Faculty Profile: Patrick Lewtas
|Professor Patrick Lewtas
A new faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at AUB this year
is Patrick Lewtas, a native Canadian, who was a practicing lawyer for
most of his career but eventually broke away from the judicial scene to
pursue his life-long passion for philosophy.
First, Lewtas graduated from Harvard University in 1980 with a bachelor's
degree in political philosophy and continued his studies at the University
of Toronto to attain a law degree in 1985, which opened up his career
as a lawyer. Lewtas then spent the next eleven years in practice at a
law firm in Toronto and later worked with Native American Indians in Northwest
Ontario. It was only after his years as a lawyer that he finally gave
in to his urge to become a philosopher.
A driving factor in his desire to study and understand the world is the
uncompromising passion Lewtas has for the wilderness. "I think that
philosophy is not just a way to play with language, but that it gives
us an opportunity to study the world in its own right," he explained.
As such, Lewtas enjoys going on long excursions, sometimes for a month
at a time, to Northern Canada where he traverses the land in excruciating
conditions and experiences a visceral connection to the world.
After leaving behind his career as a lawyer, Lewtas took philosophy courses
at the University of Toronto, then enrolled in a doctorate program in
philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Though the university
faculty was primarily interested in issues of morality and ethics, Lewtas
chose a path towards metaphysics and consciousness. In his dissertation,
Lewtas posited a defense for panpsychism-the view that at least some of
the basic components of our universe have properties of consciousness,
which our consciousness is dependent on- and attempted to develop that
Immediately after finishing his dissertation and receiving his degree,
Lewtas found himself on a plane to Lebanon to accept a position as an
assistant professor of philosophy at AUB. Expressing great pleasure in
his decision to move to Lebanon, Lewtas says, "AUB students are surprisingly
good. They have great command of the English language, when compared to
students of other American universities I've taught at."
Lewtas enjoys teaching both his undergraduate and graduate courses and
very much looks forward to watching his students become more curious about