Welcome to the web page of

James B. South

Philosophy Department

Marquette University





aldus Teaching and Research Interests

aldus Current Research

aldus Editorial Work

aldus Curriculum vitae

aldus Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy


aldus James Bond and Philosophy


aldus Buffy Goes Dark


aldus Mad Men and Philosophy


aldus Philosophy and Terry Practchett

aldus Links of Interest

aldus Some Stuff about Me

aldus Contact Me

Teaching and Research Interests

"I have a class to teach in about five minutes, and I have to arrive early to glare disapprovingly at the stragglers."


My primary areas of research are Augustine, Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, Ordinary Language Philosophy (especially the thought of Stanley Cavell), and Philosophy and Popular Culture. Much of my research to date in the history of philosophy has focused on issues associated with questions about cognition in later medieval philosophy, for example, intentionality, sensation and knowledge of the singular. The reason for this focus is my suspicion that the precise contours of Descartes' indebtedness to Late Scholastic thought are still not well understood due to a failure to appreciate some distinctive turns made in discussions concerning the intellect in the 15th and 16th centuries. My writing on popular culture--tv shows, music, comic books, etc.--allows me to explore some interests I have in contemporary philosophy, including the social context in which philosophy finds itself. Recent published work includes an essay on Zabarella and regressus theory (in the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal), an essay on comic book heroes and modernity in a volume of essays edited by William Irwin and Jorge Gracia, an essay on the Beatles and the practice of philosophy, an essay on Veronica Mars and Skepticism, and the volumes James Bond and Philosophy (co-edited with Jacob M. Held), Buffy Goes Dark (co-edited with Lynn Edwards and Elizabeth Rambo) and Mad Men and Philosophy (co-edited with Rod Carveth). My most recent published work, with Jacob M. Held is a co-edited book entitled Philosophy and Terry Pratchett for Palgrave-Macmillan. I sometimes blog at andphilosophy.com. For the last eleven years, I have edited the journal Philosophy and Theology. I have also begun coursework as an Academic Candidate at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute.

You can find more information about my publications at my bepress.com site.

I regularly teach undergraduate courses in Social and Political Philosophy. My interests there are directed at the development of the modern tradition of political thought from Machiavelli to Mill and the criticism of that tradition begun by Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and others. I also regularly teach a course on the history and philosophy of crime and punishment. I have recently developed several new courses. One, "Philosophy and Popular Culture," explores several philosophical issues associated with popular culture, while also looking closely at various ways of thinking about the discipline of philosophy. Another, "Philosophy and Film," takes as its central text Stanley Cavell's Cities of Words. Another, "Conceiving the Subject," look at various texts from 20th century literature and thought to see how we can best approach the vexed question of the notion of 'the subject.' I am especially concerned in this course with making problematic the notion of 'authenticity' by focusing on several challenges stemming from the work of Freud, Wittgenstein, Adorno, and others. On the graduate level, I often teach a Plato course, specialized courses on Augustine, Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ("Franciscan Philosophy," "Humanism and Platonism in the Renaissance"), and a course on Marx and Moral Theory. Most recently, I developed a course on the thought of Cora Diamond and Stanley Cavell. For many years taught a freshman seminar in the honors program on the work of Joss Whedon. More recently, I have taught a freshman seminar entitled Introduction to Inquiry.

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Current Research

"Uh ... is this all research, or just some kind of stress test for the table?"


Work in progress includes essays about Thomas Aquinas on sensation, Nicoletto Vernia and regressus theory ,Zabarella and Demonstrative Knowledge,and a long essay on intentionality in Zabarella and Suárez. In addition, I have begun work on essays exploring Stanley Cavell's use of the notion of "baptism" and, more generally, his indebtedness to the thought of the early Martin Luther. I also have an essays in progress on the recent work of Charles Taylor and his notion of authenticit, and another on Stanlet Cavell's account of romanticism and the music of Aimee Mann. Looking to the slightly more remote future, I am engaged in a project on the early work of Cavell more generally, especially his books on Walden, some essays in Must We Mean What We Say?, and The World Viewed. I have also begun thinking about the relation between Cavell's perfectionist ethics. psychoanalytic thought, and the novels of Thomas Pynchon.

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Editorial Work

"You know, inspirational music ... a montage, me sharpening my pencils, me reading, writing, falling asleep on a big pile of books with my glasses all crooked, 'cause in my montage I have glasses."


I am the editor of the journal Philosophy and Theology

I am on the editorial board of The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association

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"I go online sometimes, but ... everyone's spelling is really bad, and it's ... depressing."


The Marquette Philosophy Department Web Site

The American Philosophical Association

The Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Institute

The Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

The American Psychoanalytic Association

Scholasticon: A web site devoted to later Scholastic Philosophy

The Renaissance Society of America

The Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

The Medieval Academy of America

Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale

Whedonesque: A web site dedicated to news about Joss Whedon's shows/movies

Academic Buffy Bibliography

PopPolitics.com: A site that explores the intersections of pop culture and politics

American Association of University Professors

And, for your Philosophy Gift-Giving needs:

The Unemployed Philosophers' Guild

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Some Stuff about Me



"Yes, he's clearly a bad influence on himself."

Several years ago, I read Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, a book that confirmed to me that
you can tell a lot about a person by what he or she likes. So in an homage to
Rob's obsessive list making, here's a few top five lists to help you get to know me.

Top Five Aimee Mann Songs


5) Lost in Space
4) Put Me on Top
3) Amateur
2) Little Bombs
1) Momentum

Top Five Comic Book Heroes


5) Jessica Drew (Spiderwoman)
4) Luke Cage
3) Dinah Lance (Black Canary)
2) Nick Fury
1) Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle)

Top Five Xena Episodes


5) The Ides of March
4) The Xena Scrolls
3) A Day in the Life
2) Is There A Doctor in the House?
1) Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Top Five Woody Allen Movies


5) Crimes and Misdemeanors
4) Deconstructing Harry
3) Hannah and Her Sisters
2) Husbands and Wives
1) Annie Hall

Top Five Current TV Shows


5) Person of Interest
4) The Venture Brothers
3) Homeland
2) Justified
1) Mad Men

Top Five Comic Books


5) Astonishing X-Men
4) Powers
3) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2) Runaways
1) Birds of Prey (Gail Simone)

Top Five Terry Pratchett Novels


5) Wyrd Sisters
4) Small Gods
3) Jingo
2) Carpe Jugulum
1) Hogfather


Top Five CDs in Heavy Rotation

5) Matthew Sweet & Susannah
Hoffs-Under the Covers(all volumes)
4) Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
3) Joe Williams-At Newposrt '63
2) Dave Brubeck Quartet-Take Five
1) Claudine Longet-Colours

Top Five Burt Bacharach Songs


5) One Less Bell to Answer
4) A House is not a Home
3) Don't Make me Over
2) Walk on By
1) The Look of Love



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Contact me



"740? Verbal?! I'm... pathetic! Illiterate! I'm Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel."

James B. South
Department of Philosophy
Marquette University
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

Phone: (414) 288-6729


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The quotations are, of course, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Last updated 07/14/2015