This Page Is Under Construction

At this point, the thing that will work for sure (hmmm)
is the link to my May Term Course. Check it out!

Education & Background

I grew up in New England, attending public schools in Newton, Massachusetts. I received my B.A. from Lake Forest College, and my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Teaching and other things I do here at the University of Redlands

I have taught at the University of Redlands since 1979. For all of those years, I have been a member of the Philosophy Department, which has grown from two of us to its current size of 6 in the last 27 years. I am also a member of the Asian Studies Advisory Committee (whose growth I also have enjoyed watching and asisting with). I served as Associate Dean and then Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.


My scholarly interests have been eclectic. My main focus of study for my Ph.D. was in analytic philosophy, especially Philosophy of Mind. My dissertation focused on the attempt of a contemporary American philosopher, Roderick Chisholm, to show that the concept of intentionality provided a crucial, irreducible difference between the mental and the physical, and thus that minds and bodies are truly distinct. Though I ultimately came to disagree with Chisholm's approach and his conclusions, I always admired the spirit of intellectual courage with which he defended a view that was becoming unfashionable at the time.

My lifelong love of animals also led me to working on issues concerning the relation between humans and animals. I was, as Kant said of Hume's influence on his thinking, "awakened from my dogmatic slumbers" by reading Peter SInger's book, Animal Liberation, when it first came out in 1975. I have published some articles in this area as well as a book (co-authored by my wife, Susan Finsen) about the Animal Rights Movement in the U.S.

One of the marvelous opportunities teaching at the University of Redlands has afforded me has been to expand my horizons through travel across the globe. In the 1980s and early 90s I taught Interim (our earlier January term, now morphed to May Term) courses in England (on the British animal rights movement) and Central Europe (on the Holocaust), and spent a semester with students in Salzburg, Austria (in the fall of 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down - a very exciting time for all of us to witness). In the early 1990s, thanks to the encouragement of my colleague Bill Huntley, I was invited to spend a year in Tokyo with our exchange program at Waseda University. That was my first experience of anything or anyplace in Asia, and it has changed my life. In addition to trying to learn the Japanese language, I have had the opportunity to return to Japan many times since that initial visit. In 2004 I was able to spend a semester studying and teaching at Reitaku University. In 2003, I team-taught a May Term course on Japanese gardens, a course I offered again in 2006 and will offer yet again in May, 2007.


Office: Hall of Letters 302

Mailing Address: Professor Lawry Finsen, Department of Philosophy,
University of Redlands, P.O. Box 3080, Redlands, CA 92373-0999

Telephone: 909-748-8651; Fax: 909-335-5390
E-mail:, or just use this link: Lawry Finsen.