Philosophy must be drawn out of the ivory tower and back into the marketplace of ideas, says UWindsor alumnus Aaron James Wendland (BA 2004).
Now a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, he just launched a popular philosophy column in the New Statesman, a political and cultural magazine published in London, U.K.
“If politics is the art of practical activity and philosophy is the art of thinking, then surely it is worth doing some thinking before you act,” Dr. Wendland says. “So, I decided to create a space for publicly-minded academics to draw on their education and experience to address contemporary issues.”
He sees his column, published weekly and entitled “Agora,” as a site for reasonable disagreement and debate, with the aim of fostering dialogue among citizens across the ideological spectrum.
“Some of the most influential philosophers working today will be contributing,” Wendland notes.
He traces his passion for ideas to his undergraduate studies at the University of Windsor, citing professors Jeff Noonan in philosophy and Heather MacIvor in political science as particular influences.
“They showed me that these are subjects worth taking very seriously and, indeed, that it really is possible to address some of the most pressing social and political problems we face today,” says Wendland.
His inaugural essay looks at the lessons for human understanding to be drawn from the life of Socrates. Read it in the online version of the New Statesman and follow Wendland on Twitter @ajwendland for the latest articles in the series.