At Missouri S&T, Dr. Ross Channing Reed is surrounded by future scientists, entrepreneurs and engineers. But they all have one thing in common – the chance to study philosophy and ethics courses to shape their future efforts.
“Philosophy is the oldest human intellectual discipline, and it is the parent discipline of all others,” says Reed, a lecturer in arts, languages, and philosophy at Missouri S&T. “All higher education should include the significant study of philosophy, regardless of major. Even after 38 years of teaching philosophy, I am still excited when students experience the thrill of freedom that comes over them when they ‘find’ the subject of philosophy.”
Reed’s new book aims to better introduce university students to the field and study of philosophy. “Mindscapes: A Short Introduction to Philosophy,” published by Kendall Hunt Publishing, is Reed’s seventh book.
“Mindscapes, to me, signifies the broad vista that is philosophy: we necessarily think about what we perceive through the filter of the mind – an infinite, vast system of neural networks that is unparalleled by anything in the known universe,” says Reed. “Recognition of this filter and how it mediates, distorts, and falsifies the way we perceive the world has been referred to as the ‘subjective turn’ in philosophy. And we, as reflective beings, have come to understand through science that the separation between mind and body is merely conceptual, and that being and knowing are two aspects of the same fundamental reality – the opportunities for exploring this are unlimited.”
In the first chapter, Reed’s book asks readers to consider if they are philosophers and continues from that question. Topics covered in the book include what philosophy is and topics the field incorporates, how to apply philosophy to everyday situations to look at the world in a different way, how to better get to know yourself, and how to critically read philosophical texts such as Euthyphro by Plato.
“A philosopher is someone who takes up and addresses the fundamental problems of human existence – embodiment, mortality, love, addiction, truth, relationships, reason, destiny, time, meaning and ethical questions,” says Reed. “There are no questions that are out of bounds. If there were, philosophers would tackle them anyway.”
Reed earned a Ph.D. in philosophy with specialization in existentialism and phenomenology from Loyola University Chicago in 1994. His areas of research concentration include existentialism, ethics, philosophical psychology, philosophy of religion and addiction. He has been in private practice as a philosophical counselor since 1998.
Reed is currently working on another new book, tentatively titled “Precarity and Trauma: Philosophical Counseling in the Late Anthropocene,” and he hopes to have it published sometime in 2025.
“In our society, crisis has become for many a permanent condition and life is accelerating at a pace that outstrips our ability to process and respond,” says Reed. “To respond collectively and as individuals, we need philosophy. We need philosophy not only to understand who we are and our place in the world, but to understand the ethical and philosophical implications of our technologies.
“Technology itself won’t give us these answers; they can only be found in philosophy,” Reed says. “Philosophy gives us the opportunity to decide what kind of world we want to live in and to create that world. All college students, even the future scientists and engineers, should have the wonderful and life-changing opportunity to study philosophy. The future of our world depends upon them doing so.”
About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.