Welcome to My Website

Welcome to my Website! My name is Gary Zabel and I've been teaching in the Philosophy Department at the University of Massachusetts at Boston since 1989. My specialties include ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, and ontology (theory of reality). Unlike most philosophers who teach in American Universities, I was trained principally in the philosophical traditions of Continental Europe, especially those of Hegelian philosophy, Husserlian phenomenology, and Western Marxism, as well as in the philosophies of India, China, and Japan. I grew up in the 1960s when a heightened interest in philosophical questions went hand-in-hand with campus-based political activism. I'm happy to see a return to these twin passions on the part of some of my students. I've published book chapters, articles, book reviews, and introductions to anthologies about philosophy of music and the visual arts, though many of my publications, and much of my activism, over the last decade or so have concerned the problem of the deterioration in working conditions in the higher education industry. I am fortunate to have been involved in the development of a new labor movement in American colleges and universities, a movement that is beginning to challenge both the degradation of academic work and the increasingly direct domination of higher ed by corporate wealth and power. Over the past four years, I have also been involved in the development of art in the virtual worlds, Second Life and OpenSim. Virtual art is a medium of artistic expression based on a new technology, and in that respect is similar to photography, cinema, or electronic music, all of which it in fact incorporates into its own unique context. I am director of the nonprofit organization, Virtual Art Initiative, which maintains sims (simulators running on Internet servers) in Second Life and OpenSim, home to more than 30 artists, writers, and scholars from countries including the US, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Serbia, Poland, Scotland, Canada, Argentina, Australia, China, and Korea. These creative individuals collaborate across national boundaries on a variety of projects, from real world exhibitions of virtual art to online discussions of its cultural and philosophical significance. Many of them have interacted productively with my students in two courses using virtual technologies, Parallel Universes, and Art and Philosophy in Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds.