Jonathan Kvanvig structures his philosophy classes at MU on discussion and makes sure he’s not the only one who understands what he’s talking about. He often lets students argue. It’s all part of his goal of helping students actively participate in their world.
“The alternative to philosophical thinking is simply to adopt the views and attitudes of one’s culture,” Kvanvig said, adding that philosophy helps students avoid “simply adopting the perspective of the culture one happens to find oneself in.”
Kvanvig came to MU in 2001 after teaching at Texas A&M for 18 years. His wife, Carol, works at the University Clinic. They have a 14-year-old daughter, Brittany, and a son, Jared, who is a freshman at MU.
In addition to teaching, running the philosophy department as its chairman and raising a family, Kvanvig is addicted to hobbies. Woodworking, gardening, training quarter horses, mountain biking, coaching and umpiring are all on the list.
“I can’t pursue them all at once, so I have tended to pursue them at different stages in my life instead of all at the same time,” he said.
But lest he get too involved with the little details of life, he keeps a big-picture view as well.
“It is to be the kind of person intent not on saving one’s life but losing it for important ends,” he said. “There are many things I want to accomplish in life but none of them are worth achieving without also being a good father and husband.”