By Nicole Frank –
Department of Philosophy
Jason Southworth teaches IDS 400 Bioethics and PHIL 100 General Logic, for the philosophy department. While he has been teaching for FHSU since 2007, Southworth has also taught at the University of Oklahoma, in Norman, OK; and Barry University, in Miami Shores, FL. In sum, he has been teaching college courses for about a decade.
Southworth holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA, as well as a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma, where he is currently ABD.
Southworth researches the philosophy of language and applied ethics. He explains his interest in learning about how language shapes “the way we understand ourselves and our world, which overlaps with applied ethics in that harmful language; for example, homophobic speech, can contribute to a damaging self-image and a diminished sense of self-worth for members of the LBGTQ community.”
Southworth describes himself as a “professional philosopher,” in that he is committed to a life of teaching and writing philosophy. His days involve teaching students, in both online and face-to-face courses and he points out that, like other adjuncts, his typical day is “more uncertain than that of regular faculty,” as adjunct contracts are issued one semester at a time. So, from one semester to the next, he is never entirely sure what his job description and income will look like a few months into the future.
Southworth finds teaching for FHSU Virtual College to be quite enjoyable, explaining that he is “continually fascinated by the depth and diversity of perspectives that students logging on literally from all over the world” bring to his virtual classroom. He describes teaching online as “invigorating and deeply rewarding.”
When asked about the most challenging aspect of teaching online, Southworth cited the lack of a face-to-face academic community to see and interact with on a daily basis. He explains, “I often don’t get to have contact with my colleagues unless there’s a problem to be solved. This can be isolating.”
Ultimately, philosophy is more than a career for Southworth. His partner, Ruth Tallman, is a philosopher as well, and he describes philosophy as “way of life” for them. The couple enjoys co-writing articles about popular culture and philosophy, and co-authored Under the Covers with the Underwoods: The Politics of the Underwood Marriage, a chapter in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series volume, House of Cards and Philosophy: Underwoods’ Republic (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015). Finally, they enjoy spending time with their cat, Hepzibah, and aquatic turtle, Penelope.