- How did you become a lecturer here at EBS?
This happened by chance. In the beginning of 2014, one of my colleagues from Tallinn University, who was a guest lecturer at EBS, decided to give up their place here. So, I received an e-mail with an offer to read philosophy lectures roughly about a week before the start of the spring semester. I accepted the offer and have stayed here for 6 years now.
- Please give us an overview of your career.
After finishing high school, I decided to study Graphics at Estonian Academy of Arts’ Liberal Art’s division. I did my Master’s in Culture Theory at Tallinn University which was followed by Doctoral studies in Philosophy. Overall, I have three degrees in totally different fields.
I am an associate professor at the Chair of Graphics, Faculty of Liberal Arts at Estonian Academy of Arts since 2015. In 2016, I started working at the Faculty of Liberal Arts of EAA as a junior researcher and as a guest lecturer in philosophy at the Institute of Humanities of Tallinn University. From 2019. I am also a guest lecturer at Mainor.
- Tell us something that your students might not know.
The students may probably not know that in addition to philosophy, I have also been engaged in fine arts and participated in exhibitions both in Estonia and abroad. Creative work has been relegated to the background in recent years, but I do not rule out getting back at it sometime in the future.
- What is your greatest dream?
My greatest dream includes writing a book or a scientific article during my lifetime, which would still be read even after I am gone.
- If you could leave all your duties aside, what would you do right away?
If I had a chance to leave my work and other duties aside, I would probably do more research and scientific work, I’d finish incomplete articles and start with new ones. Because my hobbies, interests and work are mostly overlapping with each other then I’d continue doing almost the same things as I did before.
- Which have been the biggest lessons in your career?
Every new semester and course is teaching me something which will hopefully help me get better at my job. Mostly, I write down what was effective and what could be improved after every lecture. At the end of the school year I’ll sum up all of my remarks and feedback from my students so I could perfect my lectures according to that. Meaning that, to me, improving at one’s job is a continuous process which makes it even harder to bring out a single career lesson.
- If any of the students would like to give your profession a try, what would be yur suggestion on where to start out?
If you have no previous exposure to philosophy, it would be a good idea to start with a book for the wider readership on a topic of interest from a philosophical perspective. (For example, the Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen has written about boredom and loneliness, Julian Baggin has written about press; and Esa Saarinen and many others have written easily readable introductions to philosophy.)
Another good introduction is still the classics: Plato’s dialogues, Marcus Aurelius’s meditations, Seneca’s letters on morality, or Boethius’s reflections on the consolation of philosophy in difficult times. These are well-written texts on a number of topics that are still important to us, such as love, kindness, justice and virtue.
Once an initial understanding of philosophy and its subject matter has emerged, one can move on to more complex texts. All in all, curiosity, the desire to find answers to big questions about people and the world, and patience are probably the most important things when starting a philosophy, because some reflection shows that it is often extremely difficult to give a single answer to such questions.
- How would you describe yourself as a person and as a lecturer?
It is difficult to follow the maxim of ancient Greece and to really know yourself, because we do not see ourselves from aside and cannot always adequately assess our strengths and weaknesses. So, the following answer will probably reveal all the logs that I don’t see in my own eyes. Hopefully, I am not overly mistaken in describing myself as a conscientious, hard-working, sometimes pedantic and detailed person. If, in the role of a lecturer, these qualities are compounded by the willingness to consider different points of view on an issue, then perhaps the situation is not the worst.
- What would be the most intriguing philosophical question in your eyes? Why?
It is difficult to point out only one most intriguing question, but it would probably remain in the realm of metaphysics, and most generally, the question would sound like this: “What is there?” More specifically, this question asks what things or phenomena even exist. So far, I myself have dealt with this issue in relation to virtuality, because I have studied whether virtual phenomena are digital objects, inventions similar to those of literary figures, or something else. As both metaphysics and physics study what the universe is and what things are in it, this question is accompanied by questions about the relationship between metaphysics and physics. Does physics provide a comprehensive answer to questions about existence, or is metaphysics also needed to answer these questions? If so, to what extent should the two types of research relate to each other?