David Hoinski – Lecturer
Modern German Philosophy
My current work addresses the role of autobiography within philosophy and aims at the articulation of a theory of philosophical autobiography. Dealing with this subject matter, my dissertation included studies of the autobiographical writings of Augustine, Descartes, Vico, Nietzsche, and (perhaps surprisingly) Plato. I am currently working on turning my dissertation into a monograph that will also include chapters on Rousseau and John Stuart Mill. The primary argument of this work is that philosophers write autobiographies in order to present and give some account of philosophical first principles. I have also been invited to contribute a chapter on the role of autobiography in Plato and Nietzsche to a forthcoming book (edited by Mark Anderson) that addresses the complex relation between Nietzsche and Plato.
My work in ancient philosophy focuses on the interpretation of Plato and Aristotle. I recently finished a paper, to be published in Rhizomata (Fall 2014) and co-authored with Ronald Polansky, offering a new interpretation of the famous palinode in Plato’s Phaedrus. My work on Aristotle concentrates on the intellectual virtues and the philosophy of science. At a conference at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania, Fall 2011) on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, I presented an early version of my work on Book 6 that raises the question whether there is a science of sciences for Aristotle. Again with Ron Polansky, I am currently working on a book chapter addressing the similarities between Aristotle’s philosophy of science and 20th-century philosophy of science, especially as developed by Michael Polanyi in Personal Knowledge and other works. With another colleague, John Fritz, I presented recently (March 2014) a paper at the Pennsylvania Circle of Ancient Philosophy on the problem of evil in Plato.
Other research interests include Augustine, Descartes, Vico, Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Hegel, as well as topics in the philosophy of emotion and the philosophy of literature or poetics.
At WVU, I have taught the history of ancient philosophy, the capstone seminar, ethical theory, current moral problems, and social/political philosophy. My first capstone course focused on the study of philosophical autobiographies. My second was dedicated to a careful study of Rousseau’s Emile. I am currently developing, for spring 2015, a course on the philosophy of law.
I like to read novels, history, and books concerning the natural sciences. I am also an avid student of foreign languages, especially German and ancient Greek. I am a bibliophile (or bibliomaniac) and have a library of over 3000 volumes. I also like to draw and paint and write poems. Whenever I travel, I always try to visit the art museums and (of course) the bookshops. I am also by long habit and perhaps somewhat tragically a fan of Cleveland sports teams.