Official Title: Term assistant professor of philosophy
How long have you been at UAA? This is my second year.
What have you taught at UAA? Introduction to philosophy, history of philosophy I, ethics, eastern philosophy and religion and a seminar on the philosophy of Socrates.
What do you currently teach? Right now, I teach intro to philosophy, history of philosophy I and the philosophy of Socrates. This spring I’ll be teaching a course on philosophy and the sciences, which will be great.
Where did you go to school? What was your major? I did my undergrad at St. Olaf College, a small school in southern Minnesota. I majored in philosophy, but took many courses in both religion and history. Graduate school was at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
What was your worst or most interesting job as a student? Best job was as a ‘guard’ in the art gallery at UC Boulder. The job was to change the music, sit and read. Perfect.
Born and raised? Minneapolis, MN
Are you married? Tell us about your wife. Not married, but I have a partner Jennifer Everett. She’s also a professor in the philosophy department (specializing in ethics, environmental ethics, social and political philosophy and feminism). We met in grad school, argue a lot about issues (she’s a consequentialist, which, as all sensible people know, is absurd), and we’ve picked up rock climbing and sea kayaking since moving to Alaska and hope to do more in the future. It’s nice that she’s smarter than I am, it keeps me honest.
Do you have children? What are their names and ages? None yet, but I’ve always liked ‘Bidet.’
Do you have pets? What kind and what are their ages? Two cats, Bertie and Dahlia (named after characters in P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves” books). They are just over a year old.
Favorite movie(s)? I’m a sucker for a formula done well. “The Princess Bride” ranks way up there.
Favorite music or artist? Currently Greg Brown. The Gear Daddies are still favorites from Minnesota.
Favorite food? Ginger tomato soup
Favorite book? There are too many to mention. “The Princess Bride” (again), “Midnight’s Children,” “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and anything by J.J. Katz.
Favorite activities in the summer in Alaska? Sea kayaking is far and away the winner. Also hiking and mountain biking. Last summer, too much remodeling the home got in the way, but next summer…
Favorite activities in the winter in Alaska? Rock climbing at the AK Rock Gym and cross country skiing.
Hobbies? I am a compulsive reader.
List three things that your students would be surprised to know about you. That I really do read their 3×5 cards, that I was once a relativist and that I realize that philosophy doesn’t always come first in life (although it wouldn’t hurt if it placed in the top ten more than it tends to).
If you could have lunch with any three people, living or dead, who would it be and why?
George Bush, because someone needs to tell him straight up that his saber-rattling and warmongering with Iraq is morally indefensible and not in the United States’ interests.
Ghandi, because it would be inspiring to meet someone with such moral courage. (Can I have this and the last lunch together?)
Plato, because his works are so enigmatic. There are so many questions to ask him about his intent and to get him to expand.
If you won the lottery, what is the first purchase you would make? Hmmm. I hate to do this now, but what do I need? Two million children die each year of easily preventable deaths for lack of support for aid in the developing world. I hope I’d call Oxfam first.
If you could take a class from any other department at UAA, what would it be and why? Economics, because they are currently the “experts” who, for better or worse, have the ear of policymakers, the media, and the public, and I need to understand the discipline better to better understand contemporary life.
Who do you admire in your field and why? My adviser, Chris Shields, a model teacher and mentor. George Bealer and J.J. Katz for clarity, depth and insight in some areas of philosophy that can be pretty foggy at times. And Peter Singer for the clarity and power of his moral arguments. There are many others, but these top the list.