Faculty and Staff
William S. Dibrell
Professor Philosophy
Alfred University Contact Info
Office Location: Kanakadea Hall
Department: Human Studies  
Phone: 607.871.2703  
William S. Dibrell
Ph.D.: Philosophy
Michigan State University, 1979

M.A.: Philosophy
San Diego State University, 1974

B.A.: Philosophy/English
San Diego State University, 1971

Current Research
I have been developing topic courses in philosophical anthropology, various social and political topics and courses linking biology and philosophy. A recent course, "The Evolution of Morality," brings traditional philosophy, the study of consciousness, biological and anthropological perspectives together in one place. I made presentations on topic in these areas to the European Sociobiological Society. Currently I am working on expanding the evolution of morality project to include important feminist and non-western perspectives. My most recent presentation in this area was a paper "Virtue, Character, and Evolution" presented at a meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences. I recently coauthored a paper with Professor Elizabeth Ann Dobie "Linking Biomedical Engineering Ethics Case Studies and Policy" which was presented at the Third International Conference on Ethical Issues in Biomedical Engineering and subsequently published in the Journal of Long-term Effects of Medical Implants. Finally, I have a lasting interest in Nietzsche. A paper "The Dionysian Significance of Eternal Return," appears in Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, Fall 1995. This piece largely concerns Alexander Nehamas' interpretations of Nietzsche and a Dionysian notion of the self. More recently this interest has led me to research on why humans value altered states of consciousness and on why some kinds of altered states are important to happiness.

I have extensive on campus involvement by way of committees and such. At present I am Chair of the University Pre-law Advising committee. If you happen to be interested in pre-law issues I welcome questions. Alfred has offered great preparation for law school to many students. I currently am the Chair of Alfred University’s Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee. I am the just passed president of Alfred University’s Faculty Senate. Both positions are important to faculty involvement in university governance. On the extracurricular front I have been an active member of the A. E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Co. (Alfred's fire and ambulance company) where I have been Chief. Things I enjoy include body surfing (not in Alfred) and reading in a variety of academic and non-academic fields. I am also a pretty fair cook.

Teaching Interests

Ethics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language


Logic, History of Philosophy, Social and Political, Feminism, Philosophical Anthropology

I regularly teach classes in ethics, logic, and introduction to philosophy as well as participate in the world civilization program and offer a variety of upper level courses. Like most of my colleagues I use discussion and lecture formats in all of my classes. Recently, I have been trying to use the students as teachers in my ethics course. This is an application of the idea that you learn better by teaching. I am happy with the results so far.

Post-Doctoral Education
NEH Summer Seminar: Self-consciousness and Self-reference, Sidney Shoemaker, Cornell University 1985.

NEH Summer Seminar: The Nature of Reasoning, Gilbert Harman, Princeton University 1982.

Faculty Service
Fall 1983 - present - Division of Human Studies, Alfred University, Alfred NY.

Spring 1976 - Spring 1983 - Philosophy Department, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI.

Fall 1975 Part-time - Jackson Community College (Jackson Prison Program), Jackson, MI.

Links of Interest
Psyche: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness.