Dr. Glen Koehn
"We all do a certain amount of philosophizing on our own; we consider what is meaningful and valuable in our lives. I think philosophy helps us understand ourselves more clearly."
This is why Huron assistant philosophy professor Glen Koehn seeks to provide students with the means to truly understand themselves and their surroundings. "To a large extent, students have to find out for themselves what is valuable for their own purposes," he says. "I try to give them some tools to help them think about this on their own."
A common concern of students--how is philosophy relevant to today's way of life? "In many ways, today's students aren't very different from the students of two thousand years ago," says Koehn. "They want to be happy, they want to excel, and they want to make judgments about what things are and aren't valuable. Understanding value judgments can help us think more clearly about what is good and what isn't."
Koehn believes that learning about philosophy can be beneficial to those not pursuing a career in the subject. "A lot of people find the critical thinking skills promoted by philosophy useful in disciplines such as law or medicine. Studying philosophy is valuable in more than one direction."
His experience living and teaching in the Far East for a number of years has led to an appreciation for philosophy of different cultures. From 1996 to 2003 he lived in South Korea, teaching in Korean universities and also for the University of Maryland. There he developed an interest in various Indian and Chinese intellectual traditions. Although Koehn primarily teaches logic and Greek philosophy, he has also taught a course in Asian philosophy at Huron, a good fit within the department's breadth of subjects.
When he is not teaching, Dr. Koehn also acts a faculty liaison officer for Huron's Refugee Program. Each year Huron sponsors a foreign student in cooperation with WUSC (the World University Service of Canada). Selected individuals from a refugee background arrive in Canada to study at the College and in some cases have later gone on to distinguish themselves in academic and nonacademic fields. "I'm proud to be associated with this generous effort of the Huron student body," says Koehn.