Joseph Rees

Joseph Rees

Instructor, Democracy & Dissent

Ph.D., Georgetown University
B.A., American University

While eclectic, Dr. Rees’s philosophical interests ultimately orbit around the questions “what kind of life should I live?” and “what makes a society just or unjust?” 

He studied philosophy at American University in Washington, D.C. and spent his third year studying Philosophy, Politics, & Economics at Oxford University. His undergraduate thesis assessed G.A. Cohen’s Marxist critique of John Rawls’s liberal theory of distributive justice. He initially enrolled in Georgetown University’s philosophy Ph.D. program to study Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, though that interest was eventually crowded out by a newfound interest in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s thought. His doctoral dissertation explicated the social norms governing the solicitation and bestowal of interpersonal recognition latent in Rousseau’s texts and put them in critical conversation with Axel Honneth’s contemporary theory of recognition. To study the latter, he spent a year studying critical theory at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. At Georgetown, he designed and taught classes in social & political philosophy, European philosophy, and moral psychology. 

Teaching and pedagogy have always been a central passion of his. He regularly attends pedagogy workshops and conferences around the country to refine and expand his teaching skills.