his family moved from Spokane to Ellensburg and enjoyed some ‘calm’ before the academic year storm.

Michael Funke

Profile Picture: Michael FunkeMichael Funke earned his BA in Philosophy from the University of Florida in his hometown of Gainesville, FL. He then earned an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Montana. Returning to Florida he attended the University of South Florida where he wrote a dissertation entitled “Weakness of Will: Mindfulness, Medicine and Law” under Hugh LaFollette and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy. He currently teaches courses at Central Washington University and Highline Community College. Dr. Funke’s research interest focuses on issues of moral motivation and practical ethics. He has published papers on diverse topics including drug laws, exploitative mining practices, and climate change. In addition to being a philosopher Dr. Funke is a husband, father of two, a fine furniture maker, juggler, and former marathoner.

This summer... what did you do with your spare time?

Dr. Funke continued his service as the current chair of the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Regional Case Writing Committee and once again contributed to the IEB published cases, as he has in each of the last 10 years.

Lauren Nuckols

Profile Picture: Lauren NuckolsI received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Penn State University in 2017, where I also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship this past year, and I earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Hartford in 2006. My main philosophical interests are Environmental Philosophy, Ethics, and American Pragmatism. I’m interested in the intersection of ethics and aesthetics, and its implications for environmental and human rights issues. For example, how do our ideals of beauty inform our ethical (or unethical) treatment of other persons? In what ways are ideals complicit in social inequalities along the lines of race, ethnicity, sex/gender, and disability? How does the perception of natural beauty affect our interactions with the nonhuman landscape? 
Consistent with my research interests, I have taught courses in Ethics, Environmental Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics of Media and Journalism, Ethical Leadership, Philosophy of Love and Sexuality, Philosophy of Law, and Critical Thinking. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, backpacking, and painting.

This summer...what did you do with your spare time?

This summer was focused on research, outdoor activity, and a cross-country move from State College, PA to Ellensburg, WA.   I spent time developing a portion of my dissertation into a conference presentation, and I presented my work at the Summer Institute in American Philosophy, held at University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.  Most of my free time was spent hiking, backpacking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and swimming in the forests of Pennsylvania.  At the end of summer my partner and I packed everything up and moved across the country to Ellensburg, Washington, stopping to explore Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Yellowstone National Park along the way. 

David Schwan

David Schwan joined the department in Fall 2018. He received his PhD in Applied Philosophy from Bowling Green State University in 2017. Schwan’s areas of research are Ethics, Moral Psychology, and Philosophy of Emotion. His dissertation explored the nature and role of empathy in moral thinking and clinical settings. He is currently thinking about the nature of dehumanization, as well as emotional detachment in medical practice.

This summer... what did you do with your spare time?

This summer I finished as the Online Program Coordinator for the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis and moved to Ellensburg, WA. I recently completed final edits to a forthcoming article in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics titled “Should Physicians Be Empathetic? Rethinking Clinical Empathy” which will be published in October. I’m presently working on research related to dehumanization, as well as emotional detachment in medical practice.


next research project on Marian apocryphal art. As a participant of this workshop, I had daily discussion with leading archaeologists and was given special access to numerous archaeological sites. Some of my favorite sites included Hadrian’s Villa (Tivoli), the basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and San Clemente, the Baths of Caracalla, Ostia, Pompeii, and Herculaneum. I’m excited to incorporate some of my new research and the millions of pictures I took into my courses this year!

Profile Picture: Michael GoergerDuring my summer I read a pile of books and traveled a lot. Highlights in my summer reading included Laura Wall’s new biography of Henry David Thoreau, Terry Tempest William’s The Hour of Land, and Andrew Greer’s Less. The high point on the road was a week in Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming with my family. The trip was especially moving and thought-provoking as I’ve been preparing to teach American Wilderness Philosophy this Spring. Plus, it’s always a blast to spend time in amazing places with all the people I love.

Profile Picture: Karen Turcotte

I spent a good part of the summer playing with my grandson. Then, I did some travelling to the Redwoods, with a little bit of gambling in Reno, and ghosthunting in Virginia City (we unfortunately did not find any ghosts). During my down-time I took care of my garden.


Profile Picture: Gary BartlettI worked on two papers in two very different areas: one in the philosophy of neuroscience, one in epistemology and the philosophy of childhood. The latter was submitted to a couple of conferences. I wrote and published a review of a book on the ontology of emotions, and completed the publication & proofing process for a paper that was accepted to a journal in late Spring that will be coming out soon.
We also took a one-week vacation in Port Townsend in June; and then another week in Coeur d’Alene in August. (Rather wished we’d booked the second for somewhere further away. It was just as smoky there as it was here in Ellensburg...)

Profile Picture: Jeff DippmannThe summer began with a trip to Minnesota to visit family, and spend time with our first grandchild (deliberate and shameless attempt to induce an “aawww…” from each of you). Then it was on to Mt. Baker for a relaxing month with our daughter and some serious writing on two book chapters for the forthcoming Dao Companion to Neo-Daoism (specifically the Chinese Madhyamika influence on Neo-Daoist thought, and reclusion in the Liezi). Finally, to warm up, I spent two weeks in Honolulu at the University of Hawai’i/East West Center, participating (as a student!) in the Infusing Korean Studies into the Undergraduate Curriculum Institute. I am very excited to begin reimagining my courses on Asian religions and philosophies, particularly highlighting the ways in which Korea influenced the development of both Japanese and Chinese Buddhism, not to mention its own unique traditions and practices.

Profile Picture: Lynn Thompson

While in Eugene visiting my partner, we went backpacking in McKenzie Bridge several times, visited with some friends in Portland, did some repairs around the house, and caught plenty of Pokemon. In August we attended Eugene Pride. I helped my friend Keisha, who is an alum of CWU, make some pins for the event, which she sells out of her Etsy shop, ProudColors. When we weren’t crafting and hiking, my partner and I were tucked into the University of Oregon Special Collections Archive working on our respective writing projects.




Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.