21 October 2007

Twenty Years Ago

10-21-87 Wednesday. I had a nice discussion with Clark Wolf this afternoon. It ranged over music, politics, and philosophy, but the most interesting subject was how each of us came to discover and fall in love with philosophy. As I explained to Clark, I came at philosophy in an odd way. My original interest was narrow: animal rights. The book that started everything was Barry Holstun Lopez’s Of Wolves and Men [(New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1978); I finished reading this book on 28 December 1980]. That book exposed me to natural history (Aldo Leopold, Henry Beston, and Stephen Gould), wilderness (Roderick Nash), and moral philosophy (John Rodman and Peter Singer). Eventually these interests brought me to Joel Feinberg [1926-2004] and Tom Regan, and that opened up my philosophical world. After arriving at the University of Arizona to attend graduate school [in August 1983], my interests expanded even further, into other branches of philosophy. Now I’m interested in epistemology, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of language. The metaphor that I chose to describe this process is a zoom lens. Originally, I said, I was focused on animals. But gradually I’ve pulled back the lens and begun to explore or examine other subjects within what is conventionally known as philosophy.

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