Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Contemporary Studies and Philosophy, 2014
Philosophy should help us work together to make worlds together.
Eyo Ewara has a quick and easy answer to the question of whether studying philosophy can lead to a job.
“I’ll be taking up a tenure track position at the University of Texas in San Antonio,” he says with a smile. So, I will make a living as a philosophy professor.”
But philosophy is so much more he says.
“Philosophy asks a lot of the questions people have been asking themselves for centuries. Philosophy should help us work together to make worlds together. It gives us tools to work things out.”
Eyo comes to philosophy naturally, albeit accidentally. His mother is an academic philosopher but Eyo hadn’t planned on following in her footsteps. He visited Dalhousie when he was in grade ten thinking he might go there. By chance, he walked through King’s quad.
“We stopped in for a moment and I saw the list of the readings for the Foundation Year Program (FYP) and it was every book I had wanted to read in my entire life. And suddenly I had a new goal.”
With a twinkle in his eye Eyo adds, “I won’t lie. It was also the high era of Harry Potter and Formal Meal had a certain appeal.”
Eyo came to King’s and FYP led him to the Contemporary Studies Program (CSP). It was a perfect fit.
“CSP had a bunch of courses that dealt with all the kinds of questions and themes that I was interested in.”
Philosophy was now on his radar and Eyo found out about a summer program designed to bring underrepresented groups into the world of philosophy because, as Eyo notes, “philosophy is still a largely white, largely male discipline.” He enrolled and spent nine days at Penn State University listening to people talk about how their “experiences as people of colour, women and queer people, have influenced their relationship to philosophy.”
The die was cast and after graduating from King’s, Eyo headed south to Penn State to start his PhD in philosophy. While some of his research has helped him work through his own questions, Eyo says, he also sees a practical value to his work.
“In terms of my research into race and queer studies I don’t think it should immediately be turned over into something like – here, this is what we should be doing as a society or a government about racism or homophobia or having a more socially just world. It can just be about helping people understand and see themselves. That is definitely practical.”
Eyo speaks about philosophy, and its value to each of us with passion.
“Philosophy isn’t about puzzle solving or finding the exact right system,” he says. “It should be working out the real problems we have in our world because real unsolved problems come up as just part of living our everyday lives.”