Brian Treanor received his Ph.D. from Boston College. His teaching and research cover hermeneutics, environmental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and ethics. He is the author or editor of Aspects of Alterity (Fordham, 2006), A Passion for the Possible (Fordham, 2010), Interpreting Nature (Fordham, expected 2012), and Emplotting Virtue (SUNY, expected 2012).
Goethe once observed, “treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” I believe that great professors help their students to become their best selves, and that doing so requires a careful balance of challenge, encouragement, mentoring, and modeling.
My classes tend to be focused on the close reading of primary texts and lively discussions of the ideas therein. I require my students to read both charitably and critically—the former so that they make a genuine attempt to see what a given philosopher thinks in the best possible light, and the latter so that they consider whether or not it is true or good. In my classes, philosophy is never simply about mastering what a given thinker said—although a careful understanding of the position in question is a prerequisite for anything further—but also about considering how various philosophical insights are relevant in the contemporary lives of my students.