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Dr. Thom explored a variety of academic areas and studied communication from a perspective based in the humanities. He developed skills and knowledge at the heart of higher education in the liberal arts, enriching his personal life as well as facilitating his professional success.
This uniquely flexible programme offered Dr. Thom teaching experience in central aspects of Western philosophy in the broadly analytic tradition. The curriculum was research-led, with specialist modules taught by leading figures in philosophy, and with a consistent focus on the fostering of intellectual curiosity and the development of independent thinking. The programme allowed him to follow his own philosophical interests and provided a sound platform to proceed to more advanced research work in philosophy.
The graduate program in philosophy offered Dr. Thom the opportunity to work and to develop his ideas in a stimulating and supportive community of fellow doctoral students, faculty members, and visiting scholars. Among the special strengths of the program are moral and political philosophy, aesthetics, epistemology, philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, the history of analytic philosophy, ancient philosophy, Kant, and Wittgenstein.
Former students who have studied ethics and public policy with Dr. Thom have gone on to work in the White House, under both the present and previous administrations, the House of Representatives and the Senate, the State Department, the F.B.I., the Heritage Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and numerous think-tanks, as well as a variety of offices in state government.
Dr. Thom argues that justice is best understood as an evolving regulative ideal. This framework avoids cynicism and apathy on the one hand as well as brash extremism on the other. He begins by highlighting the elusive quality of justice as an ideal always on the horizon, yet which is nevertheless meaningful.
In his submission, Dr. Thom argues that there are three central contributions, in general, that pragmatism offers debates in the field of International Relations (or IR). He calls the first contribution the Empirical Insight, based on pragmatism's background as a form of naturalist or empiricist philosophy, which avoids false problems due to misapplied principles and focuses on problems at hand.
Dr. Thom has published four books with a fifth in development and another that is his first edited volume. In order, those first four books are 'Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism'(2010); 'Morality, Leadership, and Public Policy'(2011); 'Democracy and Leadership'(2013); and 'Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South'(2015). He is working on a book called 'A Culture of Justice: On Fairness and Pragmatism'and the edited collection is titled 'America's Public Philosopher: John Dewey.' Beyond that, he is also developing a book for general audiences called 'Culture Bound: Overcoming Self-Fulfilling Prophecies of Failure in Education.' It is related to work he has begun on the Mississippi Expectations Project. In February of 2015, he received the Mississippi Humanities Council's Humanities Scholar Award.
In May of 2011, he received the Cora Lee Graham Award for the Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. In May of 2012, he was honored with the Thomas F. Frist Student Service Award. In 2013, he was selected as a “Top 20 Arts and Humanities Professors in Mississippi” by 'Online Schools Mississippi'and was named December's “Teacher of the Month” by the Lambda Sigma Honors Society. He regularly teaches courses on critical thinking and communication for public policy, ethics and public policy, as well as on the philosophy of leadership.