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Faculty Biography - Joo Heung Lee

Faculty Biography - Joo Heung Lee

Joo Heung Lee

Joo Heung Lee

Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy

B.A. University of Pennsylvania
B.A. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

Room 2430 Des Plaines

Web page:

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Personal Statement

Philosophy deals with the big questions people all too often fail to ask. What is the meaning of life? What are the values human beings should embrace? Does beauty offer us a glimpse of eternity? My own interest in philosophy began through religion. I could not understand how an all-powerful God could allow so much suffering in the world. Through philosophy, I ultimately came to the conclusion that the traditional idea of God involved too many inconsistencies. But I have yet to come up with a completely satisfactory solution to the riddle of life (perhaps this is how it should be). To me, Nietzsche and Bataille offer the most promising possibilities. Both insist that conventional beliefs make us slaves to imaginary ideals. In truth, Nietzsche and Bataille are a continuation of the dangerous tradition of philosophy: they ask us to question the fundamental assumptions we ordinarily take for granted.

I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from Penn State University in 1999. For seven years, I taught philosophy and humanities full-time at Wright College in Chicago. I came to Oakton in the fall of 2006. At Oakton I have taught classes in general humanities, introductory philosophy, logic, ethics, philosophy of religion, and world religions.

I have always believed that philosophy is more than a field of study: it is a way of life. As such, I find philosophical relevance in every aspect of experience, from classical literature to popular culture. I hope to communicate the importance of philosophy to my students at Oakton.

I grew up in Chicago, and feel lucky to be able to do what I love in my hometown. Although being a parent takes up most of my free time, I still manage to follow my beloved White Sox. In fact, I find that the most significant philosophical truths are reflected in the game of baseball: there is a rhythm to the universe that it is impossible to resist; the smallest details will invariably cascade into something much larger; and there will always be another game to play tomorrow. 

Alumni Profile

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Oakton holds a special place for John Nebl, a police officer who took classes at the College during the 1980s. Not only did he find his vocation, he also found his wife.



January 12
Faculty return for spring 2015 semester.

January 16
Winterim classes end.

January 19
Martin Luther King holiday, College closed.

January 20
Spring 2015 semester classes begin.

January 21
Winterim faculty grading due.

January 26
Last day to submit proof of residency, business service agreements and chargebacks/joint agreements.

February 15
Last day to withdraw from 16-week courses and have course dropped from record.

February 16
Presidents Day holiday, College closed.

February 17
Last day to change to audit for 16-week courses.

March 1
Incomplete (I) grades from fall 2014 semester for which faculty have not submitted final grades will become an "F" after this date.

Full Academic Calendar