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Kris Phillips - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Kris Phillips Kris Phillips

Assistant Professor of Philosophy | Southern Utah University


Specializing in epistemology, metaphysics, individual variation, and the philosophy of religion, mind, dance, and education



Dr. Kris Phillips is an assistant professor of philosophy at Southern Utah University whose primary research includes early modern philosophy, specifically the work of Rene Descartes. He is published in several philosophy journals and is author of a forthcoming article on the pedagogy of the philosophy of dance. He is co-editor of the book, “Arrested Development & Philosophy,” a philosophical analysis of the cult hit television show.

Before joining SUU in 2014, Phillips taught at Northern Michigan University. He is co-founder of two high-school summer programs for students interested in philosophy: the Iowa Lyceum and the Utah Lyceum. He is engaged in projects surrounding the philosophies of education, mind, dance, and popular culture.

Dr. Phillips earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in philosophy from Western Michigan University. He went on to get a second master’s degree and Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Iowa. A long-time member of the American Philosophical Association, Dr. Phillips serves on the APA's pre-college instruction in philosophy committee, and the curriculum committee for the APA/PLATO's (Philosophical Learning and Teaching Organization) AP Philosophy Course.





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Major Decisions: Philosophy SUU: A Community of Caring Meet Our Professors: Kris Phillips, Philosophy


Industry Expertise (2)

Education/Learning Research

Areas of Expertise (11)

Pre-College Philosophy History of Modern Philosophy Logic Individual Variation Philosophy of Mind Philosophy Metaphysics Philosophy of Education Philosophy of Dance Epistemology Philosophy of Religion

Accomplishments (3)

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Early Career Award (professional)

Awarded by Southern Utah University.

Most Valuable Professor (professional)

Awarded by Southern Utah University Athletics.

Council on Teaching Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (professional)

Awarded by University of Iowa.

Education (4)

Central Michigan University: B.S., Philosophy

Western Michigan University: M.A., Philosophy

University of Iowa: M.A., Philosophy

University of Iowa: Ph.D., Philosophy

Affiliations (6)

  • Student Assessment Intervention Team
  • American Philosophical Association
  • APA Committee for Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy (APA CPIP)
  • Philosophical Learning And Teaching Organization (PLATO)
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society
  • Allies on Campus

Media Appearances (4)

High school students learn how to think at ‘Utah Lyceum’

St. George News  online


How many high schoolers today, or for that matter people in general, are adept at wrestling with such topics as good versus evil, what is necessary for morality to function properly and whether values are universal or differ from person to person? These issues and many more were tackled by a group of 17 high school students at Southern Utah University last week at the “Utah Lyceum,” a five-day philosophy summer camp for students ages 13 and older.

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WSW: Are Liberal Arts a Moral Obligation?

WMUK  online


"Kristopher Phillips says we have a moral obligation to study the liberal arts. The assistant professor of philosophy at Southern Utah University will make his case Thursday, March 16, at Western Michigan University..."

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Bojack Horseman and the Danger of the Partially Examined Life

AndPhilisophy.com  online


Bojack Horseman is a Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Netflix cartoon project that is in many ways deeply confusing. The show follows the titular character, a washed-up former sit-com actor who happens to be a cartoon horse. Bojack Horseman offers a different feel from most cartoons. We find out immediately that Bojack is struggling with crippling depression, alcoholism, serial self-sabotage, and a lifetime of emotional abuse from his mother. There is a lot we can learn from Bojack himself. He is the perfect example of a person (?) who could really benefit from a little philosophical reflection, but is likely turned off by it due to those few moments of lucidity wherein he finds himself most miserable. We intend to discuss the ways in which Bojack’s approach to post Horsin’ Around life exemplifies the dangers that self-knowledge can have. In Simone de Beauvoir’s autobiography Force of Circumstance she warns that “Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.” While Bojack does have moments of self knowledge, he has been beaten down so consistently that he has learned to shut it off and has lost the courage to “fight” for happiness.

