Professor Robert W. Hoag
The Henry Mixter Penniman Chair in Philosophy
Division Chair
Berea College

picture of Dr. Hoag

"The right attitude in philosophy is to accept aims we can achieve only fractionally and imperfectly...It means in particular not abandoning the pursuit of truth, even though if you want the truth rather than merely something to say, you will have a good deal less to say. Pursuit of the truth requires more than requires readiness to attack one's own convictions. That is the only way real belief can be arrived at."
    Thomas Nagel.  The View From Nowhere

crest bar


   A.B. in Philosophy (cum laude), Davidson College, 1976
   M.A. in Philosophy, The University of Virginia, 1980
                    Thesis- W.V. Quine and Ontological Commitment
   Ph.D. in Philosophy, The University of Virginia, 1983
                    Thesis- J.S. Mill on Happiness and Morality

Courses and Teaching

Philosophic topics in contemporary social issues (legal, medical, political, national and international); history of political philosophy sequence; foundations of ethics, theories of ethics; philosophy of law, contemporary theories of justice; introduction to philosophy, and introductory reasoning. Also courses in the College's interdisciplinary core curriculum.

Professional Interests

Ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law; contemporary social issues (abortion, capital punishment, religion and the law, free speech, civil disobedience, etc.); John Stuart Mill and consequentialist/utilitarian theory; human rights, international law, and just war theory.


John B. Stephenson Fellowship for Faculty:
"Armed Humanitarian Interventions: Rights, Wrongs, and Recourse to War Principles"
Appalachian College Association, 2008-09

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute:
"War and Morality: Re-thinking the Just War Tradition for the 21st Century"
George Lucas, Director. United States Naval Academy, June, 2004.

Jesse duPont Summer Seminar for Liberal Arts College Faculty:
"Humanitarian Interventions: Legal, Ethical, and Political Dilemmas"
Allen Buchanan and Jeff Holzgrefe, Directors
National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC, June, 2003.

Finalist, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for College Teachers, 1991.
"John Stuart Mill: Happiness, Rules, and Character"

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar:
"The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law."
Joel Feinberg, Director. University of Arizona, 1984.
Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 1982-83.

Honors & Memberships

Phi Beta Kappa
Omicron Delta Kappa
Phi Kappa Phi
American Philosophical Association


Other Interests and Activities

American History, Native American culture and society, golf, tennis, surfing, and good discussions of good books with good friends.


aristotle thinker    " Philosophy, if it cannot answer so many questions as we could wish, has at least the power of asking questions which increases the interest of the world, and shows the strangeness and wonder lying just below the surface even in the commonest things of daily life."
    "Philosophy, the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feelings of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never traveled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect."
    Bertrand Russell. The Problems of Philosophy

Any questions or comments? Send me an...
Additional Contact Information:
 Prof. Robert Hoag
203B Draper Hall
 CPO 2153
Berea College
 Berea, KY 40404
(859) 985-3582
Berea's Home Page PHI/REL Home Page Faculty Index

Web page concept and design by Samuel T. Weddington.
Property of Berea College, 2000.
Last Updated 9/07/2011
    Questions or comments? Email Dr. Jim Butler