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Philosopher & Artist

Theodore Davis




  • M.A., Philosophy, San Francisco State University 

  • B.A., Philosophy, University of San Diego (January, 2016)

  • A.A., Arts and Humanities, City College of San Francisco (Fall, 2015)

Awards & Honors

  • McNair Scholar, University of San Diego

  • Phi Sigma Tau, International Honors Society for Philosophers

Professional Memberships

  • Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honors Society

  • American Philosophical Association

Research Interests

  • Kant

  • Nietzsche

  • History of the 20th Century Philosophy

  • Aesthetics

Research Experience

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (Present)

  • Aesthetics and Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy (Summer 2014 to Present)

    • Michelle Gilmore-Grier, PhD, Professor of Philosophy & Department Chair, University of San Diego

  • Art Beyond Nihilism (Summer 2015)

  • Continuity, Disruption and Creation: Sunrise from Inside Experiential Creativity (Summer 2014)

Conference Presentations

  • Continuity, Disruption, Creation @ University of San Diego McNair’s Scholars Colloquium

  • Continuity, Disruption, Creation @ UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Conference

  • Continuity, Disruption, Creation @ USD Creative Collaborations McNair Annual Research Conference

  • Continuity, Disruption, Creation @ Conference at the University of Maryland

University Service

  • Mentor, University of San Diego Black Student Resource Center

  • Community Resource Facilitator & Computer Research Specialist, McNair Scholars

  • Member, University of San Diego Transfer Transition Team

    • Assist newly transferred students though the acclamation process into a four-year University.

  • Member, University of San Diego Black Student Union

    • Increase consciousness of diversity on campus & advocate for students rights.


  • German - Speak, Read, Write

  • Japanese - Speak

Philosophy Courses Completed

San Francisco State University

  • Seminar in Truth, Lies and Bull, Asta Sveinsdottir, IP

  • Seminar in Hegel, David Landy, IP

  • Seminar in Virtue Epistemology, Carlos Montemayor, IP

  • Formal Logic, Isabelle Peschard

The general goal is to learn how to symbolize English sentences in both sentential and predicate logic, and to acquire a formal, that is, precise, rigorous, understanding of such notions as ‘argument’, ‘tautology’, ‘contradiction’, ‘consistent vs. inconsistent set of statements’, ‘valid vs. invalid argument’. Students will learn formal methods (by truth-tables and derivation) to demonstrate that an argument is valid.

  • Ancient Philosophy, Pamela Hood

To provide exposure to the main texts, figures, and movements in philosophy in the ancient Greek and Roman world from the 7th century BCE to the 3rd century CE; to understand fundamental philosophical issues and texts in their historical contexts; to offer an introduction to philosophical methods of argument and analysis to develop student critical reasoning and analytical skills, improve student reading

  • Seminar in Philosophical Writing, Vadim Keyser

(1) Analytical Methodology, (2) Analytical Writing, and (3) Applied Philosophical Writing. The primary goal of Theme 1 is to identify and analyze patterns of argument in philosophical writing and to evaluate arguments for validity, soundness, and other criteria of philosophical merit. With Theme 1, we will focus on the structure of argument. Theme 2 aims to employ argument analysis to read, interpret, and write philosophical essays. With Theme 2, we apply the frameworks from Theme 1 to philosophical work. The key focus will be to organize, structure, synthesize, and critically examine philosophical writing. Theme 3 aims to construct productive research and writing habits, including but not limited to managing references and developing effective writing schedules.

  • Seminar in Martin Heidegger, Mohammad Azadpur

Heidegger's Being and Time is perhaps the most influential philosophical text of the twentieth century. It has been read differently by different philosophers: For some, Being and Time is a continuation of the phenomenological project begun by Edmund Husserl, for others it lays the theoretical groundwork for existentialism. Some other scholars take it to have reformed the ancient discipline of hermeneutics, while others see in it a novel approach to the problem of intentionality. Finally, we should not overlook the readings that take Being and Time to contain a covert defense of Nazism.

  • Seminar in Kant/Sellars, David Landy

Sellars is one of the twentieth century’s most influential thinkers, and was himself deeply influenced by the philosophy of Kant. In this seminar we will work towards an understanding of each of these great philosophers by studying how they relate to one another. Our focus will be on topics in the philosophy of mind and philosophical semantics, including the nature of concepts, the manner in which we represent complex states of affairs including representations of space, time, and physical objects as subject to causal laws, and the self qua single subject of experience persisting through time.

  • Directed Reading in Fundamental Philosophical Texts

PHIL 896 exam is the Department's qualifying examination for Graduate students. The exam tests the student's ability to comprehend, explain, compare and explore the views of four key philosophers in the following texts: Plato's Republic, Descartes’ Meditation on First Philosophy, Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and Kant’s Prolegomena. The exam also satisfies the University's Written English Proficiency Requirement for graduate students.