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Vigil Planned in Memory of Orlando Victims

The Spectrum News  online


Members of the Southern Utah University Allies on Campus are holding a candlelight vigil on Thursday to mourn the 49 people killed by a lone gunman. Kris Phillips, assistant professor of philosophy and co-chair of Allies on Campus, agreed that the Orlando tragedy has impacted far more than the LGBT community in every state.

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Articles (4)

Guest post by Kristopher G. Phillips on the Lyceum Program for High Schoolers Philosophical Percolations

Kristopher Phillips

I’ve been teaching high school students a week’s worth of philosophy each summer for the past three years, and I’ve had tremendous success doing it. I suspect that my experiences are probably not representative of how all high schoolers would respond for a number of reasons that I’ll outline later, but given the trend toward commodifying education and turning universities into STEM trade-schools, I think that exposing students to philosophy before college is increasingly important.

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Non-Canonical Texts and Teaching the History of Modern Philosophy: Why We Might as Well Go Ahead and Abandon the Survey – Part I Journal of the APA


There has also been significant discussion regarding the appropriate way to incorporate underrepresented figures in our Modern philosophy classes. Expanding the canon introduces a challenge not entirely unfamiliar to any teacher: how do we cover all the material that deserves attention in one semester? I am still relatively new to teaching philosophy (I am in my third year of a tenure-track position, and my fourth year of full-time teaching), but I have a modest proposal to help address this challenge.

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Non-Canonical Texts and Teaching the History of Modern Philosophy: Why We Might as Well Go Ahead and Abandon the Survey – Part II Journal of the APA


In this post I will describe my experience with this approach, outline its virtues and the challenges I faced. Additionally, I will offer some of the feedback my students gave me about the course, and ways in which I intend to improve the class in future iterations. In effect, I hope to offer a template for how to effectively abandon the modern survey.

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The Kids are Alright: Philosophical Dialogue and the Utah Lyceum Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice

Kristopher G. Phillips


This paper serves as a call to philosophers both to create more precollege philosophy programs, and to push back against the instrumentalization of the value of philosophy.

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Courses (10)

PHIL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy

This course introduces some of the themes, works, figures, and topics in the Western philosophical tradition. It explores questions involving value, human nature, knowledge, and rationality.

PHIL 1250 Reasoning and Rational Decision Making

Students discuss and explore some of the methods and principles that distinguish logically good reasoning from bad. They learn how to use formal systems to recognize, construct, and evaluate every-day argumentation.

PHIL 3011 Philosophy of Religion

This course examines arguments for and against the existence of God. In doing so, students explore questions such as: what is the nature of God? Is divine foreknowledge consistent with human freedom? How do we evaluate testimony regarding religious matters? Do reason and logic matter when it comes to religion?

PHIL 3300 Theory of Knowledge

This course examines epistemology, accounts of knowledge. Topics include belief, opinion, justification, common sense, faith, skepticism, truth, and error.

PHIL 3400 Mind, Language & Reality

This course examines issues in metaphysics. Topics include causation, determinism, consciousness, artificial intelligence, language, and reality.

PHIL 4010 Senior Seminar

A capstone course for philosophy majors that surveys a central philosophical problem(s). Prerequisite: Successful completion of one course in each area of the major.

PHIL 4120 History of Modern Philosophy

Examines Modern Philosophy through the works of Bacon, Descartes, Kant, the empiricists, and the rationalists.

PHIL 4850 Independent Research

This course is an independent study with a professor on an approved topic.

HONR 1040 Foundations of Honors

Students are introduced to and explore the fundamental skill-sets required to succeed as students at Southern Utah University and in the SUU Honors Program by developing an understanding of the complete student experience at college and the interdisciplinary nature of an Honors education. The class emphasizes seminar-style discussions and teamwork, develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, and explore issues related to holistic student heath and well being.

HONR 2010/4010 Dialogue in the Disciplines

Students study a specific topic or theme. Communication and general analytical skills are stressed. Students are required to attend selected Convocation presentations.