Sam Mitchell, a professor of philosophy at Mount Holyoke College, has three goals that are all equally important to him. He wants students to learn the skills associated with his subject: clear thoughts, convincing arguments, and articulate writing; he’d like them to find philosophy fascinating; and mainly, he wants them to have fun. “Do NOT leave Mount Holyoke without taking a class with Sam. One of the best professors ever!” says a student.
His classes cover a wide spectrum of his field, and include Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, and Metaphysics and Epistemology, and his classroom approach intentionally lacks gravitas. “I don’t have a lot of respect for the conventions of public morality or the dignity of my position. For example, I’ll expand decision theory by looking at the odds of a young woman meeting a jerk versus finding love if she decides to flirt,” he says. Lectures are both “clear and fun,” with plenty of time for taking notes and asking as many questions as possible. Every piece of homework counts, but “he will make sure you can handle it.”
Students say that he always gives you everything you need to know, but more specifically, “talks about why we ought to care too, which is amazing and really helps put everything in perspective.” “He dives into more complex material at times, but he also covers the basics from A–Z,” says another.