Coker’s Para-Philosophical Advice #1: Introduction

Posted on June 1, 2013 by



Eunoia Solstice is proud to offer a new column that gives you a chance to have your questions answered–or perhaps only thought about– by a practicing philosopher.

Send your questions to cokersadvice at gmail dot com.*

1. How did you become interested in philosophy?

In undergraduate my original career plan was to become a Lutheran minister. I spent Freshman year (1974-1975) in an Honors Program at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where I took an entire course on Aristotle. I transferred to the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (the Hawkeyes), for my remaining three years (1975-1978). I decided to study both Philosophy and Religion, and I graduated, with Honors, as a double major in them. Iowa Philosophy was Anglo-American Analytic, but my favorite teacher in Religion was Robert Scharlemann, who had been a student of Paul Tillich (who directed his Ph.D. thesis) and who had also studied under Heidegger. From him I studied Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche. All of that compounded into my love for philosophy.

2. What is a philosopher’s ideal day like?

Aristotle says that Philosophy requires hesuchia, leisure. I would spend morning having coffee and engaging in philosophical discussion (like Socrates), then go home and read and write the day away, and return to have dinner with excellent philosophical discussants.

3. What concerns are you thinking or writing about currently?

I am currently writing hybrid poetry (akin to the German Romantics) which I dub ‘para-philosophy.’

4. Do you have any favorite philosophical works of literature?

Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Anatole France, The Garden of Epicurus.

*(Editors’ Note: You can ask about the meaning of life or ask about advice for the perfect gift for your husband, but be aware no one may like any of the answers (or even the questions). Don’t let that stop you. Ask away–just know that Dr. Coker and Eunoia Solstice aren’t responsible for results–good or bad. We hope we may offer a service here, but also this is done in a spirit of fun. We don’t know what Dr. Coker will or will not answer and he has that right to choose. He might be able to tell you which translation is best for Plato’s works or why Derrida’s work is important or a sham. And he might not. He may be able to help you choose lemon or lime flavoring. And he might not.)