Dr. Justin Pack

Lecturer

My interest in philosophy began with the question of inequality: what kinds of justifications allow for those who are wealthy to feel comfortable with their wealth and to not feel they should share it with those who are in need? How is it possible for some to feel morally and intellectually at ease in large homes with many comforts while others can barely pay rent or get enough to eat?

For me the most compelling answers come from philosophers and social theorists that critique the modern technocratic paradigm, thinkers that most often come from the Continental, Feminist, Latin American, Native American, and Environmental traditions. I think that historical and pluralist approaches best help understand our world.

Despite the powerful criticisms offered by many thinkers in these traditions, there seems to be little academic resistance to the technocratic paradigm I worry about. Thus my recent work has centered on why this is the case and has attempted to use Hannah Arendt to analyze how the neoliberalization of higher education leads to a pervasive thoughtlessness in academia. The university is becoming less and less a place for wonder, self-cultivation and thinking and increasingly a place to specialize, strategize and produce. Sadly, I believe that what used to be one of our institutions devoted to thought has become primarily a place devoted to unending and exponential academic production. Not surprisingly, I am currently interested in the ethics of academic production and how the hyper-intense culture of productivity negatively affects the quality of academics, the university and the education of students.

I also have a MS Sociology in which I studied how Heidegger and Nietzsche’s critiques of this technocratic paradigm could improve international development efforts.

Contact Information

Building Location: Science 1
See Building #9: Map

Office Location: S 238 - See Map

Phone: (209) 664-6704

E-mail: jpack2@csustan.edu

Education:

Ph.D. Philosophy. University of Oregon. Eugene, OR. 2010-2015 Graduation: Dec. 2015

  •  Area of specialization: Continental Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy
  • Areas of competence: Phlosophy of Technology, Feminist Philosophy, Latin American Philosophy, Native American Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy
  • Dissertation project: "Academics No Longer Think: How the Neoliberalization of Academia Leads to Thoughtlessness"
  • Committee: Bonnie Mann, Alejandro Vallega, Rocío Zambrana, Jerry Roziek (reader)

M.A. Philosophy. University of Oregon. Eugene, OR. GPA: 3.89. 2010-2012

M.S. Sociology. Brigham Young University. Provo, UT. GPA: 3.89. 2006-2009

B.A. Major: Philosophy. Minor: Sociology. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. GRA 3.86

Dissertation and Thesis

Academics No Longer Think:  How the Neoliberalization of Academia Leads to Thoughtlessness. University of Oregon.  Department of Philosophy. December, 2015.

Hammering Square Pegs into Round Holes:  International Development and the Flawed Ontological Assumptions of Modernity,Brigham Young University, Department of Sociology, 2009.

Dissertation Abstract

In my dissertation, Academics No Longer Think:  How the Neoliberalization of Academia Leads to Thoughtlessness, I argue the neoliberalization of higher education results in the university becoming less a place to think, ponder and contemplate and increasingly a place to strategize, produce and train for a career.  This is a result of the volatile infusion and mixing of the logic of calculative rationality at work in consumer capitalism with the logic of scientific instrumental rationality already hegemonic in academia.  this adds to the demands of the academic world of production the demands of the world of consumption.  Now the academic (and also the student) is interpellated not only as a producer of knowledge, but also as an object of consumption (to be consumed by others). These new pressures, previously kept at a distance from academia, explosively accelerate the already rapid process of rationalization of which science is already a key part and increasingly structure higher education as a field of strategic action in which students no longer have the time to think and to develop good judgment.

I worry this undermines the opportunity for students to develop into good citizens that can truly think critically and judge carefully.  Thinking and judgment are, according to Arendt, the only things that can save us if the powerful machines of science or capitalism begin to work in ways they should not.  Arendt saw Nazi Germany use the newest science and the best economic management to systematically kill six million Jews. She saw the disturbing inability of the populace and the intellectuals to capably resist the Nazi machine once it got rolling.  I argue that unless checked, neoliberalization threates to turn the university into a place that discouragtes thinking and the development of judgment in favor of hyperspecialization and strategic action.

