Caluori to embark on Edinburgh journey


Photo credit: Matthew Claybrook

This fall as Trinity students, staff and faculty resume their classes, the Department of Philosophy will be absent one professor. Damian Caluori, who has taught philosophy at Trinity for a decade, will be embarking on a new adventure with a new teaching position at the University of Edinburgh.

Caluori, who is from Switzerland, cited wanting to be closer to home and the research opportunities available for ancient philosophy as reasons for his move. As Caluori is currently doing research on the metaphysics of the Greek philosopher Plotinus — a figure who he has devoted much of his academic career to studying —he said that being around other faculty who study ancient philosophy will be helpful in his research.

“I will have a colleague [in Edinburgh] in ancient [philosophy], Inna Kupreeva, who has similar interests in late antiquity, so we can really work together. I’m very much looking forward to that,” Caluori said.

Caluori is also looking forward to teaching in a historic European city.

“Edinburgh is a beautiful city although it will be cold and rainy all year, so I will also miss [the weather] in San Antonio,” Caluori said. “I was there for the interview, and I stayed a couple of days longer just to see the city. “

While Caluori is optimistic about his future research opportunities in Edinburgh, he will miss Trinity’s close-knit atmosphere.

“It’s great here that you have small classes, [and] I think I’m pretty certain I will miss that. The students are interested and you can relate to them and have kind of a personal connection to [them],” Caluori said. “I will also miss my colleagues in philosophy — it’s a very friendly department.”

Some highlights of Caluori’s time at Trinity include arranging the 2011 Lennox Seminar about the philosophy of friendship and leading the 42nd annual Ancient Philosophy Workshop this year at Trinity, where an array of philosophy scholars —including Caluori and fellow Trinity professor Judith Norman alongside professors from Princeton, Oxford and Yale — gave presentations on ancient philosophers and their works.

“The Ancient Philosophy Workshop is a big thing in the ancient philosophy community in the States,” Caluori said. “Usually it’s at UT Austin, and this year it was here. It was a great experience.”

Jocelyn Suarez, a junior philosophy major, originally came into Trinity as a biology major. Caluori helped them realize that philosophy was the right field for them.

“I took Intro [to Philosophy] with Kania, and I thought that was a really great class, so I took Existentialism and Classical Greek Philosophy, and it wasn’t until Classical Greek Philosophy with Caluori that I figured out that philosophy is something that I really enjoy,” Suarez said. “[Caluori] cares so much about the students that are in his class and the work that he does, and you can tell that he isn’t a philosopher just because he wanted to be a philosopher, but because he really enjoys reading [philosophy]. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Every semester, Caluori taught a small, one-credit directed studies course called Readings in Ancient Philosophy, where students would spend the semester reading one book by a philosopher like Plato, Aristotle or Plotinus.

“I took those courses with [Caluori] and you read a book, one book, over the course of the semester, and you really analyzed Philebus, Phaedrus, Aristotle’s Physics 4 and 5, and it was amazing,” Suarez said.

Caluori also served as faculty adviser of the Trinity Philosophy Club.

“He was a great adviser,” Suarez, who is a member of Philosophy Club, said. “He worked to increase student and alumni recognition and engagement with the club, and he really paid attention to the small milieu of the club’s activities and readings that we did.”

Andrew Kinney, junior and president of Philosophy Club, said that Caluori has been an invaluable support for the club.

“[Caluori] was quite patient and a good guide as I learned the ropes after unexpectedly taking over as president of the club last semester, and helped as we reevaluated the structure of the club, made changes and revised the constitution,” Kinney wrote in an email interview. “We will definitely miss him, though I wish him the best in Edinburgh.”

According to Steven Luper, professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy, Caluori will be missed by many.

“It’s a great loss for us. [Caluori] is an excellent scholar and a terrific colleague, and he’s going to be hard to replace. He’s got a mastery of many languages, including ancient Greek, and he has a first-rate education with leaders in the field,” Luper said. “As a teacher, he [was] always very greatly in demand, very generous with his time, a very nice person and popular with students.”