Monica Vilhauer, Ph.D. is a Portland born philosopher, writer, and artist. After earning her B.A. in philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, and then her Ph.D. at the New School for Social Research in New York, she went on to teach philosophy at Roanoke College in Virginia, earning tenure in 2012, and the college's prestigious Exemplary Professional Achievement Award in 2013. She currently lives in Portland, OR, where she works as a freelance writer/editor and runs philosophy workshops and retreats through her business Curious Soul Philosophy.
Vilhauer's philosophical research and writing have focused primarily on the philosophy of communication and dialogue. She has been particularly interested in Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics (or philosophy of interpretation) and his notion of "play," which illuminates the process of dialogue and human understanding. In 2010, she published her book on the ethical dimensions of "play," entitled Gadamer's Ethics of Play: Hermeneutics and the Other (Lexington Books, 2010), which focuses on the importance of "openness" to different points of view in conversation, and taking what one's dialogue partner has to say seriously, for mutual understanding to occur. Vilhauer has been an active supporter of learning communities surrounding Gadamer's work, and served on the executive committee for the North American Society for Philosophical Hermeneutics (NASPH) as Secretary for six years. She is currently pursuing questions regarding the body's role in communication, and the ways in which humans communicate with non-human beings (animals, nature, etc.).
Vilhauer is deeply influenced by themes in feminist philosophy and gender studies. She is drawn to philosophical topics that traditionally have been on the margins of philosophy, and considered a part of "the feminine domain" – the body, nature, love, openness, cooperation, play – and she is intrigued by the work of tracing their impact on Western thought, culture, and values. She was the co-founder and coordinator of the Gender and Women's Studies program at Roanoke College from 2008-2012, and she gets most excited about the transformations that take place among students when studying feminist philosophy.
Philosophy as a Way of Life
Vilhauer's academic pursuits have led her to a growing commitment to the practical dimensions of philosophy, and the (ancient) notion of philosophy as a way of life. She is currently developing programs that take philosophy beyond the classroom and connect ideas to lived experience. Check out her business website Curious Soul Philosophy for upcoming workshops and retreats.
Writing / Editing
Vilhauer supplements her philosophy life with work as a freelance writer/editor. She works with small businesses, nonprofit organizations, individual authors, and students on a wide range of writing projects – from promotional materials, to website content, to grant applications, to analytical essays and books. Learn more about how she can help you with your next project on her writing page.
Alongside her philosophical life and work as a writer, Vilhauer has a great love of art. She has many favorite creative projects to turn to: ceramics, mosaics, jewelry metal-work, and music. She has taught kids' ceramics at Multnomah Arts Center and mosaics workshops at TreeSong Nature Awareness and Retreat Center. On a given Wednesday night, you might find her singing a Patty Griffin song at a local open mic.