This has proven to be a fruitful topic and multiple new projects have come out of it.  Currently I am working on questions concerning the sustainability of academia.

Honors & Awards:

Paideia Award, Excellence in Teaching, Philosophy Department. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.  2012

Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Philosophy Department. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. 2010-2015

Publications:

Articles

  • "Cucunuchi and Batman in the Central Valley:  Indigenizing Education and the Phenomenology of Place." Special edition of Education Theory. Forthcoming.
  • Review of Knowledge for Sale: The Neoliberal takeover of Higher Eduation, by Lawrence Bush, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017 in Rural Sociology, July 2017.
  • "Arendt's Geneaology of Thinking." Continental Philosophy Review. April, 2016.
  • "Woman as Monster in the Culture of Obedience." International Journal of Philosophy and Theology. Under reveiw.
  • "How Gadamer Can Help Save the Salmon." Environmental Ethics.  Under review.
  • "Unsustainable Academia." The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Under review.

Conference Presentations | Lectures:

  • "Cucunuchi and Batman in the Central Valley:  Indigenizing Education and the Phenomenology of Place." Presented at the Critical Thought, Social Justice: The Disruption of Dominant Political Discourse and the Disruption of Philosophy of Education Pre-Conference, Philosophy of Education Society. March, 14-15, 2017.
  • "Build a Wall: The Perceived Threats to White Identity." Presented at Local Voices to Global Visions: Exploring Identity in the Humanities. Humanities Education and Research Association, San Diego, CA, March 1-4, 2017.
  • €œ"Eichmann in The Wire; Hannah Arendt and David Simon on Thoughtlessness." Accepted presentation at the IPCA/ACA Nation Conference, Seattle, Washington, March 21-25, 2016.
  • "Unsustainable Academia." Accepted presentation at the Twelfth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, Portland, Oregon, January 21-23, 2016.
  • "Too Many Books on the Dance Floor: Arendt, Borges, and Ortega y Gasset on the Onslaught of Books." Presented at the Thirteenth International Conference on Books, Publishing, and Libraries, Vancouver, Canada, October 19-20, 2015
  • "Arendt's Triads." Presented at Beyond the Binary. Humanities Education and Research Association, San Francisco, CA, April 8-10, 2015.
  • "Constructing Academia: Why the Modern Research University too often Leads to Thoughtlessness." Presented at the Fifth College of Liberal Arts Graduate Symposium (CLAGS), Reno, Nevada, Feb. 26-28, 2015.
  • "Democracy in the Selva Selvaggia: Ortega y Gasset on Democratic Practice in Times of Excessive Information" International Social Philosophy Conference, Ashland, Oregon, June 2014.
  • "How Gadamer can Help Save the Salmon: On Recovering Things from the Paradigm of Making." P)resented at the What is a Thing? Conference, University of Oregon, February 20-21, 2014.
  • "Nietzsche's Instincts." Presented at The Environmentalism and the Humanities Conference, Humanities Education and Research Association, Chicago, Illinois, April 9-11, 2009.

Honors and Awards:

Paideia Award, Excellence in Teaching, Philosophy Department. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. 2012
Graduate Teaching Fellowship.Philosophy Department. University of Oregon. Eugene, OR. 2010-2015.
 

Courses Taught:

CSU Stanislaus

Bioethics
Contemporary Moral Problems
Critical Thinking
Philosophy and Literature
Introduction to Philosophy
Honors Critical Thinking
Philosophy and Education

University of Oregon

Environmental Philosophy
Philosophy of Pop Culture
Ethics
Philosophy and Cultural Diversity
Human Nature
Philosophy of Love and Sex
Latin American Philosophy
Philosophy and Film
Existentialism
History of Philosophy: 19th Century
History of Philosophy: Ancient
History of Philosophy: Modern
Internet, Society and Philosophy
Our Place in the Cosmos
Medical Ethics

Utah Valley University

Introduction to Sociology

Brigham Young University

Intro to Philosophy
Intro to Sciology
Social Theory
Foundations of Social Inquiry
Contemporary Social Theory
Theories of Social Change