Stephen J. Finn
Author of Hobbes: A guide for the Perplexed
Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Assistant Director for teaching excellence at the US Military Academy, WestPoint.
What would you say sparked your love of philosophy?
A professor at University Of New Hampshire, Dwayne Whittier, introduced me to philosophy in my first philosophy course. At the time, I was a psychology major, though during the philosophy course, I immediately realized that this was the subject for me.
Why did you choose Villanova University's Philosophy Program and how has Villanova impacted, or influenced, your passion?
Prior to Villanova, I completed an M.A. Degree in Philosophy at a university with a huge philosophy department. I felt lost in that program. I was attracted to the Villanova program because of its emphasis on the history of philosophy. The greatest impact on my future academic life came from working with Dr. Immerwahr as a teaching assistant. My focus has always been on putting teaching first and Immer was an amazing mentor in this respect.
Why was Thomas Hobbes the central focus of your research?
While sitting in on Immer's intro course, I remember the discussion on Hobbes's state of nature. At that point, I was not very well acquainted with Hobbes, but something in his description caught me. While I do not agree with his political conclusions, his views on human nature are insightful to me.
How has Villanova molded you into the professor that you are today?
Again, it played an instrumental role in the type of teacher I became and put me on a career path in which teaching and university administration became my focus. While I am certainly still a philosopher, I consider myself first and foremost a teacher of philosophy.