Humanities and Arts
Salisbury Laboratories, 109
Jennifer McWeeny is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Humanities and Arts Department. Her training in philosophy is pluralistic in nature, engaging work from a variety of schools and traditions including Continental philosophy, analytic philosophy, feminist philosophy, and Asian and comparative philosophies. This creative approach is premised on the idea that juxtaposing diverse perspectives often yields deeper philosophical insights than do tradition-specific methods.
In her research, Professor McWeeny primarily studies the role that our embodiment plays in the production of knowledge and perception. Her research program aims to provide a robust account of embodied cognition at the levels of intentionality, emotion, consciousness, and perception. She is especially interested in theorizing the cognitive aspects of pre-reflective experience; considering the ways that placing different kinds of bodies at the center of philosophical analysis alters our traditional accounts of phenomena; and analyzing how the categories of gender, race, sexuality, and species emerge in experience as a primary means of categorizing and understanding bodies. The philosophers that she most admires are Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Margaret Cavendish, and Maria Lugones. She also has professional interests in literature, neuroscience, and Gestalt therapy.
Professor McWeeny’s approach to teaching philosophy grows from the idea that philosophy at its best is a dynamic practice and a way of thinking and living, rather than a static body of facts, theories, and terms. She believes that a course should be structured around the students who take it and she works to uncover her students’ most deeply-held beliefs so that they can be submitted to philosophical examination. Professor McWeeny also believes that students thrive when they are challenged intellectually. Characteristic of Professor McWeeny’s pedagogy is an express commitment to engage multiple levels of philosophical diversity in the best tradition of liberal arts education. To this end, she makes a point to represent a wide variety of thinkers and philosophical positions in her course designs, especially in terms of intellectual traditions, geographic regions, genders, races, cultures, and social locations. Moreover, she provides students with ample opportunities to explore the course material from different cognitive angles: intellectually, pragmatically, emotionally, and experientially/phenomenologically.
Before coming to WPI in 2012, Professor McWeeny was Associate Professor of philosophy at John Carroll University where she taught a wide-range of courses in non-Western philosophies, epistemology, philosophy of mind, feminist philosophy, Continental philosophy, and the history of philosophy. She is currently working on a book project on embodied phenomenology and looking forward to sharing philosophical conversations and intellectual collaborations with her WPI students.
- Phenomenology and Continental philosophy
- Philosophy of mind
- Feminist philosophy
- Epistemology and philosophy of science
- Asian and comparative philosophy
- BA, Biology and Philosophy (double-major), The Colorado College, 1998
- MA, Philosophy, University of Hawai’i, Manoa, 2000
- MA, French Language and Literature, University of Oregon, 2003
- Graduate Certificate, Women's and Gender Studies, University of Oregon, 2003
- PhD, Philosophy, University of Oregon, 2005
- “The Feminist Phenomenology of Excess: Ontological Multiplicity, Auto-Jealousy, and Suicide in Beauvoir’s L’Invitée,” Continental Philosophy Review 45:1 (2012): 41-75.
- “Sounding Depth with the North Atlantic Right Whale and Merleau-Ponty: An Exercise in Comparative Phenomenology,” Journal for Critical Animal Studies 9:1-2 (2011): 144-166.
- “Princess Elisabeth’s Mind-Body Problem,” in Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy, ed. Michael Bruce and Steve Barbone, 297-300 (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).
- “Liberating Anger, Embodying Knowledge: A Comparative Study of María Lugones and Zen Master Hakuin,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 25:2 (Spring 2010): 295 -315.
- “Origins of Otherness: Non-conceptual Ethical Encounters in Beauvoir and Levinas,” Simone de Beauvoir Studies 26 (2009-2010): 5-17.
- Participant in the 2012 National Endowment for Humanities Seminar "Investigating Consciousness: Buddhist and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives"
- Former Executive Secretary of the Eastern Division of the Society for Women in Philosophy
- Member of the Feminist Philosophy Advisory Board to the Pluralist Guide in Philosophy
- HU 3900. INQUIRY SEMINAR IN HUMANITIES AND ARTS
- PY 1731. INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
- PY 2711. PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES OF KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY
- PY 2716. PHILOSOPHY OF DIFFERENCE
- PY 3711. TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY
- PY 3731. PROBLEMS IN ETHICS AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY
- RE 1731. INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
- RE 3731. PROBLEMS IN ETHICS AND SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY