Chris Calvert-Minor is a Philosophy Professor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department.
What’s your educational background?
I’ve been in school forever. I did a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry at the University of Illinois – Champaign. Then I went into a PhD program in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Midway through I realized I didn’t have a passion for chemistry – the labs were really boring. I liked the work, but there’s not many people to talk to in labs. There wasn’t enough interaction. I ended up getting out of Chemistry with my Master’s. I started working in a Chemistry lab with the Master’s, but I was really interested in Philosophy and Theology. I got my Master’s in Theology, but then I realized that wasn’t the field I really wanted to go in. Then I went into Philosophy.
What courses do you teach?
Introduction to Philosophy, Truth in the Media, 20th Century Philosophy, Existentialism, Philosophy of Science, and Knowledge of Reality.
What are your research Interests?
Various. I am trained to do knowledge and rationality. I usually work on rationality, objectivity, and those kinds of things. However, I’ve been working on aspects of consciousness lately. It is fascinating stuff.
How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching my own courses in 2005 at Syracuse University, then Hamilton College, and then here. I’ve taught chemistry before, I’ve taught Greek before, so I’ve been teaching for a bit.
What inspired you to become a professor?
I love teaching. I’m lucky – I get paid to do what I love. I have fun doing it. In Intro to Philosophy students are usually seeing this strange stuff for the first time and it is pretty exciting to be a part of that.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching?
I love it when we have great discussions – when it’s not a “me” thing, it’s a “we” thing. I hate just standing up there and being a talking head.
What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?
It’s not a big school, it’s not a small school. It’s just right. I used to teach at Hamilton College – there’s 2,000 students there. It’s like high school where everyone knows you. I kind of like having a little anonymity. You can get that here a little bit, but it’s not so big that you don’t get to know some people. UW-Whitewater is in that sweet spot.
What’s your favorite movie?
Fight Club, Donnie Darco, The Nightmare before Christmas, for sure.
Who inspires you and why?
The students. I like my research; it’s fun, but it doesn’t matter as much as the students. I like to somehow think that maybe some of the stuff I write will become well known, but there’s a one in billion chance that that would actually happen. So it’s hard for me to justify my existence through what I write, even though I love it. But every semester I get 140 students and my job is to teach them to think a little bit better. That is meaningful.