On Research

I'm sometimes asked why my research writing is dense and rather complex at times. I usually respond with an analogy. Some of the most complex math today sits behind that simple white box on Google's website. People like the box but rarely do the math. Like Schroedinger's quantum calculations, most people only know the paradox of the cat in the box.

So what's my box?

It's the classroom teaching in a university, which sometimes spills out into the public through open access seminars, public lectures and media commentary.

My job as an academic is relatively simple, I write and I teach. Said another way, research university staff work to create knowledge and transfer it to others. In the end, the transfer happens in the classroom and the public spaces where philosophy and religion are discussed. Just like Google's box, mine depends on the math in the background, which demonstrates how philosophical questions continue to haunt contemporary life. 

Students like taking classes on philosophy of religion, because they implicitly recognize the impact of the various aggregates that can be grouped under that concept, e.g. beliefs and institutions as well as transcendental claims on street corners and Facebook walls. Scholars use the teaching spaces to explain introductory concepts for further step by step, pedagogical understanding. But when students sometimes catch a glimpse of how high the staircase goes, it can look a little daunting. This is why I typically don't recommend first year students read my research work.