I was born in Cleveland, TN in 1977 and grew up in Tampa, FL. I went to college to study Physics, but ended up falling in love with the humanities after spending a semester studying in Cambridge. I still approach philosophy from an interdisciplinary perspective and care deeply about the ideas that lie behind and motivate cultural expression in art, music, and literature. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt where I worked closely with David Wood. Now specializing in Postmodern Philosophy of Religion and Political Philosophy, I primarily engage in debates about the possibilities of determinate religious belief and practice in a deconstructive context.​


Name Title Description


C.S. Lewis

An introduction to college writing that explores the life, work and theology of C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Topics for critical analysis through writing and revision include Lewis?s arguments on Christian belief, morality, forgiveness, faith, pain, and the nature of heaven and hell. Students will explore these arguments and create their own through a series of writing assignments.


C.S. Lewis

Exploration of the life, work and theology of C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century. Topics to be explored include Lewis's writing on Christian belief, morality, forgiveness, faith, pain and the nature of heaven and hell -- all with an emphasis on practical applications to modern life.


God and Justice

This course will explore the complicated relationship of religion and politics in a democratic context. In addition to reading classical texts in political theory, we will also consider religious approaches to political activism as such activism affects American public policy.


History of Ideas in Context I

Texts and ideas from a variety of disciplines and genres (including the humanities, fine arts, and political philosophy) in both Western and non-Western cultural contexts. Topics will vary.


History of Ideas in Context II

Texts and ideas from a variety of disciplines and genres (including the humanities, fine arts, and political philosophy) in both Western and non-Western cultural contexts. Topics will vary.


Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to some of the classic problems of philosophy, with emphasis on understanding the nature of philosophical reflection and reasoning. Includes epistemology, ethics, metaphysics and other major branches of philosophy.


Philosophy of Religion

Investigation of the central philosophical issues relating to religious belief and practice. Topics include: arguments for and against the existence of God, the problem of evil, the nature and significance of religious experience, and the relationship between the different world religions.


Philosophy and Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop is one of the most significant American cultural movements of the past several decades. Students will philosophically consider hip-hop as a helpful resource for thinking about identity, social justice, and religion.


God Death Meaning of Life

Exploration of some of the main thematic issues associated with an existential approach to philosophy. it will ask the big questions" that characterize existential philosophical engagement from Plato to Shakespeare


Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Important figures and themes of nineteenth century philosophy. Readings chosen from Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Marx, Kierkegaard, Darwin, and Nietzsche.


Twentieth Century Philosophy

Introduction to the important figures and themes of twentieth century philosophy. Attention given to material from both the analytic and phenomenological traditions. Postmodern responses to these traditions also examined.


Philosphers, Mvmnts, Problems

Further investigation into a particular philosopher, movement or problem. Topics vary.


Summer Undergraduate Research

My teaching is guided by the notion that students will take seriously that which connects to their lives. As such, all of my classes are based on the idea that "Philosophy is Everywhere." Rather than seeing philosophy as an esoteric discipline, I aim to show students that studying philosophy helps them to love more deeply whatever they love, and to do better whatever they end up doing.

Books and Special Journal Issues

Recent Articles and Book Chapters (Selected)

  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Vagueness and Its Virtues: A Proposal for Renewing Philosophy of Religion," in Philosophy of Religion After Religion, eds. Richard Amesbury and Michael Rogers (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming). 
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "A Search for the 'Really' Real: Philosophically Approaching the Task of Defining Religion," Bulletin for the Study of Religion (forthcoming). 
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Wormwood Gets Promoted: A Devilish Look at Higher Education," in Philosophical Perspectives on the Devil, ed. Benjamin McCraw (New York: Routledge, forthcoming). 
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Continental Approaches to the Epistemology of Theology," in The Oxford Handbook to the Epistemology of Theology, eds. William J. Abraham and Frederick Aquino (Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Kisses Sweeter than . . . Something: Kierkegaard and Pickstock on Repetition and Revision," ​Theology Syndicate (February, 2015). (Published with a reply from Catherine Pickstock)
  • J. Aaron Simmons and Jay McDaniel, "So Many Faces: God, Humans, and Animals," in Divinanimality: Animal Theory, Creaturely Theology, ed. Stephen Moore (Fordham University Press, 2014).
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Postmodern Kataphaticism? A Constructive Proposal," Analytica Hermeneutica 4 (2012), special issue on "Refiguring Divinity: Continental Philosophy of Religion," ed. Michelle Rebidoux.
  • J. Aaron Simmons and John Sanders, "A Goldilocks God," (with John Sanders), Element (special issue on Open and Process theism), forthcoming.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "On Shared Hopes for (Mashup) Philosophy of Religion: A Reply to Trakakis," Heythrop Journal 55:4 (July, 2014): 691-710. (Published with responses from Nick Trakakis and Merold Westphal)
  • J. Aaron Simmons and Scott F. Aikin, "Prospects for a Levinasian Epistemic Infinitism," International Journal for Philosophical Studies 20, no.3 (July 2012): 437-60.
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Florida State University
Lee University

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