John Armstrong

  • Willis J. Smith Professor of Philosophy

Education

  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, minor in Classics, University of Arizona, 1998
  • M.A. in Philosophy, University of Arizona, 1992
  • B.A. magna cum laude in Philosophy, with University Honors and minors in Greek and Chinese, Brigham Young University, 1992

We all have thoughts about what is real and what is important, but our opinions often are tangled and unclear. Philosophy helps us calmly reflect on what we believe and value so that our thoughts become more coherent. That is one reason I love philosophy. Another is that great philosophers of the past tackled big questions head-on—questions about truth, reason, emotion, happiness, beauty, morality, society, and God. I love helping students understand and respond to great philosophers as they refine their own beliefs and values.


Education


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, minor in Classics, University of Arizona, 1998
  • M.A. in Philosophy, University of Arizona, 1992
  • B.A. magna cum laude in Philosophy, with University Honors and minors in Greek and Chinese, Brigham Young University, 1992

Courses


  • Core: Reason and the Self, Advanced Composition, Ancient Greek
  • Philosophy Major: Ethics, Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, Ancient Psychology, Chinese Philosophy, Free Will, Political Philosophy
  • Travel Study: Past trips to Greece, Rome, and China

Teaching Positions & Professional Experience


  • Willis J. Smith Professor of Philosophy, Southern Virginia University, 2011–present
  • Professor, Southern Virginia University, 2009–11
  • Visiting Professor, Washington and Lee University, 2006
  • Associate Professor, Southern Virginia University, 2003–09
  • Assistant Professor, Southern Virginia University, 1998–03
  • As a Ph.D. student, course instructor at the University of Arizona (1993–95, 1996–98) and Brigham Young University (1993); teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin (1995–96)

Scholarship & Creative Work


  • A new translation of Aristotle’s writings on ethics (link)
  • Articles on Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus in leading journals for ancient philosophy and classics (link)

Awards, Leadership & Service


  • President, Phi Kappa Phi, Southern Virginia University Chapter, 2018–present
  • Chair, Division of Humanities, Southern Virginia University, 2004–07, 2017–18
  • Chair, Council of Scholars, American Academy for Liberal Education, 2016–17
  • Associate Provost, Southern Virginia University, 2008–12
  • Accreditation Coordinator (with Provost Madison Sowell), Southern Virginia University, 2011–12
  • President, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, 2011–12
  • President, Virginia Philosophical Association, 2003–04
  • Accreditation Coordinator, Southern Virginia University, 2002–03
  • Member, Buena Vista City School Board, 2002–06
  • Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2001
  • Summer Scholarship, Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, 2000
  • William H. Fink Prize in Philosophy, University of Arizona, 1997
  • Karl G. Maeser Honors Achievement Award, Brigham Young University, 1992
  • Missionary, Taiwan Taipei Mission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987–89

Memberships


  • International Plato Society
  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Phi Sigma Tau