Donald Keefer

Donald Keefer joined the RISD faculty in 1988 with a PhD 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 from the aesthetics of music, technology and culture to the critique of postmodern theory, semiotics of design, Frederick Douglass and, most recently, the philosophy of death.

Keefer 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 mourn the loss of those important to us. He 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

Fall 2018 Courses

  • HPSS-S070-01 Aesthetic Challenges
  • HPSS-S070-02 Aesthetic Challenges
  • HPSS-S450-01 Sem: Matrix Of Wisdom: Philosophy & Sci-fi

Wintersession 2019 Courses

  • HPSS-W157-01 You Must Be Joking! The Philosophy Of Laughter

Spring 2019 Courses

  • HPSS-S526-01 Sem: Philosophy Of Death
  • HPSS-S101-20 Topics: History, Philosophy, & The Social Sciences
  • BA, University of Maryland - Baltimore
  • BA, University of Maryland, College Park
  • PHD, Temple University


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