In the following Q&A, Russell Hamer, nontenure-track professor, shares some of his experiences in the Department of Philosophy at Illinois State University.

What got you into philosophy?

I initially became interested in philosophy as a way to help answer questions that I had about my faith. As I began to study philosophy, I realized that it indeed helped to answer some of my questions, but that is also offered much more. I decided to pursue further studies in philosophy as it informed me about what it meant to live the good life and be happy.

What are your philosophical interests?

I have a bunch of disconnected philosophical interests. My primary interest is in Kierkegaard, specifically in examining his literary side. Oftentimes philosophers treat his parables and stories as distractions or examples and I think that it’s important to treat them as philosophy. I’m also interested in the philosophy of science and the problem of demarcation, the intersections of science fiction and philosophy, and Stoicism and other schools of practical philosophy.

Where are you from originally?

I was originally born in Ventura, California. However, I moved around a lot for most of my life, so I don’t have a particularly good idea of where I grew up.

What do you like to do outside of philosophy?

Outside of philosophy, I enjoy playing with my dog, reading and watching science fiction, playing board games and video games, and the occasional outdoor adventure.