0 Paul Poenicke

Paul Poenicke

Paul Poenicke

Instructor of Ethics

Teaching Philosophy

I enjoy teaching philosophy; unfortunately, not all students feel comfortable taking philosophy courses. Philosophy can be daunting—studying the complex works of great minds leaves many students feel diminished, even stupid. Students become unsure of their grade and ability without regular, standard measurement, and they become even less confident when asked to write a paper on philosophy.

To make students confident, I begin by providing introductions to reading philosophy, to understanding argumentation, and to the basic concepts, positions, and distinctions in the relevant field. I use humor and practical examples to demonstrate that philosophers are looking at concrete problems in a rigorous fashion. Philosophy is a conversation I invite students to join, and this includes presenting nontraditional authors and perspectives. Instead of a midterm, I have weekly reading tests that present students with data on their grasp of class material, in addition to using Socratic methods to engage and test students’ understanding of important concepts. Finally, I provide copious materials, which supplements in-class instruction, regarding argumentative essays and other course papers.


  • Ph.D., University at Buffalo (Expected degree date: 2018)
  • M.S., Virginia Tech (2010)
  • B.A., Hillsdale College (2006)

Courses Taught

  • Asian Wisdom
  • Death and Dying
  • Critical Thinking
  • Social and Ethical Issues in Medicine
  • Morality and Justice
  • Personal and Professional Ethics

Professional Memberships/Associations

  • American Philosophical Association
  • Society of Christian Philosophers
  • Michigan Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Phi Sigma Tau

Professional Experience/Achievements

  • Co-organizer (two-time), University at Buffalo Experimental Philosophy Conference
  • Executive assistant, The 18th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP), Buffalo NY
  • Institute for Humane Studies-Humane Studies Dissertation Fellowship
  • University at Buffalo, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean’s Fellowship
  • Selected as one of Virginia Tech’s Favorite Faculty

Research Interests

  • Epistemology (social epistemology)
  • Asian Philosophy (Daoism, Confucianism)
  • Political Philosophy
  • Comparative Philosophy
  • Early Analytic Philosophy


  • “Testing What’s at Stake: Defending Stakes Effects for Testimony.” Teorema (Forthcoming monograph on experimental philosophy).
  • “Emotional Intelligence as an Intellectual Virtue: Theoretical Analysis and Empirical Assessment.” Phenomenology and Mind.
  • “Regaining the Sense of the Tractatus: Wittgenstein’s Logical Mysticism.”Cultures: Conflict-Analysis-Dialogue: Papers of the 29th International Wittgenstein Symposium. G. Gasser, C. Kanzian, & E. Runggaldier (eds.).


  • “Invisible-Hand Explanations in Epistemology.”Institute for Humane Studies Research Colloquium, Chapman University, Orange, CA.
  • “Systematic Hermeneutical Injustice and World Poverty.” Regents’ Lecture, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
  • “Emotional Intelligence, Virtue Epistemology, and Emotional Wisdom.”Society of Christian Philosophers Eastern Regional Meeting, Assumption College, Worchester, MA.
  • “A Genealogical Account of the Value of Knowledge.”Annual Canadian Society for Epistemology Symposium, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec.
  • “The Pencil and the Pu: Illustrating Troublesome Daoist Political Theses.”18th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, Buffalo, NY.
  • “Answering Needham’s Problem: Kuhn and Longino, Social Modeling and the Late Imperial Civil Service System.”Science, Technology, Society, and the State WorkshopUniversity of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

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