Name: John Duncan
Title: Professor
Office Phone: TBA
Office Location: 216 Larkin
Office Hours: Wednesday 10am - Noon or by appointment
BA and MA philosophy, Carleton University
PhD Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought, York University
John Duncan 

John Duncan completed his PhD in the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought at York University in 1998, immediately after which he joined the faculty at the University of King’s College in Halifax. In 2002 he founded the international bilingual society for the study of Existential andPhenomenological Theory and Culture (EPTC) and served as its president untilMay 2009. During a 2004-05 sabbatical leave he was Ashley Fellow at TrinityCollege in the University of Toronto, a year in which he co-founded PhaenEx, EPTC's interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal. He remained a PhaenEx executive editor until the summer of 2012 when he co-edited a 400-page issue in commemoration of EPTC’s ten-year anniversary (PhaenEx 7.1., spring/summer,2012). In the summer of 2005 he was appointed assistant professor and director of the Ethics, Society, and Law (ES&L) program at Trinity, as well as an instructor in the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program in public policy,ethics, international relations, and health science, for which he served as director from July 2012 to August 2014. From 2006 to 2011 he was an executive member of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics, for which he organized the October 2011 Public Issues Forum: On the very idea of a good war:Afghanistan ten years in. Beginning at Trinity in 2007 and continuing in partnership with Victoria College in the University of Toronto (where he is an associate) from 2010, he co-founded the Humanities for Humanity outreach program and remains its academic director. Starting from the 2011-12 year he has led Victoria College’s Culture, Conflict, and the Media seminar, and served as the academic director for its Theatre for Thought outreach program, both of which are part of Victoria’s Ideas for the World program. In January 2014 he became the first holder of the appointment of Faculty Advisor for the Ideas for the World program at Victoria. From June 2013 to June 2015 he has served asVice President of the Canadian Peace Research Association. He has co-edited a volume on the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau as well as issues of PhaenEx, written chapters, articles,reviews and opinion pieces on the history of philosophy, continental philosophy, and politics, and given many talks on the same subjects. His feature article on close air support and civilian casualties in Afghanistan,“Death from Above,” first published in ThisMagazine, March/April, 2010, was re-published in Tightrope Books’ The Best Canadian Essays: 2011. He published a chapter in October 2013 on the virtue of deep dissent, and is currently working on a book on the war in Afghanistan. 



On the Afghanistanintervention. 1

On various politicaltopics. 2

On various topics incontinental philosophy. 2

On various topics inthe humanities. 3


On the Afghanistan intervention

 John Duncan. Interview: Graeme Smith (about the Afghanistan intervention) published both in Trinity AlumniMagazine Spring 2014, pp 8-10, and on the Trinity College website,Spring 2014.

 ---. “Afghanistan willbe a source of global instability after 2014,” NEZ ÀNEZ debate published in the Fall 2013 issue of Global Brief: World Affairs in the 21st Century. The completedebate published in the on-line edition:

 ---. “Death fromabove,” The Best Canadian Essays: 2011 (

 ---, Graeme Smithand Amir Attaran,“Our Afghan Decade: A roundatable discussion on the past,present, and future of Canada's mission in Afghanistan,” The Sept/Oct 2011issue of This Magazine marking the10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan.

 ---. “Canada’s Afghanistan intervention isa disastrous failure.” The CCPA Monitor.Volume 17 Number 4, September 2010, pages 18-19.

 ---. “The Insurgents will be back.” Op-edfor The Globe and Mail, May 5, 2010(857 words), page A17.

 ---. “Three Short Months Seven Long YearsAgo.” Op-ed for The Ottawa Citizen,December 22, 2008 (901 words). Also carried by The Edmonton Journal (2008 12 23), The Montreal Gazette (2008 12 24), The Vancouver Province (2008 12 24), The Victoria Times Colonist (2008 12 27) that I know of.

