Sophia Stone is a professor in the Arts and Sciences. She recently received her Ph.D. in Philosophy with an emphasis in Philosophy & Literature at Purdue University. Her intellectual interest is centered in Plato and his dialogues. Her dissertation, "Plato's Metaphysics of Soul," provides an answer to the question, what is the soul for Plato: Is soul a "form," a "particular" or something else? This is an interesting project because Plato never says what he means by soul nor does he say how soul fits into his metaphysics. From Plato's Phaedo dialogue, she concludes that for Plato soul is an "intermediate" between a form and its particular. This intermediate status, a concept that arises elsewhere in Plato' writing, solves some interpretive problems in the Phaedo dialogue and offers an alternative reading of Plato's "collection" argument.
"Plato's Metaphysics of Soul," is just the beginning of a comprehensive project she plans continuing through Plato's middle and late dialogues. As Plato wrote philosophy in dialogue form, he borrowed from the genres of comedy and tragedy and was very much influenced by the politics, historical events and the intellectual milieu of his day. Thus Stone's interest in Plato has led to other work that combines philosophy with ethics, literature and comedy. She has published in the areas of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Global Justice, and Humor Research.
B.A., Berkeley University of California
M.A., Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Ph.D., Purdue University
The value of a Liberal Arts education is the promise to cultivate a citizen who is engaged and concerned about the world. Whatever course I teach, I focus on the learning outcomes that will engender in students that critical voice within that is so necessary for independent thought and participation in a global society. Academic institutions all over the country are reassessing the teaching of the humanities and comparing their economic value to the hard sciences: will the education delivered guarantee the student a good paying job? While this is a valid and important question there are others: how well are we preparing our students to be good citizens? How well are we preparing our students to be visionaries, to anticipate the fluctuation of job opportunities in the Global Market and to offer solutions to the most pressing problems we face in the twenty-first century? There are many ways to help cultivate good citizenship and visionary thinking. What I emphasize in my classes is engagement with the world by means of analytical thinking and writing, and an interdisciplinary approach to teaching the Liberal Arts.
Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War says that his writing was not designed to meet the taste of the immediate public, but to last forever. In the spirit of his thought, I teach so that the analytical thinking and writing skills that students gain from my courses will last for their lifetimes. As W.E.B. Du Bois writes, "the true college will ever have one goal, not to earn meat, but to know the end and aim of that life which meat nourishes." My vision of a university education is interdisciplinary in nature. It is a rich education where students are offered original texts from across continents, across historical epochs and literary genres so that they are able to determine for themselves the end and aim of their life and work.
Areas of scholarship
Sophia Stone received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley she co-designed and taught a course, "Exit the Cave", where the final exam was a dramatic reading of Plato's dialogue the Symposium. She led many informal philosophy gatherings, "Philosophy Café" and through them discovered her love and passion for philosophical dialogue. She continued to receive her education in philosophy with a master' degree at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology. There she further developed her interest in Plato, discovering that in many of his dialogues Plato uses the comic form to promote philosophical ideas and argument. Hence, she wrote her master's thesis, titled, "The Good the True and the Funny: Plato and his Philosophy of Humor." Professor Stone taught philosophy to students at all levels—high school, community college, the university and graduate school—and discovered her love and passion for teaching. She continued her education at Purdue University in one of the few interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs for philosophy & literature in the country. While continuing her interest in Plato, she expanded her studies at Purdue to Early Greek Philosophy, Plato's Metaphysics, Aristotle, Ethics, Literary Theory, 16th Century English Literature, and Humor Research.