Academic Literacy and Linguistics
Phone: +1 (212) 220-1409
Nicholas Ryan Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Academic Literacy and Linguistics, where he specializes in teaching Critical Thinking courses.
Before joining BMCC in 2015, Smith taught philosophy courses at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, St. Francis College, the University of Auckland, and Wake Forest University.
Smith’s research falls primarily in moral philosophy, especially virtue ethics. Additionally, he maintains an active interest in several other branches of philosophy, including epistemology, the philosophy of science, and ancient Greek philosophy.
Virtue Ethics, Ethical Theory, Philosophy, Critical Thinking
- Ph.D. University of Auckland, Philosophy, 2015.
- M.A. Stony Brook University, Philosophy, 2008.
- B.A. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Philosophy and Religious Studies (double major), 2006.
- Critical Thinking (Same as CRT 100) is designed to develop the mind and help students learn to think clearly and effectively. Through substantive readings, structured writing assignments and ongoing discussions, students will examine concrete examples from their own experience and readings and contemporary issues in the media to learn how to analyze issues, solve problems, and make informed decisions in their academic, professional, and personal lives.
- This course combines CRT 100 and ESL 95. As a CRT 100 course, this class is designed to develop the mind and help sharpen students' ability to think clearly, logically, thoroughly, critically, and effectively. Through substantive readings, structured writing assignments and ongoing discussions, students will learn to use analytical skills in reading, writing, oral presentations, researching, and listening. Students will examine concrete examples from their own experience and readings and contemporary issues in the media to learn how to analyze issues, solve problems, and make informed decisions in their academic, professional, and personal lives. As an ESL 95 course, this is an intensive writing class for ESL students, which focuses on basic components of effective writing, including essay organization, paragraph development, sentence structure, word choice, and content. Students read and respond to a variety of texts and use argumentation, narrative, and description as modes of developing ideas in writing. To pass this course and continue on to English 101, students must receive a passing score on the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW). CRT 100.6 may not be taken by students who have passed CRT 100 or ESL 95 or are exempt from Writing.
- This course develops students' abilities to reason well about scientific claims, scientific research, and the nature, value, and limits of scientific inquiry. To reason well about scientific claims, students understand and apply central scientific concepts, such as experiment, explanation, cause, effect, correlation, random sampling, testability, prediction, verification, and falsification. In addition, students evaluate instances of reasoning with such concepts by evaluating arguments for and against scientific claims and assessing the significance of possible outcomes of experiments. To reason well about the nature, value, and limits of scientific inquiry, students are introduced to central issues in the philosophy of science, such as the demarcation between science and pseudo-science, the reliability of scientific research, and the (un)reasonableness of beliefs about claims, such as moral and other normative claims, that fall outside the scope of sciences.
- This intensive writing course for ESL students focuses on basic components of effective writing, including paragraph development and structure, sentence structure, word choice, and content. Students read and respond to a variety of texts and use argumentation, narrative, and description as modes of developing ideas in writing.
- The study of philosophy helps students develop analytic skills and gain an appreciation of the general philosophical problems with which human beings have grappled throughout Western civilization. Basic philosophic problems such as free will and determinism, the criteria which justify ethical evaluations, the philosophical considerations which are relevant to belief or disbelief in God, and knowledge and illusion are examined during this course.
Research and Projects
- Smith, N.R. “Well-Being, Narrative Value, and Virtue Ethics,” in Virtue, Narrative, and the Self: Explorations of Character in the Philosophy of Mind and Action, eds. Joseph Ulatowski & Liezl van Zyl (Routledge: forthcoming).
- Smith, N.R. “Target-Centered Virtue Ethics,” in Handbuch Tugendethik (Handbook of Virtue and Virtue Ethics), eds. Christoph Halbig & Felix Uwe Timmerman (Springer VS: forthcoming).
- Smith, N.R. “The Virtue of Hope,” in Neglected Virtues, eds. Glen Pettigrove & Christine Swanton (Routledge: forthcoming).
- Smith, N.R. “Hope,” in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, eds. Tim Crane (general editor) & Elinor Mason (ethics editor), 2020.
- Smith, N.R. “Right Action as Virtuous Action,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96/2 (2018): 241-54.
- Smith, N.R. “Right-Makers and the Targets of Virtue,” Journal of Value Inquiry 51/2 (2017): 311-26.