Welcome. You've landed on Dr. Eric Thomas Weber's homepage.
I am Associate Professor of Public Policy Leadership and Affiliated Faculty Member in Philosophy at the University of Mississippi. Since June of 2010 I've been an occasional freelance columnist for The Clarion Ledger of Jackson, MS, the state's major newspaper. I earned my Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2007 and have been teaching since 2002.
I serve as Executive Director of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). From 2011 to 2014, I served as Chair of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Public Philosophy, whose Web site you can visit here. Since 2013, I have been a member of the Advisory Board for the Public Philosophy Network and I am currently chairing the Program Committee for the group's 2015 conference. Finally, I have been chairing the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy's Committee on Public Philosophy since its inception in 2013.
As a scholar, teacher, and citizen, I make the greatest use I can of philosophical inquiry and clear, persuasive communication for the advancement of freedom, opportunity, and respect for my fellow citizens in a number of areas. These include quality public education and life opportunities for poor and disabled persons. I study and write about intelligent, democratic inquiry into the practices and principles of ethical and visionary leadership. My writing, teaching, and public engagements all relate to these goals in one way or another.
I have put this site together in order to post information for students, scholars, news writers, and community leaders. Information about my research can be found under the "Writings" link at the top of this page. For my curriculum vitae, visit the "Bio" page. For information about my teaching experience, current courses, and students' success, visit the "Teaching" link. For information on my efforts to connect my research with projects and organizations beyond my university, visit my "Public Engagement" page. To follow me on Twitter, click here or on the logo on the right. Connect with me also on LinkedIn and Academia.edu. You can now also follow me on Facebook:
In this section, I am excited to announce a number of projects and engagements that have gone well in the last year. These items are listed from most recent to oldest. I also catalog much of this stuff in the content of my other Web pages linked to at the top of this page.
In January of 2015, the University of Mississippi released an announcement about the 2015 Mississippi Humanities Council's Public Humanities Award, for which my work was selected. Kelley Norris wrote a lovely and encouraging announcement.
In December 2014, the Philosophy Department at the University of Mississippi voted unanimously to make me an Affiliated Faculty Member in Philosophy. When I first arrived in Oxford in 2007, I learned of the university's general reluctance to offer departmental affiliations. I am glad to see the change, as I believe that it is likely to prompt greater collaborations across departments and to make students in each department more aware of faculty around campus who can be resources for their projects.
Also in December of 2014, I published an op-ed titled "The Promise of Prison Education," which was its title in the online version. In the print edition, the piece was titled "Inmates Need to be Humanized Through Education." The piece came out on Sunday, December 21st, 2014 on page 5C.
Also in December 2014, I heard that the Mississippi Humanities Council selected my work for the 2015 Public Humanities Scholar award, which is a great honor. There will be an awards ceremony on February 13, 2015 at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, MS. The announcement is on the MHC's Web site. It is also featured on the University of Mississippi's College of Liberal Arts web site, to which the photo on right links also. If the page goes down for any reason, you can click here for a printable PDF version of the announcement.
In November of 2014, I learned that my essay, "Converging on Culture: Rawls, Rorty, and Dewey on Culture's Role in Justice," will be published in Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism. This essay is a free-standing version of a piece that I will edit into a chapter of my book in progress, A Culture of Justice. This month I also received the copyedits of my essay forthcoming in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, titled "Lessons from America's Public Philosopher." It is likely that the culture piece will come out in late 2014 and that the public philosophy essay will be published in 2015.
In October 2014, I had five great experiences and opportunities. The first was the chance to head to College Station, TX, where I spent a few days as a Visiting Scholar and delivered a presentation on my work in progress, A Culture of Justice. My focus was on a key piece of the project titled "Impediments to a Culture of Justice." I was there from Tuesday, September 30 to Saturday, October 4th. I'm especially grateful to Dr. Tommy Curry, Dr. Greg Pappas, Dr. Claire Katz, Dr. Chris Menzel, and Dr. Gary Varner (faculty directory), as well as to a number of grad students I had the chance to meet, including especially Rocio Alvarez, Patrick Anderson, Alex Haitos, and Dalitso Ruwe (grad directory).
Next, I had the chance to teach a philosophy class in a course organized by Louis Bourgeois of Vox Press, Inc. (Oxford, MS), for inmates in Parchman Prison. I met Louis when he taught his first class at Parchman, supported by funds from the Mississippi Humanities Council. The MHC asked me to serve as his grant evaluator and I was blown away. It was a remarkable experience. Once the eval was in and when he started a second class, he invited me to lead a meeting. So, I talked about Epictetus's stoic philosophy with inmates - students - at Parchman. These men are bright and were well-prepared and eager. They were wonderful to talk with and their reactions to Epictetus's philosophy were mature, thoughtful, and perspicacious. I felt very lucky to talk with them. The MS Department of Corrections talked about Louis's first class (see page 20) and referenced my evaluation, and The Clarion Ledger of Jackson, MS wrote recently about a few budding initiatives including Louis's. In the latter piece, Jerry Mitchell mentions the stoicism meeting in Bourgeois's class, which I'm excited to say was the meeting I led. I plan on writing an op-ed about the potential and value of educating inmates soon.
