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David Johnston

David Johnston
Professor, Co-Chair English, Philosophy, and Film Studies, Visual Arts
Vail 465

About David Johnston

David Johnston is quick to give the lie to the dour and serious philosopher stereotype. With an infectious smile and welcoming nature, he fits right into the surroundings of his Vail office, chatting with students in the open doorway, talking about life.

His interest in teaching philosophy started while he was on another path, but he eventually realized that it was too interesting and, yes, too much fun to leave. And, he says, “At some deep, fundamental level, I am a teacher.”

Lyndon is now his home, a home where he finds the collegiality often touted but not always honored at other institutions, he says. “I really get the feeling here that we are all in this together.”

In the classroom, he leads classes in a modified Socratic style, carrying on discussions, prodding students to think critically, using a small number of students to model an argument’s natural progression. In this way, students learn to detect which arguments have a sound basis and which do not, a skill that is key to a strong democracy, he says.


  • Philosophy
  • Film Studies
  • Cinema
  • English