Shaun Miller is currently working on his Ph.D. at Marquette University, writing his dissertation on the moral assumptions of sex education in the USA. He argues that sex education needs to have a notion of self-care rather than merely focusing on behavioral modifications.
What excites you about philosophy?
It is exploring new ideas and questioning old ones. My work is mainly in the philosophy of sex and I love exploring new ways to conceive of love and varying concepts of sexuality. It’s an area that is slowly gaining some prominence and I’m very happy about that.
If you were not doing academic philosophy, what would you be doing instead?
I would still read and discuss philosophy. If I was lucky enough to do so, I would be a food critic or a movie critic professionally. I love to experience new foods and watch the latest films.
What do you like to do outside work?
Outside of philosophy, I like to play my violin, practice martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), and explore new restaurants. I’ve been playing violin since I was four, but I stopped about ten years ago. I’m starting to pick it up again and I forgot how much I loved it. I’ve been doing Kuk Sool Won for about three years. I have a brown belt and am hoping to get my black belt in a couple of years. Food has always been a passion of mine. I love exploring new ways chefs and restaurants could combine new ingredients to make delicious meals.
Which super power would you like to have?
Everyone chooses a conventional superhero from DC or Marvel. I, however, would love to have the super power of The Mask (from the Jim Carrey movie). He’s basically invincible and he has any ability he wants. He could change any substance into a different thing, he could very likely have to the ability to fly, and he carries out his abilities in a comedic way. His weakness, however, is that he is all id and that could get worrisome real quick.
If you were an ice cream what flavor would you be?
In Milwaukee, there’s a great ice cream shop called “Purple Door Ice Cream” where they have unconventional ice cream flavors such as lemon cardamon or fig and black tea. However, I really enjoyed the whiskey flavored ice cream. I don’t know if I would say this is my flavor, but it was surprisingly unique and enjoyable.
What technology do you wish the human race could discover right now?
Although there are a lot of philosophical issues surrounding this, I wish teleportation could be discovered. If that’s too philosophically scary, then perhaps the transport tubes from Futurama would be a suitable substitute. Either way, I could easily visit family, friends, and run errands much easier. Travel would be much more practical for everyone as we would not have to plan things out ahead of time to figure out where we need to go and the time it takes to get there. If the technology really picked up, then people could travel to different destinations with ease. There would be no traffic jams, no stops to pick up people or drop people off, and no large luggage. If you were traveling to the next APA and planning to only spend a week there, instead of taking a week’s worth of clothes, you could just teleport/take a tube back to your hometown, change your clothes, and teleport/tube back to the APA. I feel this technology would drive hotel businesses way down, however, but new technology can do that.
What time of day are you most productive and creative?
I’m typically most productive about an hour after waking up. I make some breakfast and green tea and start researching/writing. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop and do work there.
What advice do you wish someone had given you?
I have just taken this advice lately, but it was to write about what you find interesting and about things that you like to discuss, regardless of whether those things are outside the mainstream or eccentric. You’d be surprised to find that there are people who never thought of those things and that if you make them conscious of them, they’ll discuss them.
Find out more about Shaun here.
This section of the APA Blog is designed to get to know our fellow philosophers a little better. We’re including profiles of APA members that spotlight what captures their interest not only inside the office, but also outside of it. We’d love for you to be a part of it, so please contact us via the interview nomination form here.