Faculty: Donald R. Keefer

Biography

Donald Keefer joined the RISD faculty in 1988 with a Ph.D in philosophy from Temple University.  His variety of courses have covered the history of philosophy, aesthetics, theories of semiotics, the nature of wisdom, and philosophical questions regarding death, dying, and the dead.  On a lighter note, he teaches a wintersession course that uses episodes of the X-files and Star Trek as vehicles to introduce students to the problems of philosophy.  He has written on topics ranging over the aesthetics of music, technology and culture, the critique of postmodern theory, semiotics of design, Frederick Douglass, and most recently, the philosophy of death. 

Don is currently writing a book examining the philosophical dimensions of loss and mourning.  His paper, “Speaking Well of the Dead:  On the aesthetics of eulogies,” forthcoming in Sophia, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics, emerged from one of the key issues in a chapter on the meanings of how we, the loved ones and community in their ways, mourn the loss of those important to us.

He has served in a number of other positions, such as department head of History, Philosophy, and Social Science, Acting Dean of the Division of Liberal Arts, and the Coordinator of Academic Advising.  Don is also an accomplished classical guitarist.

Academic Research/Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Death

Ethics and the Contradictions of Corporate Personhood

The Confluence of Evolutionary Psychology and Philosophy

Aesthetics

Linguistics and Theories of the Sign

American Pragmatism

Donald R. Keefer

Donald Keefer

Professor
dkeefer@risd.edu
401-454-6263

  • PHD, Temple University
  • BA, University of Maryland, College Park
  • BOA, University of Maryland - Baltimore

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Courses
  • HPSS-S613
    CULTURAL HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC
  • HPSS-S549
    MEANING AND MESSAGE: INTRODUCTION TO THE THEORY OF SIGNS
  • HPSS-S450
    SEM: MATRIX OF WISDOM: PHILOSOPHY & SCI-FI
  • HPSS-S526
    SEM: PHILOSOPHY OF DEATH
  • HPSS-S101
    TOPICS: HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY, & THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
  • HPSS-S157
    YOU MUST BE JOKING! THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAUGHTER

Links
English Foreground Image 2
Readings and performances often take place in the Fleet Library at RISD, which offers a seating platform for audiences
that doubles as a staircase to the next level.