This Philosophy Professor Is Currently on a Jeopardy Winning Streak
Who is Ben Chan, assistant professor of philosophy at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin?
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a philosopher is doing well on a game show in which the answers are questions. Still, it is unusual—typically, when philosophers are on “Jeopardy!” it’s in a different way.
Professor Chan has prevailed six games in a row, winning $182,000 so far, according to The Green Bay Gazette, and has qualified to return to the show later in the year for its “Tournament of Champions”.
In a profile published in The Gazette last month, Professor Chan said:
My goal going in was to be super prepared and then to play with joy. I figured I would have no regrets if I did those two things. I enjoyed the preparation a lot. I learned a lot of things I should have known years ago, and I discovered some new study tools that I think I can pass on to my students.
Professor Chan’s research interests are mainly in biomedical ethics. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles and his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College.
You can follow Professor Chan on Twitter here.
(via David Friedell)
I guess playing Jeopardy “with joy” means not worrying about having just lost $5,000 (or whatever) in the space of two seconds because you muffed a question?Report
That “Philosophers” category in that image link is a little surprising to me! Usually I find that they do a good job of ascending in difficulty, but in this case I find it the opposite. (This might be the hazard of doing trivia about one’s day job – trivia usually works better when you have to use general knowledge, plus general knowledge about what is general knowledge, to figure out what the answer must be, rather than actually having the content knowledge.)
William James and Søren Kierkegaard are easy, “metaphysics” as a “plural noun for the study of the nature of the universe” that Ayer didn’t like is a little questionable but gettable, I’m assuming that the two four-letter words Hume couldn’t distinguish with reason are “good” and “evil” but not sure about that, and I have no idea what “declaration of independence” value Hegel saw history as progressing towards (maybe liberation?)Report
“Liberty” or “freedom”, I suppose, and likely in reference to Hegel’s claim in the Lectures on the Philosophy of History that “The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom“. Though the German is “Freiheit“, and “freedom” isn’t mentioned in the Declaration. But “freedom” is a better translation of “Freiheit” than “liberty”.Report
The Hegel answer presumably can’t be “equality” so they must be looking for something like “freedom” (whether they’d accept “liberation” I don’t know – I’ll leave that to people who know more about Hegel than I do, which is probably the majority of people who read this blog).
P.s. wrote this before seeing P. Stovall’s comment.Report
If I remember correctly, Jay Rosenberg went on Jeopardy – with Alex Trek – years ago. Can anyone confirm?Report
Two other philosophers who’ve done well on jeopardy: