Sunday, December 16, 2018

John Kaag

John Kaag is the author of Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are.

From his Q&A with Skye Cleary at the blog of The American Philosophical Association:

What excites you about philosophy?

The chance to teach students with virtually no philosophical training to be just a bit more reflective, to think and live in meaningful ways, to give an account of their lives that can comfort and compel them in times of crisis. Yes, I know—it is incredibly idealistic, but isn’t maintaining this idealism one of the perks of the job? I think so. This isn’t just Pollyanna optimism. One of the tricks of grappling with existential questions—the questions that the sciences will never be able to answer—is realizing how inadequate most conventional solutions are. The first step of being a young philosopher is often being disaffected, depressed, cynical, nihilistic—I think that one of the jobs that we have, a job that I will never tire of, is letting students explore this risk against the backdrop of genuine care.

What excites me about the discipline of philosophy right now is the resurgent sense that philosophy can matter in the public sphere. It can still effect change in politics and society at large, at a time when thinking and reading is quickly becoming a subversive act. My friend Clancy Martin said, and I think this is right, that there have been times in the history of philosophy when philosophers have had to stake a great deal on their thoughts. And I think we are...[read on]
Visit John Kaag's website.

--Marshal Zeringue