Our People

 

Karen Detlefsen

Karen Detlefsen

Director

Karen is Professor of Philosophy and Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests lie in early modern (17-18th centuries) philosophy, including the history of philosophy of science, the history and philosophy of education, and women philosophers of the early modern period. She also has teaching and research interests in contemporary philosophy of education. She has held research grants from The National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Australian Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. She has been award Penn’s Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor (2007) and the Provost’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2016).

Regarding philosophy for the young: As undergraduate chair in philosophy (2009-13), Karen became interested in philosophy’s potential for public engagement and began researching models for ABCS (academically based community service) teaching. This led to her project in teaching philosophy to high school students, which has since expanded to include middle school students (she aims to eventually reach all students from K-12). She has integrated Penn undergraduates and graduate students alike in this form of public engagement.

Stephen Esser

Stephen Esser

Associate Director

Steve Esser received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Steve’s research focus is philosophy of science. Prior to graduate school, Steve had a 25 year business career as an  investment manager.

Regarding philosophy for the young: I have long been interested in philosophy outreach to the public and K-12 students in particular. Since 2005, I have volunteered with the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium, helping area philosophers organize an event called the “Public Issues Forum,” one of which focused on philosophy for children. I have also volunteered for several years as a judge at the Delaware Valley Regional High School Ethics Bowl, held annually at Villanova University.

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