What should be the role of philosophy as a shared, personal, and vulnerable endeavor in today’s higher education system? As part of the authentic learning experience, how open should philosophy teachers be with their undergraduate students about their personal lives and challenges? Is there room in professional philosophy for personal and vulnerable philosophical teaching and writing? What should philosophers highlight and advocate for in today’s liberal arts and higher education system?

We explore these questions and others with John Kaag, chair of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, in today’s episode. He is the author of American Philosophy: A Love Story (2016), which was an NPR Best Book of 2016 and a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Hiking With Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are (2018), and Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life (2020). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications. He is known for works that interweave autobiography and history of philosophy, inviting readers to walk with him on his own philosophical journey while he serves as a psychogogic guide to them on their own quests to ever become who they are.

*Click here for the PEL piece by Amée LaTour that, as James noted, features juxtaposition of Aristotle’s virtue ethics with Albert Camus’s philosophy.
**Click here for the episode of KPFA’s Against the Grain featuring the interview with Prof. Kaag about his book, Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life.