Nicholas J Dixon
Chair & Dykstra Professor of Philosophy
Joined Alma College Faculty in 1986
Office Hours: MW 1.20-2.20; TTh 11.30-12.30; F 9.25-10.25
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My goal is to make philosophy interesting and accessible to all students, including those who take just a single class in the subject in order to fulfill a graduation requirement. Philosophy requires hard work—the careful analysis of philosophers' complex arguments and writing cogent, well constructed papers—and open-mindedness, which amounts to being prepared to abandon long-held views that do not survive critical scrutiny. I try to model both of these qualities in my teaching. I believe that interaction is crucial to philosophy and to learning. To that end, I encourage extensive class discussion and give plentiful written feedback on papers. While there are few if any widely accepted philosophical truths, and even the unlikeliest positions have attracted philosophical defenders, it is important to avoid a lazy, "anything goes" relativism. I aim to help students formulate and defend their own views on philosophical debates by leading them to face up and respond to the most powerful objections.
Most of my research, like the majority of my teaching, falls under the umbrella of "applied ethics." I give conference presentations and publish journal articles on such fields as social philosophy, medical ethics, and philosophy of sport. I edited Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 2002-6 and prior to that was president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport. I consider myself very lucky to get paid to do two things that I love: teaching and writing philosophy.
- Ph.D., Philosophy, Michigan State University
- M.A., Philosophy, Michigan State University
- B.A., Philosophy, University of Leeds
Social Philosophy, Virtue Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Medical Ethics, Philosophy of Sport
- Nicholas J Dixon. "A Critique of Violent Retaliation in Sport." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. 2010. 37. 1. 1-10. May 1, 2010.
- Nicholas Dixon. "Why Mainstream Conservatives Should Support Government-Mandated Universal Health Care," International Journal of Applied Philosophy." International Journal of Applied Philosophy. 2009.23.1.1-15 2009.
- Nicholas J Dixon. "Performance-Enhancing Drugs, Paternalism, Meritocracy, and Harm to Sport." Journal of Social Philosophy. 2008. XXXIV. 2. 246-68 2008.
- Nicholas J Dixon. "Trash Talking as Irrelevant to Athletic Excellence: Response to Summers." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. 2008. XXXV. 1. 90-96 2008.
- Nicholas J Dixon. "Romantic Love, Appraisal, and Commitment." The Philosophical Forum. 2007. 38. 4. 373-86 2007.
- Nicholas J Dixon. "Sport, Parental Autonomy, and Children's Right to an Open Future." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. 2007. XXXIV. 2. 147-59. 2007.
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- "Can We Romantically Love More Than One Person at the Same Time?." Canadian Philosophical Association. Concordia University, Montreal. May 30-June 2, 2010.
- "A Critique of Sanctioned Violence in Sport." International Association for the Philosophy of Sport. Seattle, WA. August 27-30, 2009.
- "Disability, Misfortune, and Parenting Decisions." Canadian Philosophical Association. Ottawa, ON. May 25-28, 2009.
- "Trash Talking as Irrelevant to Athletic Excellence: Response to Summers." International Association for the Philosophy of Sport session, American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting. Chicago, IL. April 17-19, 2008.
- "Performance-Enhancing Drugs, Paternalism, Meritocracy, and Harm to Sport." Invited Colloquium, Ball State University. Muncie, IN. April 8, 2008.
- "Children's Autonomy, Parental Rights, and Sport." Children, Sport and Physical Activity: Philosophical Dimensions. University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. May 30-June 1, 2007.
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Awards, Honors, Recognitions
- Outstanding Faculty Award, Humanities Division, 2007, 2004
- Faculty Barlow Award, 1997
- International Association for the Philosophy of Sport
- Canadian Philosophical Association
- American Philosophical Association