Eric Hilker

Postdoctoral Fellow

My approach to teaching ethics is informed by the moral value of encounters with others. Other cultures, other creatures of our world, and imaginative beings from galaxies far, far away can challenge our own assumptions about what is the right thing to do, or what makes for a good life. While our own cultures, traditions, and social contexts are central to our moral formation, I think we should be open to being formed by these encounters with others as well. Being open to such encounters enables us to put our lives to question in new ways, while envisioning new possibilities for how to live, individually and in society. The 21st century is proving to be a challenging time, full of the old problems of structural injustices and the newer problems of large-scale environmental destruction. In my own research I look for different social practices and different ways of living that might help us to envision a different world. In the classroom I use encounters with others to develop the critical perception and critical imagination it will take to live in just relationships with others in our world.