New faculty profile: Dr. Michael Peterson

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On September 28, 2023

From the desk of Dr. Michael Peterson:

Dr. Michael Peterson, assistant professor of philosophy, is originally from Edmonton, Alberta in the northern Canadian prairies where he was raised in a francophone household. He attended the University of Alberta and after jumping between a few majors and minors graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2011. He then pursued a graduate degree in philosophy at Concordia University, Montreal. There, his studies became focused on environmental policy and European philosophy. In particular, he developed an abiding interest in the philosophical and ethical role played by our thinking of inheritance, especially in environmental contexts.

Dr. Michael Peterson. Photo submitted.

His first paper for a graduate seminar, on nuclear waste disposal policy, became his first presentation at an international conference and eventually his first publication. Michael’s time at Concordia was also his first brush with teaching and he found working with students to be a perfect complement to the sort of philosophical research he was engaged with. Who better than the next generation to help guide his thinking on intergenerational ethics?

After completing a master’s degree in philosophy, Michael moved to Chicago to earn a Ph.D. from DePaul University. While at DePaul, he was able to participate in a number of international philosophy seminars, such as twice being a member of the Derrida Seminar Translation Project hosted at the Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine, in Caen, France.

He later attended the Collegium Phaenomenologicum, in Città di Castello, Italy where he pursued an interest in Italian philosophy that culminated in a funded research semester in Rome to research Antonio Gramsci and learn Italian.

He also participated in the Rachel Carson Center in Munich’s conference on ‘Toxic Time-Scapes’ and his paper there eventually became his second publication.

In each of these spaces, Michael ensured that his conceptual work in the history of philosophy was always being applied to contemporary and practical issues while at the same time insisting that the pressing issues of the day were being informed by the rich history of theoretical philosophy available to us. Michael graduated with his Ph.D. in Philosophy from DePaul in 2022 and worked as an adjunct in Chicago before joining S&T in August 2023.

Michael’s research primarily deals with questions of responsibility in intergenerational contexts. This means asking what contemporary generations owe to each other and could owe to future people who do not yet exist, as well as thinking about enduring institutions and injustice. Using resources from recent European philosophy and existing policy documents, Michael works out just how responsibility is being utilized and justified conceptually and practically. His first monograph, Derrida and Inheritance in Environmental Ethics: The Half-Lives of Responsibility, is currently under contract with Palgrave Macmillan and ought to be available in 2024.

Michael currently teaches Engineering Ethics in the Department of Arts, Languages, and Philosophy. He is thrilled to be surrounded by such a diverse array of brilliant scholars working with common purpose and mutual interest. The opportunity to continue his research among so many working scientists, engineers, and students is a very welcome one and he looks forward to, one by one, getting to know everyone and their research. The generosity and brilliance of S&T’s faculty, staff, and students have been the highlight of his time in Rolla so far.

Michael moved to Rolla from Chicago with his wife, Jenny, and two cats. The natural beauty and friendliness of the town have them enthusiastic about the years to come in Missouri.

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On September 28, 2023. Posted in College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, People

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