Disagree and challenge assumptions! If you are a student in one of Dr. Nancy Billias' classes, that's what she expects from you. "When students give answers I say, 'That's good. But tell me more. There's always more.'" Dr. Billias believes that Philosophy can't be taught; it can only be learned, by thinking for yourself. She continues, "I teach by asking questions and helping people connect with the history of thought." Above all, Dr. Billias encourages her students to open their minds, because that is the most important objective and benefit of studying Philosophy.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Billias remembers a professor showing her a thousand-year-old text. It expressed exactly what she was feeling at that moment. "It helped me see the inter-connectiveness in human searching, the same questions being explored. I tell students that what they are thinking and feeling is a reflection of universal thought."
Among Dr. Billias' areas of specialty are Continental Philosophy of Language, Ethics, Phenomenology, Philosophy and Literature, and the Philosophy of Translation. She connects Philosophy to many aspects of her personal life as well. As another way of encouraging "philosophy in action," she practices and teaches Shintaido, a peaceful martial arts discipline that combines spirituality and body movement. "I am excited to be able to share Shintaido with the University community," Dr. Billias says. "Staff, faculty and students take it together. It makes for a warm sense of community."
Ph.D., Union Institute and Graduate School
M.S.Sc., New School University
M.Th., University of Edinburgh, Scotland
M.A., Claremont Graduate School
B.A., Clark University
In 2013, Professor Billias published 'Orphic Listening', a new translation of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus in sonnet form. This work includes an essay on the philosophy of translation, and is available in the USJ bookstore and on Amazon.com.
Currently, Dr. Billias is working on two major projects: development of a postmodern ethical approach, and an exploration of Philosophy as transformative practice. "Transformation is what Philosophy is all about. There's always another answer, always more that we can become."
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