University of San Diego

  • Kant, Professor Michelle Gilmore-Grier

“Immanuel Kant”, Critique of Pure Reason (trans. By Guyer and Wood) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the central arguments of Kant’s theoretical philosophy (his transcendental epistemology and the rejection of traditional metaphysics). The focus of the course will be on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.  

  • Nihilism/ Nietzsche, Professor Michelle Gilmore-Grier

“Schopenhauer”, Essays and Aphorisms, transl. By R. Hollingdale, “Nietzsche”, The Will to Power, transl. By Walter Kaufmann and R. Hollingdale, “Nietzsche”, The Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, transl. By Kaufmann, “Nietzsche”, Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, transl. By Hollingdale

  • Heidegger, Professor Michelle Gilmore-Grier

“Martin Heidegger”, Being and Time, translated by Macquarrie & Robinsopn The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a number of the central themes in Heidegger’s (tortuous) Being and Time. Students will have engaged in a close reading of the primary text. Students will be able to identify the key terms and concepts necessary for understanding the text. Finally, students shall be able to demonstrate (in writing) an ability to describe the phenomenological method and Heidegger’s existentialism.

  • 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Professor Michael Kelly

An introduction to the main currents of late 19th and 20th century continental thought, including Marxism, phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, structuralism, and recent developments such as poststructuralism, semiotics, and deconstructionism. Requires Philosophy major or minor, or Sophomore standing.

  • Social Ethics, Professor Matt Zwolinski

A study of the applications of ethical concepts and principles to different areas of human social conduct. Typical issues considered include abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, assisted reproductive technologies, racism, sexism, poverty and welfare, animal rights, environmental ethics, and world hunger.

  • Ethical Theory, Professor Tyler Hower

A study of the major theories of ethics and selected moral concepts. Topics to be examined will include: the nature and grounds of morality; ethical relativism; egoism and altruism; utilitarianism; Kant's deontological ethics; Aristotle and virtue ethics, rights, and justice. In addition, we may consider issues of the role of gender and race in ethical theory.

  • Metaphysics, Professor Jack Crumley

An investigation of the ultimate philosophical commitments about reality. Representative figures in the history of philosophy may be considered and analyzed. Topics selected may include the basic components of reality, their relation to space, time, matter, causality, freedom, determinism, the self, and God.

  • Philosophy of Knowledge, Professor Jack Crumley

An examination of the nature and scope of knowledge and justification, including consideration of such topics as skepticism, analyses of knowledge, foundationalism and coherentism, a priori knowledge, and others. Attention is also given to the nature of the epistemological enterprise, e.g., internalism and externalism, and naturalized epistemology.

  • Philosophy of God, Professor Brian Clack

A study of the existence and nature of God. Discussion of the ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments; topics may include atheistic challenges concerning divine benevolence, omnipotence, omniscience, and creation ex nihilo; logical positivism and religious meaning; miracles; the person and immortality; and religion and morality.

  • Philosophy of Mind, Professor Tyler Hower

The mind-body problem and the examination of mental state concepts. Topics may include: the nature of mind, including dualist and contemporary materialist.

  • Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Professor Linda Peterson

An in-depth study of selected medieval philosophers, that is, St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Abelard, St. Thomas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, or topics such as the problem of universals, the existence of God, the soul and immortality, and the problem of evil.

  • Philosophy of Art, Professor Rodney Peffer

An examination of some major theories of art and beauty, with special attention to such issues as: the definition of beauty; the criteria for excellence in artistic productions; the differences between art and science; and the relation between art and culture. Readings may include Artistotle's Poetics, Kant's Critique of Judgement, Dewey's Art as Experience, or more recent philosophers, that is, Beardsley, Dickie, Goodman, Weitz, etc.

  • Philosophy of Love, Professor Jack Crumley

What is love? Does it even exist; or is it a myth? Is it attainable; or an impossible ideal? Is it rooted in the divine; in the human; or even in the biologic or animal? Is it an emotion; a form of relationship; or even a cosmic principle? Readings typically include such classic and contemporary thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Freud, Sartre, DeBeauvoir, and Tillich.

City College of San Francisco

  • Modern Philosophy through Kant, Professor David A Dell’Agostino

The philosophical tradition from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Emphasis on new models of human knowledge and human nature formulated in reaction to scientific and social revolutions. Positions of thinkers such as Descartes, Hume and Kant on basic questions such as "Can anything be known with certainty?", "Are there any justifiable moral principles?", "Is there any purpose to existence?"

  • Introduction to Philosophy, Professor Stephen F Johnson

The tools and techniques of philosophical reasoning: reading argumentative prose; analyzing conceptual models; writing critical essays. Problems of knowledge: the criteria of reliable knowledge; the formulation and justification of beliefs; the sources and limits of knowledge; beliefs about the physical world, the past and future, and other minds. Critical standards applied to related metaphysical issues: theism, mind and self-identity, determinism.

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