Prof Michael Hauskeller

Head of Department Philosophy

Biography

Personal Statement

After spending 15 years at the University of Exeter, I came to Liverpool in January 2018 to lead the Department of Philosophy into a bright new future. Looking at all the wonderful, smart and accomplished people who already work here, my task should be easy enough. As a philosopher, I am a generalist, which is a nice way of saying that I have done many different things and I am not really an expert on anything in particular. Most people would probably tag me as an ethicist, but this is only true in a very broad sense. Figuring out what is right and what is wrong, permissible or impermissible, does not hold much interest for me. It seems to me that when people are debating these questions they are actually arguing about something else, namely who we want to be and in what kind of world we want to live. For me, doing philosophy is ultimately a sustained attempt to get to grips with this "deeply puzzling world" (to borrow an expression of Mary Midgley's), to understand it and to understand our place in it. Philosophy is not business; it's personal, more akin to therapy than to science. It's about finding out 'what the hell is going on' and 'what the hell we are doing here'. Can philosophy provide an answer to these questions? I don't know. All we can do is keep on trying. Perhaps what matters is not that we find an answer, but that we keep the question alive.


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