Ian Church is a professor of philosophy and religion. This interview has been edited for clarity.
What is your favorite place you have ever traveled to?
I think Athens, Greece has to be really high up there. I was there for a major philosophy conference, but we also snuck away to go see the sights, and it was a blast.
Mountains or beaches?
Beaches because of tranquility, and you can get to a beach without too much exertion.
What is your favorite sport?
Soccer, in particular the edgecliff Cup, which was a particular soccer game that was played at the University of St Andrews in the philosophy program there. The Edgecliff Cup would be logic and metaphysics versus moral philosophy.
What is your favorite book?
In terms of fiction I would have to say ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J.D. Salinger because I really like the dialogue they have about religious belief, and why we should believe what we believe. I find the conversation really helpful and interesting.
What is your favorite movie?
Julie Timor’s ‘Titus,’ the film adaptation of ‘Titus Andronicus.’ It is a brutal film to watch as you might expect, but I think it’s a really good one, getting us to wrestle with questions about meaning and justice in the world.
What is something you hope is discovered during your lifetime?
I hope it’s discovered that social media is a bane on society.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Given how much I value intelligence, and I’m painfully aware of where I’m lacking it, I think super intelligence might be the way to go.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A paleontologist, because as a kid I really got into dinosaurs. I still remember my grandpa reading books to me about dinosaurs and I really got into that.
What is something that is on your bucket list?
I really want to keep traveling. I’d like to visit India and Japan at some point, and I’d love to go see the pyramids in Egypt.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
My wife and I make chicken pot pie that is amazing so chicken pot pie with salad and some whiskey.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Yeah, I can do a fairly good Smeagol impression.
What is your favorite class you have taught?
Probably my philosophy 207 class because I get an overwhelming rush of joy whenever we get the tools for doing logic in front of us and we can start to dig into a language, uncover the logical structure of language, manipulate it, and start doing proofs.
What is one of your favorite parts about studying philosophy?
I love to be made increasingly aware of my own ignorance, and to dig into issues and topics that are very difficult and perennial. Sometimes it’s not clear what the right answer is, and the humbling experience of trying to wade into those disagreements is very enjoyable. I want to be cured of arrogance, and to better understand what underwrites my own thinking and beliefs on things.