Born in Alabama and educated at Vanderbilt University and the University of Arizona, he was hired by Northern Illinois University in 1988. Engel has also served as Guest Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria (1999) and University of Maribor, Slovenia (1999–2002).
Engel's specialties are epistemology, philosophy of religion, Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid, animal ethics, and environmental ethics.
Engel is a "moral vegetarian" (vegan)—the belief that we are morally obligated to refrain from eating meat—and has argued that virtually all humans hold beliefs that, if consistently applied, would make them moral vegetarians as well.
He is also a religious skeptic who contends that there are no good reasons for believing in God. He goes on to argue that the absence of positive evidence for God's existence makes atheism (disbelief in God) more defensible than agnosticism (suspension of belief as to whether God exists or not). Here Engel points out that we generally disbelieve in creatures like unicorns—rather than merely suspend belief as to whether unicorns exist—solely on the basis of there being no good reasons to believe in such creatures. Hence, consistency demands we also disbelieve in God upon realizing all reasons put forth for God's existence are unpersuasive.
In his spare time, Engel practices the ancient art of karate. He also offered a beginners course for students at Northern Illinois University.
Professor Engel has been Executive Secretary of The Society for the Study of Ethics and Animals since September, 2002.
Read more about this topic: Mylan Engel
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