Crystal L'Hôte Philosophy and Ethics Department Chair, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics

Crystal L’Hôte


Ph.D., M.A. Johns Hopkins University (Philosophy)
B.A. Colgate University (Philosophy, English)

Research Interests

Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Technology, AI Ethics, Neuroethics

Courses I Teach:

Philosophy and the Good Life
Philosophy of Mind and Neuroethics
Philosophy of Human Nature
Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Environment
Logic: Laws of Thought
Feminist Philosophy


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 democratic 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, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Technology, AI Ethics, Neuroethics

Recent Publications:

“Memory and the Scope of Personal Forgiveness,” in The Routledge Handbook of Forgiveness, edited by R. Enright and G. Pettigrove (New York: Routledge, 2023)

“Metaphysical Issues of Relevance to Cognitive Neuroscience,” in Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience, edited by B. Young and C. Dicey-Jennings (New York: Routledge, 2022)

Award & Recognition

L’Hote is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Mind and Life Institute at Amherst College, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Neuroscience and Society.

Recent News

Crystal L’Hote of the philosophy faculty did an interview in February with reporter Melissa Cooney from WCAX Channel 3, the Burlington-area CBS affiliate. They talked about ChatGPT, a popular new Artificial Intelligence (AI) “chatbot” some educators fear might be used by college students to cheat on work they submit. A chatbot is software that simulates human-like conversations with users via online chat. Its key task is to answer user questions with instant messages. This particular chatbot, ChatGPT, has shown the capacity to create written work based on parameters of style and content that the user sets, often producing quite credible-appearing academic papers, for instance — or even poetry. Crystal brought to the interview her expertise on the ethics around AI in a higher education setting, focusing on ChatGPT.
(posted February 2023)

George Dameron, professor emeritus of history, presented a lecture titled “Dante in a Global Context” on Nov. 1 in the Roy Room of the Dion Center. Introducing George was Christina Root of the English faculty, who, with Crystal L’Hote of philosophy, is a co-director of the College’s Humanities Center that George founded.
(posted February 2022)

Crystal L’Hote of the philosophy faculty this past summer was interviewed by The Independent, a British online newspaper established in 1986 as a politically independent national morning newspaper published in London. It was for a recent feature in the website’s culture section by writer Sam Hancock, titled “How close are we to achieving the transhumanism seen in ‘Years and Years’? A new study suggests the bridge between human and machine is closing faster than we thought.” In the article on this issue of transhumanism – the interface of machines with human brains, as explored through recent popular TV shows and other media – Crystal probes some ethical angles.
(posted February 2020)

Crystal L’Hote of the Saint Michael’s philosophy faculty was quoted extensively in a feature appearing on the website Bustle noting the 15th anniversary of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindBustle is an online American women’s magazine founded 2013, designed for women, and it positions news and politics alongside articles about beauty, celebrities, and fashion trends. By September 2016, the website had 50 million monthly readers. Crystal also was deeply involved in Public Philosophy Week during April in the greater Burlington area again this year as in past years, as are some of her fellow St. Mike’s faculty members. Crystal coordinates the College’s participation and also hosts a session downtown — as do Patrick Standen and Trevien Stanger.
(posted June 2019)

Crystal L’Hote, associate professor of philosophy, along with faculty colleagues Patrick Standen (also philosophy) and Trevian Stanger (environmental studies faculty), contributed to a robust Saint Michael’s presence during Public Philosophy Week (April 30-May 5), an informally organized week of events by area philosophy scholars and enthusiasts billed as “A wonderful week of stimulating discussions and spirited debate.” The Saint Michael’s professors helped lead discussions at different Burlington venues during the week.
(posted June 2018)

Crystal L’Hote, associate professor of philosophy, reports that a paper titled “Free Will and Responsibility in the Neuroscientific Age” — by her student Katie Petrozzo, whom Crystal mentored during summer research last year, –has now been published in Compos Mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics. Crystal also participated, as did her colleague Patrick Standen of the philosophy faculty, in “Burlington Public Philosophy Week” early in April. Professors from the University of Vermont and Middlebury also gave talks at various public venues in Burlington and in Winooski.
(posted June 2017)

Crystal L’Hote, associate professor of philosophy, was interviewed by Elaine McMillon Sheldon for her Lifetime/TED Women short called “The Experience of Time.” This short film “explores the history of humans’ complicated relationship with time, deconstructs our obsession with controlling it, and contemplates how to be more mindful of this valuable resource.” Crystal’s comments (and a nice drawing of her appears on the visual) at about 1:40 at this link:
(posted November 2016)

Crystal L’Hote, associate professor of philosophy, in late April delivered a paper, “From Correlation to Causation: The Pluralist’s Way,” at the Science of Consciousness conference, hosted by Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. The paper engages metaphysical questions in philosophy of science and neuroscience. Crystal is a member of the Neuroscience Program Steering Committee at the College.
(posted June 2016)

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)