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Dr Ashby L Butnor

Learning Comms & First Yr Success
Student Success Building 217

Personal Biography Statement

I teach Philosophy at MSU Denver, primarily courses in ethics and Asian philosophies and religions. My teaching position is housed in Learning Communities and First Year Success, where, in addition to teaching first year students, I focus on faculty outreach and development.

Selected Projects

My first book, a co-edited volume (with Jennifer McWeeny, WPI) entitled Asian and Feminist Philosophies in Dialogue: Liberating Traditions, has just been published by Columbia University Press (2014). The introduction is currently available online: Feminist Comparative Methodology: Performing Philosophy Differently

Educational Biography

I attended the University of Richmond for my BA in Philosophy and Religion. I completed both my MA and Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Embodying Morality: A Pluralistic Approach to the Cultivation of Moral Perception and Action Through the Body

This work investigates the embodied dimensions of moral perception and action. A plurality of traditions are brought to bear on this study, including the enactive theory of cognitive science, Buddhist philosophy, phenomenology, and feminist theory. The aim is to demonstrate the role of our embodied capacities (such as cognition, perception, affectivity, and action) in establishing moral concern and responsibilities, demonstrating ethical know-how, and promoting care for others. In addition, the social embeddedness of our embodied subjectivity is discussed to reveal the way that the body and its incorporated habits are partly shaped by the norms and values of one's society or culture---both positively and negatively.

Selected Presentations


Keynote Address: "Philosophical World-Traveling: The Case of Embodied Ethics." Third Annual Hawaii Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. University of Hawaii, West Oahu. February 2013.

Panel Chair and Commentator. International Conference on Problems of the Self: Debates in Consciousness, Subjectivity, and Otherness. Jawarharlal Nehru University. New Delhi, India. January 2013.

“Ethics as Human Ecology: A Buddhist Approach.” Annual Meeting of the Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. Honolulu, HI. May 2011.

“Obstacles to Ethical Know-How: A Comparative Approach.” University of Colorado at Denver. Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series. Denver, CO. April 2011.

“Empathetic Connections: Cultivating Concern Across Difference.” Featured Speaker, MSCD Philosophy Student Conference: “Self and Community: Global and Multicultural Perspectives.” Denver, CO. April 2011.

"Embodying Morality: Feminism, Buddhism, and the Cultivation of Care.” Annual Meeting of the Association of Feminist Ethics and Social Theory. Clearwater, FL. September 2009.

“Embodying Morality: Ethical Skill in Feminism and Zen Buddhism.” Special Session of the Society for the Advancement of Asian Philosophy and Asian-American Philosophers. American Philosophical Association: Central Division Meeting. Chicago, IL. February 2009.

Chair and Commentator, “Liberating Traditions: Themes in Feminist Comparative Philosophy.” Group Panel for the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy. American Philosophical Association: Eastern Division Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. December 2008.

Selected Presentations


“Learning Communities in the First Year: Results from a Pilot Study.” Faculty Forum, Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. University of Northern Colorado. Greeley, CO. October 2013.

"Bridging the Faculty-Staff Divide." International Conference on the First Year Experience. Waikaloa, HI. June 2013.

“The First Year Experience.” Invited two-hour workshop for faculty and staff at University of Hawaii, West Oahu. February 2013.

“Exploring Social Issues via Course Integration: Experience from a First Year Success (FYS) Learning Community” with Ting Jiang. Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Reno, NV. March 2013.

“Service-Learning 101: Developing Service-Learning Courses for the Urban School.” Group Presentation. Teacher-Scholar Forum. Denver, CO. February 2013. Poster Presentation. National Service-Learning Conference. Denver, CO. March 2013.

“Our First Year College Learners: Who They Are and What They Need from Us.” Presenter and Panel Chair. Metro State Spring Forum: Teaching at its Best. Denver, CO. February 2012.

Current Projects

I am currently launching a pilot program with Craig Svonkin (MSU Denver, English), entitled Thinking about Books. Our goal is to inspire a love of literature and thinking in third graders at Cheltenham Elementary.



Distinguished Visiting Scholar. University of Hawaii, West Oahu (2013)

21st Century College Readiness Center Program Grant, Thinking About Books. Awarded by Center for Urban Education, MSU Denver (2013)

Course Enhancement Grant. Awarded by Learning Communities and First Year Success, MSU Denver (2012)

Diversity Initiative Grant for Summer Seminar in Philosophy. Awarded by President’s Office, MSU Denver (2012)

Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award. Awarded by Learning Communities and First Year Success, MSU Denver (2011)

Fred L. Emerson Humanities Collaboration Award, Studies in Embodied Ethics. Awarded by Ithaca College (2007)

Francis Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching. Awarded by University of Hawaii, Manoa (2002)

Courses Taught


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