January 17, 2012 | 1:22 p.m.
By Nicole Finsaas '14
This year, Bethel welcomes Visiting Scholar Charles Taliaferro of St. Olaf University to the philosophy department. Taliaferro received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Brown University, and is a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College. In addition to Bethel, he has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford, New York University, Princeton, Columbia, and General Theological Seminary in New York City.
During his year as a member of the Bethel community, Taliaferro is working on several projects, including a book manuscript with Professor of Philosophy Paul Reasoner and the editing of a six-volume work on the history of evil. Several members of Bethel’s philosophy department will contribute chapters to the book. Taliaferro is already enjoying his time here. “[The philosophy department] is absolutely first class,” he says. “The faculty is highly committed to working with students, and this is something I deeply admire…There is a definite passion for clarity, seriousness of purpose, and a love of wisdom.”
Ray VanArragon, associate professor and chair of the philosophy department, says Taliaferro is serious about learning. “He’s an extremely creative thinker and teacher, excellent at coming up with new ways of explaining and thinking about philosophical issues,” VanArragon says. Taliaferro has also used his expertise to help students in Senior Seminar during the fall. “He has been very available to interact with and help our students... [He has been] very generous with his time when it comes to helping students and colleagues with their own work,” says VanArragon. “He is an excellent and dedicated philosopher.” Watch for a public lecture Taliaferro is scheduled to give this spring.