Philosophy and Religious Studies

Department Newsletter


Spring 2016

From the Chair - Dr. Matt Altman

Most of you already know that philosophy and religious studies are relevant to our lives and to many of the issues that we confront in contemporary society. So, it should come as no surprise that some of the most important public intellectuals are philosophers and scholars of religion. There are numerous examples: Peter Singer has an article on animal welfare and the pressures of capitalism in the current New York Review of Books. Martha Nussbaum has used her capabilities approach to argue for rights protections and social change in India. Cornel West appears on numerous television and radio programs to discuss race relations and politics in the United States. On the religious studies side, Jean Bethke Elshtain has explored contemporary Christianity in the context of American democracy. Arsalan Iftikhar speaks regularly on Islam and is senior editor for Islamic Monthly magazine. And Pope Francis directly and forcefully addresses issues of global poverty and environmental ethics.

The Philosophy & Religious Studies Department at Central is also working to bring our disciplines to bear on issues of public importance. Dr. Vuong recently moderated a panel on religious diversity and tolerance. Dr. Coe organized a panel on gender, race, and mass incarceration. I bring my background in medical ethics to bear on my work as Commissioner for the local public hospital district. In the fall, we brought back some of our alumni to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement, and two of our alumni will return to give a panel presentation at SOURCE on the professional value of philosophy and religious studies. Dr. Dippmann and Dr. Bartlett are participating in a Worldview Forum panel titled “Is Reality Secular?”All of this is, of course, in addition to regular presentations on our current research.

People sometimes caricature philosophy and religious studies as overly intellectual disciplines that are out of touch with the real world. It’s time to put this myth to rest. Our disciplines are relevant and still very much alive in contemporary society. Let this be a challenge to you as students and alumni: find ways to use your understanding of philosophy and religious studies to educate and engage the wider community.


Spring 2016 Colloquium

Thursday, May 12, 2016
4:30 PM-5:30 PM
Black Hall 151
“Virginity, Marriage, and the Role of Women in the Acts of Thecla and the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena
Dr. Lily Vuong


Movie Night: Memento

Sponsored by the Philosophy & Religious Studies Club
Thursday, May 5, 2016
5:00 PM
Followed by a discussion led by Dr. Coe


End of The Year Barbecue



Come celebrate the end of the year with the faculty and students in the Philosophy & Religious Studies Department!
Thursday, June 2, 5:30-7:30 PM
Dr. Altman & Dr. Coe’s house
(603 E. 4th Ave.)




Celebrating Rae Heimbeck


Raeburne S. Heimbeck passed away peacefully on February 9, 2016 at Cottage in the Meadow, Yakima. He was 85. Rae was born on September 25, 1930 in Rock Island, Ilinois, grew up in Santa Monica, California, and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1948. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Joye Marcoe Heimbeck, in 1953. Rae earned his B.A. (with Great Distinction), majoring in Philosophy and Mediaeval History, from Stanford University in 1952, and his Masters of Divinity (Cum Laude) from Fuller Theological Seminary with concentrations in Theology and Biblical Languages in 1955. Afterwards he returned to Stanford University to earn his Ph.D. in Philosophy and Humanities in 1963, with a dissertation in analytic philosophy of religion. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand while writing his dissertation in 1958-59, and taught in the speech and drama department until his resignation in 1964. He then took a postdoctoral fellowship in Switzerland before undertaking to teach systematic theology at Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (Austin, Texas) in 1965-66.

He came to Central Washington University in 1967 initially to direct the General Honors Program, fell in love with Kittitas Valley, and made Ellensburg his permanent home. He became a professor of humanities and subsequently of philosophy and religious studies in the Department of Philosophy and remained there until his retirement in 1999. For 26 years, he was the only professor teaching and running the religious studies program at the university. He continued to teach courses in the department and the William O. Douglas Honors Program until 2008, and continued to offer lectures on various occasions in the university and the local community. Rae was the first recipient of the William H. Bonsall Visiting Professorship in Humanities at Stanford University in 1976, and was a visiting professor at Anhui University in China in 1985-86, 1988-89, 1997-98, 2004, and 2007. He was awarded the honor of Phi Kappa Phi Scholar of the Year in 1993-94.

