Dr. Barbara Carroll Forrest was educated in Louisiana public schools and earned a bachelor's degree in English at Southeastern Louisiana University in 1974. After receiving an M.A. in philosophy at Louisiana State University in 1978, she was awarded a Ph.D. in philosophy at Tulane University in 1988. Under the direction of Tulane philosopher Andrew Reck, her doctoral dissertation on American philosopher Sidney Hook examined the influence of Hook's philosophical naturalism on his philosophy of education. Dr. Forrest has taught philosophy at Southeastern since 1981 and presently holds the rank of professor in philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science.
She teaches a wide variety of courses, which have included most of the courses in the philosophy curriculum, as well as freshman western civilization surveys, a course on the Holocaust, and a graduate seminar in the history of western thought. Her recent scholarly publications reflect both her teaching and research interests:
(1) "The Philosopher's Role in Holocaust Studies," Teaching Philosophy, December 1999;
(2) "Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection," Philo, Fall-Winter 2000;
(3) "The Possibility of Meaning in Human Evolution," Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, December 2000;
(4) "The Wedge at Work: How Intelligent Design Creationism Is Wedging Its Way into Cultural and Academic Mainstream, " in Robert T. Pennock, Intelligent Design and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives, The MIT Press, 2001; and
(5) Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, with Paul R. Gross. Oxford University Press, November 2003.
Following Plato's teaching that philosophers should be full participants in civic life, Dr. Forrest actively participates in efforts to promote church-state separation, the integrity of public science education, and civil liberties. She serves on the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She is also a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, having served on the board of directors of the Louisiana affiliate. Her other supporting memberships include People for the American Way, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Center for Science Education.