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University of Missouri

Sound Philosophy

Philosophy professor ponders universal mysteries with his students.

Peter Markie

Peter Markie. Photo by Rob Hill.

Peter Markie can’t help himself — he’s a philosophy professor.

Other winners:

Purple Chalk Award for outstanding teaching

  • Silvia Jurisson, professor of chemistry and radiology
  • Michael Podgursky, BA ’74, professor of economics

Blue Chalk Award for outstanding advisers

  • Lindsey Hagglund, BA ’03, Department of Political Science
  • Jenny Morton, A&S ’99, Department of History

Green Chalk Awards for outstanding teaching assistants

  • Jill Hartleip and Nelson Danilo Leon, MA ’08, Department of Romance Languages and Literature

You walked into the room and you sat down in the chair because you believed there was a chair there,” says Markie, whimsically explaining the basics of epistemology. “The belief was rational. It wasn’t because you believe there are seven angels dancing on the Columns, or something ridiculous like that.”

As do all talented educators, Markie has a knack for reducing monumental concepts into digestible pieces. It’s one of the skills that earned him a Purple Chalk Award for outstanding teaching from the College of Arts and Science in March. In his 37th year at Mizzou, Markie has served as interim assistant provost, vice provost for undergraduate studies and philosophy department chair. But teaching students is what fuels his fire.

It’s not just grabbing their attention, but holding it and doing something with it,” Markie says. “There are days when you have people sucked into a philosophical problem, and their interest generates a back‐and‐forth discussion. That’s when I think I’ll do this forever. They’ll have to have six or eight guys come in with a coffin, say, ‘Markie, you’re done,’ drop me in it and carry me out.”