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Dana Hathaway, M.A.

Current courses taught (online only beginning Fall 2017): Introduction to Ethics (103); Introduction to Philosophy (101)Past courses taught (on campus): Critical Thinking; Knowledge and Reality; Moral Problems; Civic and Ethical Foundations: With Liberty and Justice for All; Social Change

Areas of Interest:

I’m passionate about revealing philosophy to be relevant and accessible, to everyone and the everyday. At its most basic, philosophy is an exercise in critical thinking and reflection. Just as a structural engineer studies matter and the relationship between different materials, philosophy is conceptual engineering: the study of ideas/opinions/conclusions and the relationship between different assertions or propositions in establishing those ideas/opinions/conclusions. When one earns a Ph.D., they have earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in their field of study. This means, presumably, they have delved so deep into a particular area of study that they have become a philosopher of that subject or, at least, have spent years thinking philosophically (it is hoped) about that subject. Notice there are a few caveats. Being a philosopher is about action, process, and practice; it’s only a noun if it’s also a well-practiced verb.

As with most things in life, what you get out of a philosophy course will correlate with what you put in. Like going to the gym, simply showing up will not get you the results you want (if you are aiming to “get in shape”). You must break a sweat and challenge yourself to achieve something meaningful. Some students are disappointed when they realize Philosophy class is not an easy A. Most students, however, are surprised to learn that philosophy is way more intriguing than anticipated. Most importantly, the knowledge is practical and when applied well can be useful to one’s own personal and professional life. Your education here will inform the rest of your life. Do it well! And as Bill and Ted (and Aristotle) advise, be excellent to each other!


I grew up in Boise and attended my first year of college at Boise State. I’ve been teaching Philosophy at Boise State since 2014, and before that taught at the University of Idaho from 2012-2014. I have an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy (double major) from the University of Utah and a graduate degree in those same disciplines from Portland State University. I am most interested in social, political, and moral philosophy and have never regretted putting my time and energy into this focus: it is all around us 24/7! I moved back to the Portland area in 2016 but remain very enthusiastic about teaching Philosophy at Boise State. In addition to teaching at Boise State, I spend my time working as a Civil Rights Policy Analyst for the Oregon Department of Education, putting my education and skills to work outside the hallowed halls of academia. Aside from my work, I’m a lover of many other things including the great outdoors, my family, music, and cooking and eating glorious food.