Author Archives: Kleiner

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

Republican intellectual roots

Please join the Institute of Government and Politics for a lecture today given by Matt Lewis titled, “How can the Republican Party return to its intellectual roots?”  Today (March 22), at 12:30pm in the Perry Pavilion on the 4th floor of the new Huntsman Hall.

Matt Lewis foxley

Causation lecture

The USU Philosophy Club is pleased to welcome back USU alum Mike Otteson.  Mr Otteson graduated from USU 4 years ago and is now pursuing his PhD in philosophy at the University of Kansas.

Mr Otteson will be presenting a lecture titled “The End of Humean Supremacy and the Return of Aristotle: The Rebirth of Causal Powers.”  I take it the paper will consider neo-aristotelian responses to Humean skepticism about causation.  Should be very interesting!

Thursday, January 14, 4:00-5:00 in Main 201.  All are welcome!

Undergrad publishing opportunity



Stance seeks original philosophical papers authored by current undergraduates.

Submission Guidelines:

Stance welcomes papers concerning any philosophical topic. Current undergraduates may submit a paper between 1500 and 3500 words in length (footnotes may extend the word limit 500 words at most). Stance asks that each undergraduate only submit one paper for the journal per year. Papers should avoid unnecessary technicality and strive to be accessible to the widest possible audience without sacrificing clarity or rigor. They are evaluated on the following criteria: depth of inquiry, quality of research/academic rigor, creativity, lucidity, struggle, significance, and, most importantly, originality.

Submission Procedures:

Manuscripts should be in Microsoft Word (.doc) format and sent as an attachment to

Manuscripts should be double-spaced (including quotations, excerpts, and footnotes)

The right margin should not be justified

To facilitate our anonymous review process, submissions are to be prepared for anonymous review. Include a cover page with the author’s name, affiliation, title, and email address. Papers, including footnotes, should have no other identifying markers.

Footnotes should follow Chicago Manual of Style. A style sheet with examples is available on our website under More about Stance – Information for Authors.

Please use American spellings and punctuation, except when directly quoting a source that has followed British style.

For further concerns, please visit Stance on the web at or contact us at

DEADLINE: December 11, 2015

Fact Checking Marco Rubio’s criticism of philosophy

Politicians from Cruz to Obama have been hard on liberal arts majors of late.  The idea they are peddling is that it is a bad idea to major in a liberal art – and to use public dollars to support people doing so – since these are not useful degrees in the job market.  So a lot of the old “degrees to nowhere” business.

Last night at the debate, Marco Rubio took a shot at philosophers in particular, saying, “Welders make more money than philosophers.  We need more welders than philosophers.”

I thought it would be worth fact checking this claim.  Two sources:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for welders is $37,420.  The median wage for philosophy instructors is $63,630.

According to pay, the mid-career average salary of a person who majored in philosophy (but is not necessarily a philosophy instructor) is $85,000.  (This excludes philosophy majors who went on to any sort of graduate school like law or a PhD, many of whom are likely to be making more than folks with just a bachelors). did not provide a mid career earning for welders, but says that total earnings for welders ranges from $26,000 to $63,000.  So even if we assumed that by mid career all welders are making the highest end salary in their industry, they are making less than your average philosophy major.

So fact checking Rubio’s claim: Rubio is simply wrong.

Sadly, most of our politicians on both the left and the right simply do not understand the value of a liberal education and do not know what sorts of skills (“soft skills”, communication and critical thinking skills) are most valued in the 21st century job marketplace.

Spring 2016 Course offerings

Some course offerings of note for Spring 2016.

Kleiner will teach his usual slate of lower division courses, but will also teach thebilbobaggins-smoking1 Tolkien and Lewis course on myth.  It is listed as a PHIL 4900 Special Topics course.  Space is limited, so register early if you are interested.

Huenemann will return from sabbatical and will teach PHIL 3150 Kant and the 19th Century along with a section of PHIL 1000 Intro.

Holberg will teach 2400 Ethics along with 3580 Ethics and Economic Life.

Sherlock will teach 3500 Medical Ethics and 4530 Ethics and Biotechnology.

Steinhoff will teach 1250 Practical Logic and 4310 Philosophy of Science.

Upcoming Lecture on the beginning of life

The USU Catholic Newman Center will hold its annual Newman lecture on Tuesday, October 20 from 4:30-6:00pm.  The speaker this year is Maureen Condic, professor of neuro-biology at the University of Utah.  Her lecture is titled, “The Beginning of Life”.  Eccles Science Learning Center, Room 046.

It should be a very interesting talk.  Reminder that later the same evening, the Philosophy Club will gather at the Bullshead at 8pm to discuss chapter 1 of Jean-Luc Marion’s God Without Being.  For the reading, see the blog announcement.  (I think the only connection between the two events is that both Dr Condic and Marion are Catholic).

Upcoming Lecture: “Faith-based Diplomacy as a counter to Violent Extremism”

Of possible interest:

Former Nuclear Sub Commander to Share How Faith-Based Diplomacy Counteracts Religious Extremism in World “Hot Spots”

Dr. Douglas Johnston, founder and president of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Religion and Diplomacy will speak on Tuesday, October 13th at the USU Taggart Student Center Auditorium about how his organization helped end a 21 year old civil war as well as how they brokered the release of 14 Taliban-held hostages. As they have worked to prevent violence and diffuse religious conflict in some of the most dangerous regions of the world, Johnston and his team use diplomatic “back-channels” and “faith-based diplomacy” to effect positive change where traditional diplomatic missions have failed. Johnston’s address is entitled “Faith-based Diplomacy as a Counter to Violent Extremism.” It begins at 4:30 pm.

Beards in 19th century America

Historian Sean Trainor talks about beards in the 8996acd769c3d48b22a580fb5bb9bfb019th century on the NPR show “Backstory” .  The distinction between beards and “whiskers” is new to me.  And I wonder too if the popularity of beards now has similar roots to the popularity of beards in the 19th century — a response to an increasingly effiminiate culture and an emphasis on equality that undermines mens’ sense of their unique masculinity.

Click here to find the episode.  Listen to the whole show (“American Apparel: A History of Fashion”) or down below you can just listen to the segment on beards.