Dedicated, erudite, and popular, Rae’s reputation as a professor drew a large following among students in CWU, and his classes sometimes exceeded two hundred students. As a colleague, Rae was pleasant, modest, friendly, upright, and much-loved. He always exercised sound judgment and was willing to do more than his share of work. He was passionate for Chinese and Indian philosophies, religions, and cultures, and he was among the first CWU faculty to go on exchange with Anhui University in China. He was awarded the Huangshan Friendship Award for teaching excellence by the Anhui Provincial Government in 1998. Along with his wife Cindy Krieble, whom he married in 1996, he had generously supported Chinese students in various ways. He also played a key role in the Ellensburg American-Sino community for several decades. Meticulous in scholarship, he was the author of the book, Theology and Meaning, first published in 1969 and then reissued by Routledge in 2013, and coeditor of the highly-rated Classics of Asian Thought by Pearson Prentice Hall in 2006. At the time of his death, he just completed compiling an anthology of his other writings as a conclusion to his academic career.

Rae loved life and lived an active one. He was an avid swimmer, a vibrant cyclist, a skillful yogi, and a global traveler. With generosity and public-spiritedness among his many virtues, Rae was a regular donor to such organizations as Northwest Public Radio, and he endowed the CWU Philosophy & Religious Studies Founding Faculty Scholarship. He is survived by his beloved wife, Cynthia Krieble; sons, Bryn (Yoko) Heimbeck and Reid Heimbeck; grandsons, Morgan (Jennifer) Heimbeck, Devyn, Nicholas, Alexander, and Benjamin; granddaughters, Chiara and Sera; great grandson, Theo; great granddaughter, Keira; and sister, Dandelyn O’Connor. Rae will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and former colleagues.

Gifts in memory of Rae may be made to either Cottage in the Meadow c/o Memorial Fund, 2701 Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA 98902; Philosophy & Religious Studies Founding Faculty Scholarship Fund, Central Washington University Foundation, 400 E. University Way, MS 7508, Ellensburg, WA 98926; or CARE,



Summer 2016 course schedule

PHIL 101. Intro to Philosophy(Online)
PHIL 150. Critical Thinking (Online)
RELS 101. World Religions (Online)
RELS 402. Religion and Film (Online)


Fall 2016 course schedule

PHIL 101. Philosophical Inquiry
PHIL 104. Moral Controversies
PHIL 150. Critical Thinking
PHIL 306. Environmental Ethics
PHIL 324. Philosophy & Science-Fiction
PHIL 352. Greek & Roman Philosophy
PHIL 357. Philosophy of Race
RELS 101. World Religions
RELS 354. Christianity
RELS 401. The Daoist Tradition



Dr. Jeffrey Dippmann
CAH Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Dr. Dippmann’s service nationally, regionally, and communally is extensive and longstanding.Jeff’s service includes his term as the first President of the executive board of the Association of Regional Centers for Asian Studies in 2012; his term as President of the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature from 2006-2007; his term as Program Chair for two Asian Studies Development Programs, in which Professor Dippmann collaborated with the CWU Theatre Arts Department to commission the production “Noh Telling: An Evening of Japanese One-Acts”; his blind peer review work for publishers and professional journals, which since 2008 has included nine manuscript reviews for SUNY and Routledge, frequent reviews for Philosophy East and West, and his current review with China Review International; and work as an external reviewer for a number of different projects within his field.

In addition to his professional service, Jeff has been very active in service to CWU. Jeff served as Chair of the Faculty Senate from 2006-2007 and was a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee from 2004-2008. He joined the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee in 2011, eventually serving as its chair from 2012-2014. Colleagues elected him to a two-year term on the College of Arts and Humanities Personnel Committee. He also served on the Dean’s Observeratory of Diversity Advisory Committee (2012-2014) and the Professional Development Coordinator search committee (2012). CWU’s Foundation invited him annually to act as the faculty representative on the Leonard Thayer Small Grants Review and Awards Committee, and he served as a member of that committee from 2005-2014.
Join us in congratulating Dr. Dippmann on this well-deserved award!



What’s the Philosophy & Religious Studies Club up to?
-Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, April 15-16

The Philosophy & Religious Studies Club attended the Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on April 15-16. At the conference, we met many other philosophers our age and successfully networked. Some of the papers we attended were “War on Terrorism,” “Time and Consciousness: Critiquing Zeno’s Paradoxes through the Lens of Human Perception,” and “The Ethics of Syrian Refugees.” Many of our members are currently working with the person who presented the “War on Terrorism” paper. We were also able to observe a presentation on Ockham’s Razor by Elliot Sober from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. It was a pleasure to hear a prominent philosopher present his work.

One of our members, Summer Aubrey, presented her paper regarding the legality of the Nuremberg Trials. Her presentation sparked great discussion and she received critiques that will help her revise her paper. We are also grateful for the help that the department provided toward funding the trip. Overall, the conference was a great success and we look forward to attending again next year. If anyone is interested in attending this conference or submitting a paper in the future, the Philosophy & Religious Studies Club meets Wednesdays at 5 pm in L&L 106E this quarter.
       -submitted by Summer Aubrey