- Cullman, Alabama

April 29, 2013

Ole Miss Philosophy Scholar Dr. William F. Lawhead discusses living practical in the real world during Wallace State humanities forum


HANCEVILLE — Wallace State Community College welcomed University of Mississippi Philosophy Scholar Dr. William F. Lawhead to campus for a humanities forum during the college’s seventh annual Arts in April festivities.

Lawhead is the Philosophy and Religion Department Chair at Ole Miss and the author of an introductory textbook, “The Philosophical Journey: An Interactive Approach,” that Wallace State utilizes in its PHL 106 Introduction to Philosophy course.

“To me, Dr. Lawhead is the Michael Jordan of philosophy. His visit was almost like a hero coming to hang out with you for a day. I believe he’s written the best intro philosophy book of all time, and our students really respond to it and responded to him well,” said Wallace State Religion and Philosophy Instructor Dr. Lee Walton.

During his presentation at the Burrow Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Lawhead discussed how individuals apply a practical use to philosophy – philosophy in the real world. Among many details, he explained that being practical means finding an efficient way to achieve a goal and then determining what goals are worthy of being pursued. He also said that learning how to handle ideas is practical and that words, concepts, thoughts, principles and character all ultimately lead to our actions.

Lawhead cited many historical philosophers and people during his speech, singling out Plato, Socrates, Epictetus, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx and C.S. Lewis.

He also explained that many philosophy majors eventually enroll in medical or law school or embark on careers dependent on analytical reasoning or solid communication skills.

As department chair at Ole Miss, Lawhead teaches undergraduate courses in logic, history of philosophy and philosophy of religion and a graduate seminar on the Continental rationalists.

Lawhead received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wheaton College in Illinois and his doctorate from the University of Texas-Austin. In addition to writing the introductory philosophy book used by Wallace State students, Lawhead has penned “The Voyage of Discovery: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy,” “The Ancient Voyage,” “The Medieval Voyage,” “The Modern Voyage,” and “The Contemporary Voyage.”

After his speech, Lawhead visited one of Wallace State’s philosophy classes, answering additional questions.

“It meant a lot that Dr. Lawhead stepped into one our classes afterwards. He stayed for more than an hour answering questions. These weren’t easy questions. Our students asked questions that people have been struggling about for years,” Walton said. “Our students are top-shelf philosophy students, and Dr. Lawhead commented about that as well.”

Wallace State has a newly-formed philosophy club that meets on Thursdays at noon at the Burrow Center. For more information about the club, contact Walton at 256-352-8398.

For more information about Arts in April at Wallace State, visit