New WCC Faces: Daniel Shields, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
As a growing institution, the College often finds itself welcoming new members to its community at the start of each new academic year. In this series, we introduce our friends and supporters to the 2021-2022 additions to the Wyoming Catholic College family.
Dr. Shields graduated with a degree in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College in southern California, and then attended the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he earned an M.A/Ph.L and a Ph.D. He taught as Visiting Faculty at Xavier University in Cincinnati, and then as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum, a seminary in Ohio. His specialties are the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and medieval philosophy more generally, as well as moral philosophy, the philosophy of nature, and the history of science. Dr. Shields has published articles on the thought of St. Thomas in The Thomist and the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and his book Nature and Nature’s God: The Scientific and Philosophical Validity of Aquinas’ Unmoved Mover Proof is forthcoming from the Catholic University of America Press. Dr. Shields loves God, church, his family and friends, and the beauty of God’s creation.
WYOMING CATHOLIC: What drew you to philosophy and the liberal arts?
DANIEL SHIELDS: A true liberal arts education frees a person from slavery to public opinion, from slavery to his passions, and helps him to rise above the lowest common denominator of his culture, to which most people seem to sink. While attending a liberal arts college, I fell in love with philosophy in particular because I wanted to understand the truth, especially the deepest truths about reality. No discipline other than philosophy is so fully conscious about the precise meaning and character of what it asserts. I craved the clarity that only philosophy provides.
WCC: How did you come to be in Lander, at Wyoming Catholic?
SHIELDS: I choose to come to WCC for many reasons. I love the integrated curriculum, and look forward to teaching both philosophy and other disciplines (especially math and science). The community surrounding the college is a big draw; it is good for me and for my family. Also, I love mountains and sunshine, and wide open spaces. Wyoming is a good place for me–I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors: star-gazing, hiking, kayaking, and much more–and it is an especially good place for my four boys to grow up.
WCC: What is some advice you would give to students as they strive to balance their academic and community life at Wyoming Catholic College?
SHIELDS: Get enough sleep, find a good, low-distraction study space, and avoid the use of digital screens as much as possible. These practices enable time to be used more efficiently. Finally: pray frequently, and God will show you how to use time efficiently.
WCC: If you could spend a day in a city anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
SHIELDS: Hard to say: Rome or Krakow. I’d love to spend a day in Krakow. I love John Paul II and the Polish religious and cultural heritage, and there would be so much that was beautiful and rich to see.
WCC: What are some of your current projects?
SHIELDS: Becoming a saint and raising my family primarily. That’s a big project. But I am also putting the finishing touches (mostly formatting) on my book, Nature and Nature’s God: The Scientific and Philosophical Validity of Aquinas’ Unmoved Mover Proof. I am thinking about writing a book that gives an overview of Aristotelian natural philosophy in synthesis with modern science. I also want to work my way up to being a serious outdoorsman.