Ian Church holds his son at the Hillsdale County Fair. Courtesy | Ian Church
Ian Church holds his son at the Hillsdale County Fair.
Courtesy | Ian Church

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.