Mount professor discusses the philosophy of despair

April 27, 2018

John Hofbauer, associate professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Mary College.

John Hofbauer, associate professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Mary College.


John Hofbauer, associate professor of Philosophy, gave the final presentation of this semester’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series with “The Elephant Can Be Ignored No More: A Kierkegaardian/Thomistic Analysis of Societal Despair” at Mount Saint Mary College on Thursday, April 19.
Hofbauer’s presentation examined what philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and St. Thomas Aquinas would point to as the metaphysical cause of current “societal chaos.” 

Despair, “the silent elephant in the room of adult human reflection, has been exponentially ratcheting up its influence in the last decade,” said Hofbauer. 

This presentation was based on research performed during the professor’s recent sabbatical and will be published under the same name as part of the Vernon Press Series in Philosophy. 

Hofbauer has taught Philosophy at the Mount for the last 14 years, including General Ethics, Medical Ethics, Logic, Contemporary Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science. He also served as chairperson of the Division of Philosophy and Religious Studies in 2009 and 2015. In 2011, he served as the Chair of the 11th International Conference on Persons in Provo, Utah. Hofbauer has published a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals, made guest appearances on radio shows, and presented papers at multiple conferences.
The goal of the college’s iROC lecture series is to “provide a forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research endeavors with both Mount Saint Mary College and the local community in a manner easily understood by attendees,” explained series coordinators Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of Biology, and Jennifer Park, assistant librarian for access and outreach services. Presentations include research proposals, initial data collection, and completed research projects.
Mount Saint Mary College is ranked a Top-Tier University by U.S. News & World Report, and offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for careers in healthcare, business, education, social services, communications, media, and the liberal arts.