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


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.


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 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.


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.

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, "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, "A Pentecostal Kierkegaard?," in Kierkegaard on Revelation, Divine Knowledge, and Ethics, ed. Aaron E. Hinkley (Springer Press), under contract.
  • 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, forthcoming).
  • 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, forthcoming. (To be 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.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Helping More than 'A Little': Recent Books on Kierkegaard and Philosophy of Religion," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72, no.3 (2012): 227-42.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "In Whom, Then, Do We Put Our Trust??Thinking About Levinas with Drew Dalton," The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 11, no.3 (Fall 2011): 37-45. 
  • J. Aaron Simmons and Jay McDaniel, "Levinas and Whitehead: Notes toward a Conversation to come," Process Studies 40, no.1 (2011): 26-53. A revised version, peer reviewed in China, has also been published in Chinese in World Philosophy 4, (2011): 92-107).
  • J. Aaron Simmons and Fred Ablondi, "Gabriel Biel and Occasionalism: Overcoming an Apparent Tension," History of Philosophy Quarterly 28, no.2 (April 2011): 159-74.
  • J. Aaron Simmons and Fred Ablondi, "Heretics Everywhere: On the Continuing Relevance of Galileo for Philosophy of Religion," Philosophy and Theology 22, no.1-2 (2010): 49-76
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "'A Faith Without Triumph': Emmanuel Levinas and Prophetic Pragmatism," Reflections on Levinas: Mono Kurgusuz Labirent 4, no.8-9 (Fall 2010):467-84. (Also published in Turkish as: "Zaferden Yoksun İnanç: Emmanuel Levinas ve Kahin Pragmatizmi").
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Richard Rorty: Kierkegaard in the Context of Neo-Pragmatism," in Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception, and Resources: Vol.11, Kierkegaard's Influence on Philosophy: Tome III: Anglophone Philosophy, ed. Jon Stewart (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), 177-202.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Toward a Relational Model of Anthropocentrism: A Levinasian Approach to the Ethics of Climate Change," in Faces of Nature: Levinasian Ethics and Environmental Thought, eds. William Edelglass, Chris Diehm, and Jim Hatley (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2012), 229-252.
  • J. Aaron Simmons, "Continuing to Look for God in France: On the Relationship Between Phenomenology and Theology," Words of Life: New Theological Turns in French Phenomenology, ed. Bruce Ellis Benson and Norman Wirzba (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010), 15-29
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Florida State University
Lee University

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