B.A., University of Chicago, 2004; M.A., philosophy, Fordham University, 2008; M.Phil., philosophy, Fordham University, 2010; Ph.D., philosophy, Fordham University, 2013; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Mount Saint Vincent, 2012-2018; Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College, 2018-.
Before coming to Thomas Aquinas College, Margaret Hughes taught philosophy for the better part of a decade. In teaching at the College, however, she has found the experience to be quite different.
“We were looking at a Platonic dialogue in my Freshman Philosophy class, and Socrates was taking the position that pleasure is what’s good, and pain is what’s bad,” Dr. Hughes recalls. “The students in the section had a sense that there was something wrong with this position — they were really unhappy with it. So we had a conversation about it, trying to figure out what objections there might be.” She hadn’t expected such a critical response. “With other students,” she explains, “my work would be just trying to help them to consider that there may be some other ethical standard than pleasure!”
The College’s students, she finds, are exceptionally well-prepared, not only spiritually but also academically, to make the most of their classroom discussions. “Here, every class reinforces students’ confidence in the ability of human reason to know what’s true,” she says. “There’s an understanding across the school about what you’re doing and what’s expected.”
A native of Connecticut, Dr. Hughes is a graduate of the University of Chicago. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy at Fordham University, where she taught undergraduate philosophy, and then served for six years at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York.
Many of her favorite moments with students take place outside the classroom. “One of the things that I appreciate most about being here is that it is possible to live a way in which faith, intellectual inquiry, and everyday life are integrated. Getting to know students — by moving from intense discussions of a text in class to wide-ranging discussions outside of class, at meals, concerts, or even just in passing on the quad — is really delightful.” she says. “I have always wanted to teach at a place that has a clear understanding of what education is, one that encourages a shared intellectual life amongst the faculty and with the students. I am very grateful to be here.”
“The Interior Cathedral and the Cathedral Interior.” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. Spring 2020 (43:1).
“Theories of Religion: Theism” in Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy, ed. Graham Oppy and Joseph Koterski. MacMillan Reference USA, 2019.
“Love, Leisure, and Festivity: Josef Pieper on the Passions of Love and the Contemplation of God” in The Religious Existentialists and the Redemption of Feeling, ed. Anthony Malagon and Abi Doukhan. New York: Lexington Books, 2019.
“Does Taste Matter for Thomists?” The Thomist. January 2017 (81:1).
- “Teaching the Antepenultimate Cantos of the Divine Comedy: The Dilemma of Not Moving.” Pedagogy. October 2017 (17:3).
- “Contemplative Sorrow and the Culture of Life.” Life and Learning XXVI: Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth University Faculty for Life Conference. ed. Joseph Koterski, S.J. Washington, DC: University Faculty for Life. 2016.
- “Josef Pieper and the Beautiful Uselessness of Church Buildings.” Journal of Sacred Architecture, Winter 2016 (30).
- “The Ease of Beauty: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis.” Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century: Proceedings of Sacra Liturgia 2015. ed. Alcuin Reid. London: Bloomsbury. 2016.
- “The Love of Beauty and the Pursuit of Excellence: What Plato’s Phaedrus Teaches about Teaching.” The Quest for Excellence: Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Core Texts. ed. Dustin Gish, Chris Constas, and J. Scott Lee. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books. 2016.
- “Humor, Hope, and the Human Being.” Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity. ed. John P. Hittinger. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2015.
- “The Emotional Education of the Reader: A Progression through Works and Time.” Journal of Aesthetic Education, Winter 2013 (47:4).
- “Archetype” and “Beauty.” Entries in the New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012 – 2013: Ethics and Philosophy. ed. Robert Fastiggi and Joseph Koterski, S.J. Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning. 2013.
- Book review of The Many Faces of Beauty, ed. Vittorio Hösle in International Philosophical Quarterly, June 2014 (54:2).
- Book review of Dynamic Transcendentals: Beauty, Truth, and Goodness from a Thomistic Perspective, by Alice Ramos in International Philosophical Quarterly, March 2013 (53:1).
- Book Review of Thinking about Thinking: What Kind of Conversation is Philosophy? by Adriaan T. Peperzak in Review of Metaphysics, December 2012 (66:2).
- Book review of Beauty and Being: Thomistic Perspectives by Piotr Jaroszyński in International Philosophical Quarterly, March 2012 (52:1).
- “The Interior Cathedral and the Cathedral Interior” at The Burning of Notre Dame: A Symposium on Sacred Architecture and the Theology of Beauty hosted by the Thomistic Institute, New York University, New York, NY. Nov. 16, 2019.
- “Talking About Taste.” Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD. December 2016.
- “Does Taste Matter for Thomists?” Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Barry’s Bay, ON. July 2016.
- “The Ease of Beauty: Liturgy, Evangelization, and Catechesis.” Sacra Liturgia 2015, New York, NY. June 2015.
- “There Will Be Dancing at the Wedding: Music, Dance – but not Art? – at the Heavenly Banquet.” Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Fall Conference, South Bend, IN. November 2016.
- “Contemplative Sorrow and the Culture of Life.” University Faculty for Life Annual Conference, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI. June 2016.
- “Does Taste Matter for Thomists?” Center for Thomistic Studies, Kalamazoo Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI. May 2016.
- “Love, Leisure and Festivity: Josef Pieper on the Passions of Love and the Contemplation of God.” Redemption of Feeling Conference, Queens College, New York, NY. December 2015.
- “Personalism and the Passions: Dante’s Thomistic Understanding of the Development of the Passions through Personal Relations.” Center for Thomistic Studies, Kalamazoo Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI. May 2015.
- “Personal Encounters: Art as a Mediator to the Divine.” Shaped by Beauty – Art, Religion, and Ethics in Conversation, Heythrop College, University of London, England. June 2014.
- “Josef Pieper on Love and Moral Formation.” American Catholic Philosophical Association, satellite session, Indianapolis, IN. November 2013.
- “Humor, Hope, and the Human Being.” Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas: U.S. Meeting, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. October 2013.
- “What is Wrong with Baby Mozart: A Virtue Ethics Critique.” Verge Arts and Ethics Conference, Trinity Western University, Langley, British Columbia. October 2012.
- “Shocked Out of the Everyday: Art as Redemptive in Josef Pieper's Philosophy of Human Nature.” Long Island Philosophical Society, Brooklyn, NY. October 2011.
- “Socrates and Noddings on the Role of Subject Matter in Care.” Graduate Student Conference on Philosophy and Education, Urbana-Champaign, IL. October 2011.
- Seminar on Art as Experience by John Dewey. Philosophical Red Star Line Conference, Bronx, NY. September 2011.
- “The Love of Beauty and the Pursuit of Excellence: What Plato’s Phaedrus Teaches About Teaching.” Association of Core Texts and Courses, New Haven, CT. April 2011.
- “The Beauty of the Person in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas.” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI. May 2010.
- “The Demands of Love: Awareness of Worlds in Reading St. Augustine’s Confessions.” Association of Core Texts and Courses, New Brunswick, NJ. April 2010.
- “Thomas Aquinas’ Defense of Beautiful Poetry.” Medieval Studies Workshop, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. May 2004.