The next two developments in October took place on the same trip to Georgia. I received a grant from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to travel to another SEC school for research purposes, and it funded my trip to the University of Georgia, in Athens, GA. On the way, I stopped first in Atlanta, where I got to see some family and also some friends and new contacts at Georgia Tech. I gave a talk for the Grand Challenges course, a program run by Georgia Tech's Leadership Education and Development office, run by Dr. Wes Wynens.
While I managed to forget to remind the course's instructors to snap a few photos of the talk, I snagged one of the room before I began - on right. The talk was tailored and retitled for the group: "Democracy and Leadership: Leading in Science and Technological Innovation," and delivered on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014. Maybe I'll remember to ask for a few photos next time. The class has roughly 100 students in it, though I don't know how many were there that day. The talk was really well received, though, and the group was bright and energetic. They are all working on their plans to complete a project for applying their skills to some grand challenge for leadership. I was able, therefore, to illustrate what I had to say about leadership with reference to the various exciting projects that they're working on. It was a lot of fun.
Then, on Friday, October 24th, I met with members of the Philosophy Department at UGA, where I talked about my book in progress, A Culture of Justice. The professors and graduate students who came had great challenges, questions, and comments for me to think about as I finish the book over the next few months.
Finally, on October 29th, I received word that PPL student Christine Dickason's paper from my PPL 300 course, on Ethics and Public Policy, has been published in the undergraduate philosophy journal, Acta Cogitata. This is a very big deal and we're all proud of Christine and her great work. Her paper is titled "America's Schools: Separate and Unequal," and was published in Issue 2 of the journal, released in October of 2014, pages 13-20. You can download a PDF of the file here.
In September, I finished work on the revisions for Uniting Mississippi, incorporating reviewer's comments and insights. I also finished work on revisions to my paper forthcoming in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 2015, titled "Lessons from America's Public Philosopher." I will eventaully edit that essay and extend it to serve as the introduction to my edited collection on Dewey's public writings (described below and on my writings page.).
August of 2014 held four exciting developments for me. The latest is the publication of an op-ed interview I gave for the Tehran Times, titled "Political Discourse Can Only Be Efficacious If It Is Free: Expert," on August 25, 2014, in the International section.
Another simple one is that I found a great piece of history online for just a few bucks -- the first day issuance of the John Dewey stamp in the "Prominent Americans" series of 1968. Dewey's stamp was marked at 30 cents. The thumbnail photo on the right is a scan of the actual envelope I purchased on Ebay, with a link to a high quality larger photo scan of it.
The third development is that the reviews came back to the editor at the University Press of Mississippi for my manuscript, tentatively titled Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South. The editor will approach the press's board to request permission to issue a contract for the book! The reviewers' feedback was very helpful and will guide me in improving the final manuscript.
The fourth development concerns America's Public Philosopher, John Dewey, the edited collection that I've been working on for a few years. I've completed my selection of Dewey's public writings and have written introductions for each one. I'm nearly done drafting the introduction for the book and have begun discussions with my literary agent, John Wright, about pitching and placing the book with the right publisher. So far, we've received initial interest from Penguin Books, which is very exciting.
On July 5th, 2014, The Tehran Times published an interview with me titled "Leadership Is Not in Conflict with Democratic Values: Weber," pages 1 and 11. A one-page digital collage of the article is here.
On May 20, 2014, The Tehran Times published an interview with me titled "Potential for Democracy in Mideast Is Highly Promising: Philosopher," pages 1 (above the fold, I'm happy to say) and 11. A one-page digital collage of the article is here, and you can see the original pages (1 & 11) here.
In May of 2014, I gave an invited talk for the 2014 Mississippi Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators conference, which was held in Natchez, MS.
In the spring of 2014, I learned that two of my books were nominated for a total of three awards, and my research as a whole was nominated for the University of Mississippi's 2014 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award. I emphasized the word "nominated" (they're not yet decided / announced).
The nominations alone are very much appreciated and meaningful. My second book, Morality, Leadership, and Public Policy, was nominated for (1) the American Philosophical Association's 2014 Joseph B. Gittler Award. My third book, Democracy and Leadership, was nominated for two awards: (2) the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Book Award issued by the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Educational Sciences, and (3) the American Philosophical Association's 2014 Sanders Book Prize. There is information about the (4) University of Mississippi's Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award here. I am grateful for these supportive nominations.
In March and April of 2014, I gave two talks. The first one was on March 17th at the University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis, MN, where I talked about "Democracy and Leadership." The second talk was titled "Philosophy's Bite: On the Boundary between Scholarship and Public Engagement," which I delivered on April 5th at the American Philosophies Forum, hosted by SUNY Stony Brook at their Manhattan campus in New York City.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to call me at 662.915.1336. My full contact information is as follows: