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Les Miller is a certified philosophical practitioner. He teaches most of the philosophy courses at Colorado Mesa University, including Critical Thinking, Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Introduction to Logic, Examined Life, Roots of Western Thought, Major Thinker, Major Works and Major Issues. In addition, he works as the reviews editor for Philosophical Practice, the journal of the American Philosophical Practitioners' Association.

He thrives on helping students and clients learn to flourish and live consciously through mindfulness and lizard brain taming. Much of this work involves metacognition and so focuses on improving students' ability to think, which then gives them a better perspective on their own thought, and shows them how philosophical approaches can help them improve their thinking and daily lives directly. When the students themselves, via their beliefs and thought processes, become the subject of a course, they come to see how philosophy can be relevant to them, which causes them to be more engaged and responsive.

Working as a philosophical practitioner with friends and clients has directly influenced how Miller structures his courses to be much more student-centered and relevant to students' lives by bringing into the classroom proven solutions to cognitive issues. The inclusion of mindfulness into many courses allows him to send his courses and material outside the classroom and into the lives of his students wherever they may go.

Miller believes that the whole point of education is the cultivation of the intellect; students should both learn to think and come to desire the ability to think clearly, after which they actually will think about themselves, their beliefs, their values, their goals. Thus, education is to be strictly distinguished from job training. His job is not to train workers, but instead to help students become more open, thoughtful, aware, and competent people - which benefits everyone, not just their future employers.

When students see that they get immediate benefit from locating and then dropping maladaptive beliefs and changing faulty thought processes, they naturally become more engaged, interested, and invested in their education. Some students feel frustration in Miller's courses because he insists that the student is responsible for her own learning, so does not provide "ready-made" answers, and instead forces the student to do the hard work of thinking through difficult and complex issues herself. That is, after all, the whole point of learning to think clearly.

Some of Miller's scholarly interests include:

  • Post-Heideggerian structural ontology
  • The ethics of intellectual property
  • Metaphor in philosophy
  • Philosophical Counseling/Philosophical Practice
  • Mindfulness
  • Motivational Interviewing as pedagogy

Selected Work


Book chapter: "Philosophical Practice in the Classroom, or How I Kill Zombies for a Living," in Current Issues in Philosophical Pedagogy (forthcoming from the Philosophy Documentation Center).

Critical review: McCown, Donald, Diane Reibel, and Marc S. Micozzi, Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators, New York: Springer, 2010, in Philosophical Practice vol. 10.2 (July 2015) 1612 - 1615.

Critical review: McMullin, Irene. Time and the Shared World: Heidegger on Social Relations, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2013, in Philosophical Practice vol. 9.2 (July 2014) 1402 - 1405.

Critical review: Stolorow, Robert D., World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis, New York: Routledge, 2011, in Philosophical Practice, 8.1 (March 2013) 1169 - 1172.

Critical review: Irven, Donovan, Two Days of Dying, Philadelphia: Streisguth, 2011, in Philosophical Practice, 7.2 (November, 2012).

Conference Presentations/Papers

"Philosophical Practice: What it is, How it Works, and How to Incorporate it into your Philosophical Classroom," for the AAPT 20th Biennial International Conference on Teaching Philosophy, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, Collegeville, MN, July-August, 2014.

"Lizard Brain Taming: Reducing Student Resistance and Improving Engagement through Metacognition," AAPT 19th Biennial International Conference on Teaching Philosophy, St. Edward's University, Austin, TX, July, 2012.

"Self and Identity" Mesa County Public Library District, February 2011.

"Applied Philosophy: An Effective Introduction to Philosophy for Non-Majors," AAPT 18th Biennial International Conference on Teaching Philosophy, Coastal Carolina University, Conway/Myrtle Beach, SC, July-August, 2010.

"Motivational Interviewing as a Pedagogical Method in the Philosophy Classroom," AAPT 17th Biennial International Conference on Teaching Philosophy, University of Guelph, August, 2008.

Creative Performances

"Life, Love, and Death," Second Front Performance Group streamed live to Present Music - Life, Love, and Death event at Turner Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI. With Arla Ó Lionáird, Ireland's great Sean nós singer. 11 April 2014.

"In One Year and Out the Other" a virtual fluxus experiment based on Ken Friedman's 1975 script. December 2013, January 2014.

"Fluxus is dead (?)" -a mixed reality event. Second Front performance for Future Fluxus with Second Front and Larry Miller at Donau Fest, May 7, 2011, Krems, Austria.

"The MoFo's of Invention" Second Front performance for Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance, Oct. 13, 2010. The performance was for Milan's Innovation Festival, and broadcast live for that event in Milan, Italy.

"Therapy," a Second Front Performance at the Electrosmog International Festival for Sustainable Immobility on March 20,2010.