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Brandon E. Polite


Brandon E. Polite

Chair & Associate Professor of Philosophy

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy

Brandon Polite

Years at Knox: 2007 to present

Ph.D., 2010, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.A., 2005, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., 2003, Knox College.

Teaching Interests
Philosophy of Music, Philosophy in Literature, American Philosophy, Greek Philosophy, Symbolic Logic.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Honors & Grants

  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Interdisciplinary Course Development: New Course: "Philosophy of Music", 2016-2017.
  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Interdisciplinary Course Development: Faith and Reason, 2014.

"Confronting the 'Forever Empty,'" in Louis C.K. and Philosophy, edited by Mark Ralkowski. Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 2016.

"Prelude to a Theory of Musical Representation," Revista Musica 17.1 (2017).

"The Varieties of Musical Experience," Pragmatism Today 5, 2 (Winter 2014): 93-100.

"Tortured Calculations: Body Economies in Shakespeare's Cultures of Honor." Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference: Selected Papers, forthcoming.

Presented comments to "Music and Vague Existence" by David Friedell, Central Division APA Meeting, Kansas City, MO. March 1 - 4, 2017.

"Musical Kinds As Social Kinds: Or, There's More Than One Way to Rock," Essence and Context: A Conference Between Music and Philosophy, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, in Vilnius, Lithuania. August 31 - September 3, 2016.

"Musical Representation and Unexploited Content." Eastern Division American Society for Aesthetics, Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, March 2014.

"The Varieties of Musical Experience." Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics Conference, Budapest, Hungary, June 2014.

"Prelude to a Theory of Musical Representation." American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting. San Francisco, CA, March 2013. Supported by the Knox Conference Travel Fund.

"Music and the Embodied Ear: Against Musical Purism." Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium (CHiPS), Conversations IX: Grounding Aesthetics. University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados, November 2013. Supported by the Knox Conference Travel Fund.

"Kant, Enlightenment, and the Freedom to Flourish: Philosophical Reflections on a Knox Education." Annual First-Year Preceptorial Opening Lecture. Knox College, 2012.

"Making Sense of Music." Paper, The Philosophy of Performance: Art in Modern Society Conference, Notre Dame University, 2012.

"Tortured Calculations: Body Economies in Shakespeare's Cultures of Honor." Paper, Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference. Michigan State University, 2011.

Professional Service

  • Member, American Philosophy Association.
  • Member, American Society for Aesthetic.
  • Member, Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Member, Knox College First-Year Preceptorial Steering Committee, 2012-present.
  • Member, Knox College Religious Studies Program Committee, 2012-present.
  • Faculty editor, The McNair Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, Knox College, 2011-present.
  • Faculty advisor, Knox College Philosophy Club, 2010-present. 
  • Faculty advisor, Knox College Improv Club, 2010-present.
  • Faculty advisor, Interfraternity Council of Knox College, 2010-present.
  • Chapter advisor, Delta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, 2010-present.

What Students Say
"Professor Polite has the rare ability as a professor to make you feel like you are talking with him one-on-one even when you are in a full class. His real-world examples of philosophical problems will make you laugh, not just because they are hilarious, but because at the same time they clarify those problems and reveal their relevance to your own life. Having been a student and a TA for Brandon, I have seldom seen a professor as effective at making philosophy accessible and exciting to every kind of student."
-Samuel Brownson, Philosophy Major and Sociology Minor

"Studying and working with Brandon Polite is so enjoyable, one easily forgets that there is learning or work involved. He approaches teaching with a gifted mind and great affability that renders the most intimidating of texts understandable. After class, he is always available to answer questions or extend a classroom discussion. He also works closely with students on the development and fruition of their ideas, providing them multiple opportunities for success. His passion, both for Philosophy and for puns, leaves a fond and lasting impression."
-Lauren Assaf, English Literature Major and Japanese and Philosophy Minor

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Printed on Saturday, March 25, 2023