On various political topics

 ---. Interview: Michael Ignatieff (about his run for the Office ofPrime Minister)published both in Trinity Alumni Magazine Spring 2014, pp8-10, and on the Trinity College website, Spring 2014.

 ---. Interview: Robyn Doolittle (about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford), published on the Trinity College website,Spring 2014:

 ---. “Returning to the Responsibility to Protect,” OpenCanada, Canadian International Council, April 23, 2014,  

 ---, Russell Hoy,"Canadian Mining Companies' Bad Record Abroad," The CCPA Monitor, Vol. 20 No. 3, July /August 2013, p. 39.

 ---."Canada'sFlimsy Kyoto Excuse: Exporting tar sands oil to U.S. and China ishypocritical," in The CCPA Monitor,Volume 18, No 9, March 2012, page 23.

 On various topics in continental philosophy

---. "Descent to the Things Themselves: The Virtue of Dissent."Invited Chapter. Editors: Kevin Hermberg and Paul Gyllenhammer puttogether the volume Phenomenology andVirtue Ethics for  BloomsburyPublishing, Fall 2013.

 ---.“Michel Foucault,” 3,500 word article forthe Encyclopedia Of Media AndCommunication. Edited by Marcel Danesi. University of Toronto Press,Scholarly Publishing Division. May, 2013.

 ---. “On Heideggerand Happiness.” PhaenEx ( A book encounter (an extended review of,and engagement with, a new book), in this case: Matthew King. Heidegger and Happiness: Dwelling on Fittingand Being (Continuum: New York, 2009).

 ---. “Sartre’sPure Critical Theory,” pages 130-175, Rethinking1968 -- a special topics issue, PhaenEx Vol 4, No 2.December 2009.

 ---. “Culture, Tragedy and Pessimism in Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy,”pages 47-70, The Inaugural SpecialTopics Issue: On Resurfacing Tragedy. PhaenEx,Vol. 1, No. 2 (2006) 1-122.

 ---. “Sartre andRealism-all-the-Way-Down,” pages 91-113, in Adrian van den Hoven and AndrewLeak, editors. Sartre Today: A Centenary Celebration (Berghahn Books,2005).

            --All contents also published in SartreStudies International, Vol. 11, No. ½ (2005). 

--This paper is discussedat length in Steven Hendley’s“Realism and Contingency: Elaborating a Viable Sartrean Response to Rorty’sAnti-Realism,” in New Perspectives onSartre, edited by Adrian Mirvish andAdrian van den Hoven (Cambridge Scholars Publishing: September, 2010), pages161-177.

 On various topics in the humanities 

 ---.“Frankenstein’s Message: Life Without Love is Monstrous,” First Light, June 2011.

 ---. “Rorty,Richard,” pages 1488-1489. In George Thomas Kurian, editor in chief, and JamesE. Alt, Simone Chambers, Geoffrey Garrett, Margaret Levi, Paula D. McClain,associate editors. The Encyclopedia ofPolitical Science in 5 volumes. (CQ Press: Washington, D.C., 2011).Information at:

 ---. “Sophists,”pages 1574-1575. In George Thomas Kurian, editor in chief, and James E. Alt,Simone Chambers, Geoffrey Garrett, Margaret Levi, Paula D. McClain, associateeditors. The Encyclopedia of PoliticalScience in 5 volumes. (CQ Press: Washington, D.C., 2011). Informationat:

 ---, Mark Blackell, and Simon Kow, editors. Rousseau and Desire (University of TorontoPress: Toronto, December2009). 206 pages.

---.Perfectibility, Chance, and the Mechanism of DesireMultiplication in Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality,” pages 17-45, in Rousseau and Desire.

 ---.“Toward anEthical Critique of Academic Ethics—one small community-based example.” Mindful: Undergraduate Journal of Ethics andPolitical Theory, Issue 3, Autumn 2008, 14-17. Available on line at:

 ---. Review of SankarMuthu’s Enlightenment Against Empire (Princeton University Press, 2003),for The Dalhousie Review, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Spring, 2005) 137-138.