Professor Mark Lance was born a middle-class, white kid in the Midwest. He learned to play the trumpet pretty well and chess tolerably, developed some competence at mathematics, and became gradually disillusioned with religion. That was pretty much it for the first eighteen years, if we leave out all the embarrassing stuff.
After three years of orchestral trumpet study at Ohio State, he discovered by accident that some people get paid to argue and think. This, he reckoned, is a good thing. So he finished an undergraduate degree in philosophy, along with about a million elective hours each in music and math, and went off to Pittsburgh to argue and think with some of the most interesting people in the world.
Since earning a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, he was employed on a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Syracuse University, for three years as an assistant, and about a decade as an associate professor at Georgetown, before becoming a full professor of philosophy. He has published two books, three edited collections and about fifty articles in the areas of philosophy of language, epistemology, philosophical logic, ethics, and metaphysics. He is currently writing a large paper on the structure of moral rules and a book with Matt Meyer on revolutionary nonviolence.
While in college Prof. Lance also discovered that the world was way worse than he had been led to believe, and that lots of that was systemic and by design. So he became an activist and organizer working over the years to resist war and weapons production, South African apartheid, LGBTQ oppression, Israeli apartheid, US intervention in Latin America, and global economic exploitation. He is former director of and current professor in the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown, former coeditor of Peace and Change, and former board member of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He has taught at the Institute for Social Ecology and the Institute for Anarchist Studies, published many articles in movement publications, and given several hundred political presentations, teach-ins, and speeches. His current activist work is mostly in support of the Movement for Black Lives. Such work has resulted in many few prominent denunciations, lots of internet abuse, some small successes, about a dozen arrests, a death threat or two, and beloved comrades all over the world.
Prof. Lance is married, with a twenty-five-year-old daughter and two dogs and these days drags himself out of bed at 4:30 every morning to row.
Twenty-seven years at a Jesuit institution has convinced him that religion is more interesting than he thought, but not revitalized any illusions.