March 1, 2018 at 9:45 am

Alumni News | Jordan Says ‘Tough-Minded but Civil Discussion Remains a Fixture of my Life’

Dr. Matthew Jordan talks with a student.

Dr. Matthew Jordan talks with a student.

Matthew Jordan ’99 says “tough-minded but civil discussion of contentious issues remains a fixture of my day-to-day life,” from his days as a philosophy major at Ohio University to his role as Associate Professor of Philosophy and the Director of the Honors Program at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala.

“If my students today are learning to think more deeply and more clearly about important questions, it is in no small measure due to my own experience learning—I hope—to do the same at Ohio University.”

Jordan, who earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University went on to complete his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Ohio State University.

“I came to Ohio University in the fall of 1995 as a broadcast journalism major. My long-term goal was to become a sports and weather guy on the Cleveland evening news. By the beginning of my sophomore year, however, I had decided that journalism was not the field for me,” Jordan says.

“I had developed a keen interest in the Christian religion and was seriously considering a career as a pastor. Majoring in philosophy seemed like a good choice, both for the opportunity it presented to engage with questions about the rational merits of religious belief, and as preparation for seminary.

“By the time I was a senior, however, my career goals had changed. Several years of engaging with the Big Questions about God and morality—with fellow students and with my professors, in the classroom and outside it—had piqued my interest in pursuing a career in the academy. It seemed then, and it seems now, that there was no path I could follow that would be of greater value than helping undergraduates think well about perennial philosophical questions,” Jordan says.

“Two decades later, I recall my experiences as a student at Ohio University and see myriad ways in which they prepared me for my career as a teacher and scholar. I can still remember some of the specific lectures that expanded my intellectual horizons:

  • Dr. Zucker talking about the nature of cognition in Introduction to Philosophy
  • Dr. Bender’s outstanding Introduction to Logic course
  • Dr. Ehrlich’s presentation on the philosophy of science in my senior seminar.

“I remember conversations with …  fellow philosophy majors—on sunny afternoons on College Green and in our dorm rooms late into the night—about the existence of God. I remember lively but civil debates on hot-button issues; being publicly called out by the infamous itinerant preacher Brother Jed, after I’d published an op-ed piece criticizing him in The Post; and friendlier but more rigorous critiques by the faculty who attended the senior research colloquium, where all of the graduating philosophy majors presented samples of their work,” Jordan recalls.

“My studies at Ohio University opened the door for me to complete a master’s degree in philosophy at Biola University, and from there, a Ph.D. in philosophy at Ohio State University.”

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