Department of Philosophy and Humanities to honor distinguished alumnus

Dr. Kent Dunnington, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Greenville College in Greenville, Ill. will be returning to Aggieland to discuss the concept of intellectual humility at the Department of Philosophy and Humanities’ Distinguished Alumnus Lecture, February 13 at 3:45 in room 401 of the YMCA Building. 

Each year, the Department of Philosophy and Humanities organizes the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture to honor exemplary alumni. This serves as an opportunity for the alumnus to discuss their post-education work, and in turn the event provides inspiration and insight for current students with similar interests. 

In his presentation, "Intellectual Humility, the Imposter Phenomenon and Educating for Wisdom," he will explore the idea of intellectual humility.

“Most people agree that intellectual humility is a virtue and that it should be one of the products of a good education, but it is not always clear what intellectual humility is. In this paper, I elaborate what seems to be the consensus view of intellectual humility in contemporary philosophical literature. Second, I suggest that we have good empirical evidence that intellectual humility as currently defined is not a boon to intellectual flourishing and may indeed be antagonistic to intellectual flourishing,” said Dunnington. “This leads me to propose an alternative account of intellectual humility, one that is congruent with older philosophical and theological traditions. Finally, I suggest that if this view of intellectual humility is correct, certain commitments and practices of the modern university are questionable since they are inimical to intellectual humility properly conceived.”

Seven years after receiving his Ph.D. from the Department of Philosophy, Dunnington now teaches and conducts research at Greenville College.

In response to a question posted to his online faculty profile that asked about the favored qualities of his position at Greenville College, Dunnington commented, “My favorite thing about teaching at Greenville is the student-professor relationships that are common here.  A lot of places advertise such things, but there is something about Greenville College that breeds strong, informal connections between students and their professors.  I love being at a place where students just expect that my office is open to them---and it is!”

Dr. John McDermott, Distinguished Professor and former chair and mentor of Dunnington during his time at the department as a graduate student, spoke positively about the upcoming return of the Aggie. 

“We try to have successful former students of our program come back give a presentation. It’s a nice idea started by Professor Conway. Kent took his Ph.D. here in philosophy, he did that with me and others, but I was the chair and mentor. He is quintessentially brilliant,” said McDermott.