Faculty Profile

Crystal L'Hôte, PhD

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Ph.D., M.A. Johns Hopkins University
B.A. Colgate University

Areas of Expertise:

Philosophy of mind (and cognates), metaphysics and epistemology, feminist philosophy, and bioethics/neuroethics, all in the analytic tradition. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Philosophy of Mind: The Mental and the Physical
  • Logic: Laws of Thought
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment
  • Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy: The True, The Good, and the Beautiful

The courses I teach highlight the ongoing relevance of philosophy.  For instance, Philosophy of Mind treats topics in contemporary neuroethics; Logic: Laws of Thought prepares students for the Law School Admissions Test (as well as demoncratic citizenship); and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment examines our relationships to modern technologies and our responsibilities to nature and the environment. I also make efforts to see that learning extends beyond the classroom: I launched the Plato Lecture and am a regular host of the Philosophers' Table.

Research Interests:

Philosophy of mind and its cognates, including philosophy of science and neuroethics; metaphysics and epistemology; and feminist philosophy; all in the analytic tradition.

My research engages contemporary iterations of the so-called "mind-body problem," and  generally advances the thesis that mindedness defies reductive explanation. My current work primarily focuses on two topics: the metaphysics of functional localization in the neurosciences, and the relationship between mental states and moral endeavors, e.g., between memory, emotion and forgiveness.

Selected Publications

The Neuroscientist’s Dilemma – in progress

“From Non-Minds to Minds: Biosemantics and the Tertium Quid” (2013) In The Origins of Mind: The Biological Beginnings and Evolutionary Development of the Human Mind. L. S. Swan, ed. Dordrecht: Springer.

 “Philosophy in the Wild: An Introductory Exercise” (2012) Teaching Philosophy 35:3

“From Content-Externalism to Vehicle-Externalism” (2012) Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review 51:2

“Charles Griswold’s ForgivenessJournal of Value Inquiry (2010) 44:2

“Biosemantics: An Evolutionary Theory of Thought” (2009) Evolution: Education and Outreach 3:2

“Asher Seidel’s Inhuman Thoughts” (2009) Metapsychology 13:2


Selected Conferences and Presentations


“Blue to Blue: Aligning Mind and Brain.” The Mind and Life Institute, Amherst College – 2015

“(Neural) Activity and Consciousness,” Toward a Science of Consciousness. Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona – April, 2014

“Memory, Moral Agency, and Forgiveness.” Colgate University – November, 2013

Annual Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Brown University – June, 2013

 “New Waves in Philosophy of Mind Online Conference.” Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Epistemology, Mind and Normativity – December, 2012

“Functional Connectivity Using Neuroimaging” and “Magnetoencephalography” Workshops at the Evolution and Function of Consciousness conference, Centre de Recherche en Neuropsychologie et Cognition, UQAM Institute of Cognitive Science – July, 2012

“The Space of Consciousness.” Toward a Science of Consciousness. Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona – April, 2012

“Forgiveness and Feeling.” Annual Joint Meeting of the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society. Society for Women in Philosophy. University of Sussex, England – July, 2011

“Louise Antony’s ‘Multiple Realization: Keeping It Real’.” Metaphysics and Mind Group. UVM – June, 2010

“Impossible Virtue: Against the New Posthumanism.” Ethics Group. UVM – April, 2010

“Vehicle-Externalism and Content-Externalism.” Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind. Institute of Cognitive Science. University of Osnabrueck, Germany – November, 2009

 “Thoughtlessness: Cognitive and Ethical Dimensions.” International Conference on the Value of Knowledge. The Knowledge, Belief, and Normativity Project. Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands – August, 2007

“The Narrative-Narrative?” Narrative Alternatives to Theories of Mind. Consciousness in a Natural and Cultural Context Initiative. Centre for Normativity and Narrative / European Science Foundation. University of Hertfordshire, England – July, 2007

Senior Visiting Scholar, Mind and Life Institute, Amherst College - 2015

VPAA Student Research Grant, Chrissy Skrzat on Autonomy and Informed Consent/Bioethics - 2012

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship, Seminar on Metaphysics and Mind, Washington University St. Louis - 2009

Life Off Campus:

I revel in physical activity, whether hiking with my dog in the Green Mountains, cross-country skiing in the wooded areas of Burlington, or training for triathlons. On occasion, I get to see dear friends, write poetry, play piano, and explore new countries and landscapes.

Crystal L'Hote, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, was in short-term residence at the Mind and Life Institute at Amherst College, where, in May, she was invited to present a paper on her sabbatical work. Inspired by a poem by Emily Dickinson, who lived in Amherst, the title was "Blue to Blue: Aligning Mind and Brain."
(September 2015)

Crystal L'Hote, associate professor of philosophy, received a grant from the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania to support her participation in a two-week, interdisciplinary summer session on contemporary topics in neuroscience." In late April, Crystal delivered a paper, "(Neural) Activity and Consciousness," at the annual Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, hosted by Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. The paper engages methodological questions in the contemporary neuroscience(s).
(posted August 2014)

Crystal L'Hôte, associate professor of philosophy, presented a lecture, "Memory, Moral Agency, and the Possibility of Forgiveness," on November 15, at Colgate University.  (November 2013)

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