Interview with Dylan Trigg at Figure/Ground Here’s the first question and answer:
How did you decide to become a university professor? Was it a conscious choice?
Like many people working in academia, accidents and errors have become more valuable than conscious choices. My introduction to philosophy came via psychotherapy, which itself came via criminal psychology. Before philosophy, I was studying existential psychoanalysis in London. This style of therapy is rooted in phenomenology, and the grand themes of death, freedom, anxiety, and meaning inspired an interest in Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Sartre, Heidegger, Levinas and so forth. I was introduced to this through Irvin Yalom’s textbook, “Existential Psychotherapy,” which I read as a teenager and still hold in great regard, though perhaps with some uncritical nostalgia now. Later on, works by R.D. Laing, Karl Jaspers, and Ludwig Binswanger drew me closer to the phenomenological tradition more broadly. Because of this background, the Wittgensteinian idea of philosophy as therapy retains a relevance for me both academically and personally, as Wittgenstein would have it: “The work of the philosopher consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose.” So, academia for me is not a conscious choice, as such. I did not harbour childhood fantasies of becoming a professor. It was instead an expression of something that began in the context of studying psychotherapy, which I then became seduced by.