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Laura McMahon

Assistant Professor

 702-D Pray-Harrold

734 487-0853

lmcmaho1@emich.edu

Degrees

Ph.D. in Philosophy, Villanova University (2015)
M.A. in Philosophy, University of Guelph (2010)
B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy, McGill University (2009)

Professional Associations/Memberships

Representative Courses Taught

PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 225 Philosophy and Society
PHIL 226/WGST 226 Feminist Theory
PHIL 260 Existentialism
PHIL 310W Aesthetics
PHIL 332W Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
PHIL 470W/570 Twentieth-Century European Philosophy
PHIL 495W/595 Phenomenology

Advising

Interests and Expertise

Professor McMahon’s research is focused in Continental Philosophy (especially Phenomenology and Existentialism) and Social and Political Philosophy. She also has substantial interest in Philosophy of Art, Feminist Philosophy, and Ancient Philosophy. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the resources of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological philosophy for understanding the nature of political life. Future projects will include research into the kinds of interpersonal and political environments most conducive to character development, primarily through engagements with the philosophies of Aristotle, John Dewey, and Merleau-Ponty.

Selected Publications

“(Un)Healthy Environments: Merleau-Ponty, Dewey, and the Dynamic Equilibrium Between Self and Environment,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy (forthcoming).

“Phenomenology as First-Order Perception: Speech, Vision, and Reflection in Merleau-Ponty,” Perception and Its Development in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy, eds. Kirsten Jacobson and John Russon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017).

“ ‘Thinking According to Others’: Expression, Intimacy, and the Passage of Time in Merleau-Ponty and Woolf,” Phenomenology and the Arts, eds. Peter Costello and Licia Carlson (Lexington Books, 2016).

“The Phantom Organic: Merleau-Ponty and the Psychoanalysis of Nature,” Chiasmi International 16 (2015), 275-90.

“Home Invasions: Phenomenological and Psychoanalytic Reflections on Embodiment Relations, Vulnerability, and Breakdown,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy Vol. 28, no. 3 (2014), 358-69.

Dissertation 

Vulnerability and Security: Merleau-Ponty on Personal and Political Life.

Selected Professional Presentations

“(Un)Healthy Systems: Merleau-Ponty, Dewey, and the Dynamic Equilibrium Between Self and Environment,” The International Merleau-Ponty Circle (Albuquerque, NM, November 2-4, 2017); Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences Memphis, TN: October 19-21, 2017).

“Freedom as (Self-)Expression: Natality and the Temporality of Action in Bergson, Arendt, and Merleau-Ponty,” The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Toronto, ON: September 28-30, 2017).

“Eros and Logos: An Interpretation of Merleau-Ponty’s ‘The Body as a Sexed Being,’” The Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Halifax, NS: September 29-October 1, 2016); Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (Salt Lake City, UT: October 20-22, 2016).

“The ‘Great Phantom’: Merleau-Ponty on Habit, Group Life, and Political Solidarity,” Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Washington, D.C., January 6-8, 2016).

“Habits of Autonomy: Merleau-Ponty, Feminist Philosophy, and the Virtue of Vulnerability,” Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (New Orleans, October 23-25, 2014); philoSOPHIA (State College, PA, May 1-4, 2014).

“Home Invasions: Embodiment, Vulnerability, and Breakdown in Merleau-Ponty,” Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (Eugene, OR, October 24-26, 2013)

“The Phantom Organic: Merleau-Ponty and the Psychoanalysis of Nature,” International Merleau-Ponty Circle (Pittsburgh, PA, September 26-28, 2013) [*Winner of the M. C. Dillon Award for best paper by a graduate student]; Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy (Toronto, ON, October 10-12, 2013).

“Knowing the Difference: Eros and Writing in Plato’s Phaedrus,” Pennsylvania Circle of Ancient Philosophy (Pittsburgh, PA, February 16-17, 2013).

“ ‘We Have Yet to Become Human’”: Reappropriating Universal Human Rights with Judith Butler,” On the Concept of Life in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Participants’ Conference, Collegium Phaenomenologicum (Cittá di Castello, Italy, July 7-8, 2012).

“Positioning Foucault: Critique in the Face of the Blackmail of the Enlightenment,” Actuality and the Idea, (Princeton, NJ, May 11-12, 2012).

“Phenomenology as First-Order Perception: Speech, Vision, and Reflection in Merleau-Ponty,” Re-approaching the Foundations of Phenomenology (New York, NY, March 30-31, 2012).

“The Philosophical Life as the Practice of ‘Dying and Being Dead’: Plato’s Phaedo and the Death of Socrates,” Plato and the Experience of Philosophy (Guelph, ON, November 11-12, 2012).

“ ‘There is Still Life’: Torture, Vulnerability, and the Body,” Global Justice, the Environment, and the Economy, Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy (Victoria, BC, October 14-16, 2011) [*Winner of CSWIP’s award for the best paper by a graduate student].