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Russell Marcus

Russell Marcus is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Hamilton College, where he has taught since 2007, specializing in philosophy of mathematics and philosophical pedagogy.  He is a board member of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, leading the program committee and helping to develop Teaching Hubs, now institutionalized at divisional meetings of the APA.  Russell is the founder and director of the Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy, a laboratory for innovation in philosophy teaching, drawing participants from around the country and world.  In addition to articles on mathematics and teaching, he has published three books: a monograph, Autonomy Platonism and the Indispensability Argument (Lexington); a co-edited reader, An Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics (Bloomsbury); and a logic book, Introduction to Formal Logic with Philosophical Applications (Oxford).  Before coming to Hamilton, Russell taught mathematics, computer science, history, and literature in high schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges, in New York City and Costa Rica.  At Hamilton, where he has won teaching and research awards, Russell teaches logic, early-modern, infinity, philosophy of education, philosophy of language, epistemology, and Wittgenstein.  He has spent the last five years developing innovative philosophical materials for team-based learning classes.

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor and Chair

Personal Website
Hamilton College
Areas of Expertise
In addition to my research on philosophy of mathematics and Descartes's work, which I'd be happy to share, I have presented successfully on teaching, especially teaching philosophy. Here are a few representative presentations that philosopher teachers in the region might find useful: “Scaffolding for Fine Philosophical Skills,” in which I discuss techniques for scaffolding in teaching philosophy writing that are more fine-grained and careful than usual. “Logic and Philosophy,” in which I demonstrate ways to make logic courses more robustly philosophical. (Disclosure: these motivations led me to write a textbook, with Oxford, which I would certainly mention.) “Small-Group, Specific-Choice Activities,” in which I demonstrate and work with philosophy instructors on in-class activities derived from my work on team-based learning, but without the broader context. (An attenuated version of this was part of the Summer 2020 Zoom presentation that I led.) “The Philosopher as Listener: Asking Better Questions in Class” in which I talk about my work developing better questions for both teachers and students in philosophy classes. The following presentation is more general, for teachers of all disciplines, but could be reworked just for philosophers: “Team-Based Learning, Or: How I Shut Up So My Students Could Learn, Or: Cooperative Learning for the Control Freak Teacher”
Team-Based Learning, Pedagogy, Scaffolding
Other lecture titles or keywords
"Embracing the Cartesian Circle," "Autonomy Platonism and the Circularity Objection," and "Talking in Circles: On Justification and the Logic of Philosophy"