In the following Q&A, Andrew Higgins ’07, a new nontenure-track professor, shares some of his experiences in the Department of Philosophy at Illinois State University.

What got you into philosophy?

I was first exposed to philosophy in high school with our school’s debate team. But, I fell in love with philosophy as an undergraduate at ISU. I made great friends at Philosophy Club, which led me to take on a philosophy minor. I switched over to focus on philosophy after taking a few classes. The philosophers I worked with, especially Todd Stewart, David Anderson, and Mark Siderits, were some of the best teachers I had ever had, and they helped me to fall in love with philosophy.

What are your philosophical interests?

When teaching, I focus a lot on the philosophical developments in the 17th century because these developments were so revolutionary and critical to the rise of science and liberal democracy, but in my research I’m focused much more on metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and experimental philosophy. I’ve been thinking about the nature of physical objects, and the psychological and neurological mechanisms that lead us to think about the physical world in the ways we do.

What is your favorite philosophy book?

Too many to pick just one. For myself, the best book is Every Thing Must Go. But, recommending a book for someone who’s new to philosophy, I’d recommend David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Delaware, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, etc. But I’ve been living in Central Illinois for 10-plus years now, so this is my home.

What do you like to do outside of philosophy?

Hiking, cycling, board games, network analysis, gardening, politics.