After speaking with the chair today, it seems like a distinct possibility that I might remain in Toronto for 5 years or more doing a PhD in Ancient and Contemporary Philosophy. I like to think the choice of what possibilities to take up as the choice of what we could do with our bodies – since the plans of actions we choose produce bodies that can do certain things and not others. Taking on this PhD project would open certain possibilities – the job prospect of teaching philosophy. The long term prospect of becoming a recognized scholar. At some point, the possibility of meeting my academic “heroes” even.
On balance, it isn’t the best school at which to do PhD in continental philosophy, but there are certain factors that still make it a good choice. For one, if I were to go to a “better” school, one at which continental philosophy was common, there were many good professors teaching the subjects I liked, it seems unlikely that I would choose to mostly abandon contemporary philosophy for several years to learn ancient Greek and read ancient texts. However, this is universally a good thing, a very good thing to do, if one wants to become a serious continental thinker in the Heidegger-Derrida tradition. The continental tradition is largely made up of those thinkers who refuse to differentiate between “philosophy” and “the history of philosophy”, and I want to take that refusal seriously. The little Greek I have picked up has enriched my understanding of phenomenology greatly, and also incidentally, of ethics.
It is specifically at this time of universal darkness, where ancient philosophy is no longer taken seriously but only offered lip service to, that the most revolutionary thing one can do in the academy is devote years of study to Aristotle.