Faculty Spotlight: Eva Maria Räpple
Eva Maria Räpple
Program: Philosophy /
For Eva Maria Räpple, teaching means an opportunity to learn.
"In a certain way, the classroom is like a theater stage. As in a play, the discussions offer an opportunity for those who participate in a thought experiment to imagine what scenarios might work best and what scenarios may likely lead to failure without experiencing potential consequences in the real world," explained the Philosophy/Religious Studies professor. "Such endeavor offers an opportunity to critically examine topics and practice constructive criticism in order to gain an understanding of important questions for which there are rarely uncomplicated answers.
"In other words, understanding of the complex questions, beliefs and ideas happens in the experimental realm, not reality, as an all-important preparation for life itself."
Räpple brings plenty of experience to her students. She has lived in diverse countries and has earned her degrees across the globe: an MA Equivalency from the University of Frankfurt in Germany, an MA in Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
"Having lived in different countries throughout my life, I have always been fascinated with the diversity of ideas, patterns of thought, beliefs and values in this world," she said. "Simultaneously, I gained an awareness of the need to examine those contexts critically."
In the broadest sense, Räpple sees her goal as helping her students develop their potential as human beings.
"Students often wonder whether they should really pull themselves through the task of reading difficult texts, learning how to develop critical thinking, and struggle in composing concise arguments," she said. "I contend that this work pays off because the questions that are addressed and examined in Philosophy and Religious Studies are applicable to all human contexts: Who are we? How do we know? What do we believe to be true? What should our communities look like? How ought one to act?
"To explore philosophical questions such as these allows students to gain knowledge, to critically apply it and, ideally, to become creative, imaginative beings. In this global world, these abilities will be vital for students to participate responsibly and intelligently in their private as well as their public lives."