Assistant Professor of Humanities
School of Arts and Sciences
Office: CLR 103
B.A., Columbia College
M.A., S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook
Ph.D., S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook
Phil Weiss teaches a variety of philosophy and religion courses. He annually offers Introduction to Philosophy, World Religions, Contemporary Moral Issues, and Philosophies of Social Justice. On a rotating basis, he offers American Philosophy, Asian Thought, and Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People. He developed and teaches, along with Ellie Friedland, the general education capstone course, Trying Socrates.
He was the recipient of the Cynthia Longfellow Teaching Recognition Award in 1987. Phil also serves as the religious leader of Congregation B'nai Brith of Somerville. His central philosophical interests are in metaphysics, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. In recent years, he has been studying major figures in the history of Jewish philosophy (like Bahya Ibn Pakuda, Saadia Gaon, Moses Maimonides, and Chasdai Crescas) and kabbalah, as well as major American philosophers (like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Alfred North Whitehead, and Josiah Royce). He has an abiding admiration for Plato and for Friedrich Nietzsche.
Weiss is the author of two articles about the metaphysics of possibility: "Possibility: Three Recent Ontologies," International Philosophical Quarterly, June 1980, and "Possibility: Temperament and Argument," in Marsoobian, Wallace and Corrington, eds, Nature's Perspectives: Prospects for Ordinal Metaphysics, S.U.N.Y Press, 1991. Four collections of his sermons for the Days of Awe have been published by Congregation B'nai Brith: Awesome!, More Awe!, God-Awful!, and Awe Shucks!.