Tuesday, January 18, 2011

People I Know

This is the first in a continuing series of blog posts devoted to sharing the traits and accomplishments of "people I know".

Marvin Belzer is a former professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, and currently teaches mindfulness meditation at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. He was my dissertation advisor and philosophical mentor while I was a graduate student at Bowling Green.

Marv is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He has done valuable work in analytic philosophy, particularly in the metaphysics of personal identity, and he also did a great job teaching introductory logic to a large (100+) class of non-philosophy majors. Marv has a unique ability to empathtize and connect with his students, and to paradoxically inspire excellent work through a gentle, patient approach.

Marv has also been practicing and teaching mindfulness meditation for several decades. His strengths as a teacher of academic philosophy are if anything even more evident in his work as a meditation instructor. Marv was also probably one of the first people to teach meditation as an undergraduate philosophy course. He introduced literally hundreds of students to mindfulness meditation in this way. Some of my most cherished memories are practicing with Marv and the rest of his class on the meditation retreats he led while an instructor at BGSU.
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