Kelly Dean Jolley is Goodwin-Philpott Endowed Chair in Religion and Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University. His work is in the theory of judgment, philosophical psychology, metaphilosophy, the philosophy of religion, the history of twentieth century philosophy (analytical and phenomenological) and ancient philosophy. He also describes himself as “outside of philosophy,” he says, “I am a rank amateur poet, a reader of literature, a watcher of football, a smoker of pipes, and an admirer of american pit bull terriers.”
Note that “historian” is not one of the things on the list. But I’ve been wanting to talk to him since 2008, when I read a profile of him in the New York Times Magazine. There, of all places, the author Jonathan Mahler chronicled Kelly’s struggles to build not merely a philosophy department, but a community doing philosophy. It spoke to my heart in a direct and earnest way, mirroring many of my experiences, but also giving me hope. Ever since then I’ve wanted to hear Kelly describe his experiences in his own words, and to hear the story behind the story. That’s the focus of today’s conversation.
For Further Investigation
Quantum Est in Rebus Inane–the blog of Kelly Dean Jolly
Jonathan Mahler, “The Thinker”, The New York Times, September 19, 2008
Episode 8: Why a Liberal Arts Degree is Not Career Suicide