Who I am

I am Professor of Philosophy at the University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.   I have taught in Windsor since 1998.  In 1996 and 1997 I was Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.  I received my PhD in Philosophy from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1996.My professional research interests are primarily in social and political philosophy.  My major publications focus on human nature, the social and political implications of human identity and difference, the normative foundations of democratic society, the ethical foundations of socialism, and the principles of materialist ethics.   More information about my academic work can be found at my departmental homepage:  http://www.uwindsor.ca/jnoonan/

Standing on the Absent tip of Point Pelee National Park (in normal water conditions it extends out to the edge of the waves over my shoulder).

My interests in philosophy range more broadly than my professional academic work.  Part of the reason why I began this site was to experiment with shorter, topical  essays as means of philosophically intervening in debates and key issues of the day.   Peer reviewed papers and books remain essential to rigorous philosophical writing, but the time delays between conception, execution, revision, and publication are such that it is impossible to use peer reviewed publication as  means of analysing and criticising issues and problems as they arise.

Moreover, academic publication typically involves formalities which tend to impose stylistic rigidities which negate whatever beauty and creativity there can be in philosophical writing.   Those constraints do not exist on this site, so, in addition to the topical pieces I will put up, I also hope to play with form and content in ways not generally possible in peer reviewed publication.

Finally, I also hope to get you involved in the life of the site– arguing, criticising, intervening, or submitting short pieces for publication.  I do not so much want to escape the constraints of academic writing as to create an environment in which the constraints are self-imposed– rigour without rigidity, disciplined creativity and fun, but not a free-for-all.





13 thoughts on “Who I am

  1. I grew up in Kingsville, Ontario, south of Windsor. My memoir, PROMISED LANDS Growing Up Absurd in the 1950s and ’60s recounts my K-years and subsequent travels in Europe and Middle East 1966-70. I’d be glad to send you a copy if you supply a postal address. You can read about the book on my blog, ME OF ALL PEOPLE. I enjoy your site.

  2. Hi Douglas. Thanks for sharing and glad you like the site. You can send a book to me c/o the Philosophy department:. 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor ONTARIO, N9B 3P4.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I haven’t spoken to you forever and can’t seem to find an email address in my files to reconnect. I wanted to touch base with you since I’m going to have a book coming out by the end of the summer (provided that the editing and lay-out editing doesn’t stretch on for too long). It’s a small book, more polemical than academic, and will be put out by the leftist press responsible for, among other things, the RAF documentary histories. Although I’m sure we won’t agree on all the points made in the book, I’m also sure you’ll find it interesting and was considering sending you, once it is at a point where the proofing has been finished, some form of advanced copy for review and/or interest. What do you think?


    (Also it would be nice to just reconnect and talk about things in general. Since the last time I saw you was at my dissertation defense, a lot has happened… For example, I now have a daughter who is 20 months old!)

  4. Re your blog on the york strike

    I was interested in the fact that you are a student of human nature. You must therefore know that humans have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction and often confuse concepts and ideas with reality. To the point where they will seek affirmation of their beliefs by seeking proof for that so called concept (“truth”) in what they see and experience. Sometimes and very often in current times to the point where they feel justified in taking action and expecting others to “buy into” their point of view. Now I don’t know if the TA’s are justified or not. We Have a child at york and weeks away from graduating so the “what is”for him and us is the potential of dragging something on beyond the course of expectation and agreement.
    Now I am not an academic and know that what I am saying also comes from a point of view and is not real. Merely a projection of my up bringing and life experience. And so I try to have fun not taking myself too seriously or with too much arrogance that I am right. But i can’t help believe that the search for what is real has been covered over by the layers of mistaking reality for theory, and concept. Left right, socialism, capitalism, identity politics, are merely theories and concepts but are not real. For the sake of being human and reaching our fullest potential its time we move on in search of the truth.

  5. Hello Jeff!
    After reading a few of your essays is it fair of me to say that you are less than completely familiar with the Philosophers of the Global South?
    Have you picked up on Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation or Mignoolo’s book “The Darker Side of Modernity”? I am ferociously curious.

    Keith Lee

    • Hi Keith,
      Thanks for visiting and reading the essays. I was fortunate in my undergraduate career at York University to have studied with a brilliant philosopher from Ghana, Ato Sekyi-Oto. He was a Fanon scholar and through him I was able to read a good deal of African colonial and post-colonial political theory and literature. However, you are right to surmise that I am not well-versed in contemporary philosophy from the global south. There is always more to read than one finds time for, but I will try to make some time over the summer to look at the 2 texts that you mention. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jean Paul,
      Je l’écrit en solidarité avec tous les gens de France. Il n’y aucun facon de restorer les vies qui sont perdu dans les attaques, mail il y a toujours l’opportunité d’agir politiquement. Une politique efficace, je pense, doit être motivé par le but de preserve la vie, en France comme en Syrie, Iraq, etc., par la construction d’une societé au dela de haine, au dela de conflit structurelle, et au dela la fanatisisme.
      En solidarité et deuil pour les victimes,

  6. Pingback: Jeff Noonan on Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes – Radical Political Economy

  7. Jeff,
    I have really taken a keen interest in your article on “Ten Theses in Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.” My focus has been on student learning for the past 20 years and the problem of standardized education patterns and habits students bring to the university and how the institution seems to insist on maintaining that pattern in spite of the supposed goal of a liberal arts education experience. I have been an assessment coordinator and address required outcome reporting; however, I am at a place in my career where I am willing to risk lower evaluations from students who demand that inflexible pattern and chafe at the assignments that require them to risk thinking outside the specifics of what they perceive as “what I want,” in order to get a good grade. This extended adolescent, entitlement, indoctrinated student population needs to be challenged to think, to risk curiosity, and explore, even if the resulting answer is not consistent with the textbook. I plan to quote you in an upcoming conference talk I am doing if that is alright with you. I look forward to reading more of your work and will spend my spring break reading the authors you named in the article.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      It is good to hear supportive words from a practitioner in the filed of learning assessment. i should add that my aim in criticizing LO’s is not to reject the possibility or value of assessment, but to highlight the distorting role economic and political power have played in the imposition of LO’s as currently practiced across North America, the UK, and Australia (not sure about the non-English speaking world– that would be an important dimension to explore).

  8. Jeff
    I recently discovered your work in the International Critical Thought journal and Socialist Studies.
    It is so refreshing to read philosophical thinking that is suffused with clear political commitment and intent. So much academic philosophy is irrelevant, or buries its reactionary biases under mountains of dry, formalistic waffle.
    A suggestion for a future post on your blog: a list of readings that socialists would find useful in getting to grips with contemporary social philosophy.
    In my experience, finding articles and books that offer Marxist assessments of figures like Rawls, Oakshott and Sandel is not easy.

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