Professor

Rodney Parker Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • Phenomenology
  • Existentialism
  • 19th-century European philosophy

Education

  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
  • B.A. (Honours), Philosophy, University of New Brunswick
  • B.Sc. (Honours), Mathematics, University of New Brunswick

About

I grew up in a small town in central New Brunswick. Growing up, I had little to no exposure to philosophy, other than what one might glean from literary works. It was through reading short stories like Flowers for Algernon and books like Black Like Me that I became interested in deeper questions about human existence. Thus, when I enrolled at the University of New Brunswick in 2001, I knew I wanted to study philosophy.

At UNB, I had the good fortune to be surrounded by wonderful professors, including Daniel Ahern, a Nietzsche scholar and my first teacher in philosophy. His lectures shaped the course of my academic career. My first class in Continental philosophy was on Albert Camus’ The Rebel. Through Camus, I was introduced to the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and the Marquis de Sade. Since then, I have maintained an interest in Existentialism.

In the fall of 2003, I took an upper level seminar on Edmund Husserl. The focus was The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (which was translated into English by David Carr, who would later act as the external examiner for my doctoral dissertation). I found Husserl both fascinating and difficult, and I certainly could not have guessed at that time that I would dedicate my career to studying his thought. Studying philosophy – and the humanities and social sciences in general – helped me to question and see past my own worldview, and to appreciate the perspectives and values of others in a new way. Phenomenology gave me the vocabulary and the conceptual tools I needed to study the various types and layers of meaning in the world, and their relationship to systems of knowledge and power.

I received my BA in Philosophy and BSc in Mathematics in 2006 and then began graduate school at the University of Western Ontario. I had initially planned to specialize in the philosophy of logic and mathematics under John Lane Bell but was drawn back to Husserl’s work on intersubjectivity and transcendental idealism. I spent the fall semester of 2011 at the Husserl Archives at KU Leuven researching and writing my doctoral dissertation, and in March of 2013 I defended my work on Husserl’s Transcendental Idealism and the Problem of Solipsism. My co-supervisors were Helen A. Fielding and Antonio Calcagno.

From 2012 to 2016 I was Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario and its affiliated colleges. I then moved to Germany where I held a postdoc in the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists at the Universität Paderborn for two years.

My research focuses on Husserl and the early members of the phenomenological movement. I am primarily interested in the writings of Alexandre Koyré, Theodor Celms, Dietrich Mahnke, and Emmanuel Levinas. Students interested in learning about phenomenology are encouraged to contact me.

Publications

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Translations