Philosophy Professor Departs for Hebrew U
Dr. Aaron Segal, one of Yeshiva University’s two full-time philosophy professors, has shared many fascinating ideas with his students, including his proof that everything has God as a part, his uncertainty as to whether time travel is possible, and his suspicion that rocks think. Described by The Commentator as a “fantasy-world” hire when he came to YU in Fall 2013, Dr. Segal is an ordained rabbi and a student favorite even amongst those not majoring in philosophy – his first year seminar titled “Philosophy and Science Fiction” was among the first to fill up during registration for this semester. A tenure-track professor of philosophy, Dr. Segal originally intended to stay at YU long term. But, much to his students’ chagrin, Dr. Segal has recently confirmed rumors that Spring 2016 will be his final semester at YU.
After completing three full years of professorship at YU, Dr. Segal will move to Israel to join the faculty of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University as a tenure-track lecturer in the department of philosophy. At Hebrew University, he will teach courses in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and other subjects, and he will conduct research and direct graduate work primarily in metaphysics, one of his areas of specialty. His looming departure will not restrict his teaching during the next year and a half; he may even offer an advanced seminar in metaphysics during his final semester.
Dr. Segal explained that his departure is largely motivated by he and his wife’s desire to live and raise their family in Israel. When asked if YU’s financial situation played a role in the decision, Dr. Segal responded, “It’s possible. But it’s possible that it would have made no difference. I find it very difficult to disentangle our various motivations and discern how much of a role each is playing.” Dr. Segal is confident that the philosophy department will continue without him, but he expressed hope that the administration will hire a full-time faculty member to replace him. He said that he will “sorely miss” his students at YU, whom he described as “truly fantastic: bright, earnest, humble, and fun.” But his students will surely miss him more; one student of his remarked, “Dr. Segal, with his humble rigor, is the best professor I’ve had at YU. Clear, easygoing, and manifestly brilliant, Dr. Segal is probably irreplaceable.”