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Monday, May 29, 2023

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Atterton’s main area of specialization is continental philosophy and animal philosophy. Atterton’s main area of specialization is continental philosophy and animal philosophy.

7 Things About Peter Atterton

Atterton is a professor of Philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy.

Professor Peter Atterton joined the San Diego State University Department of Philosophy in fall 2005.

Born in London, England, Atterton’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are from the University of Essex. He moved to the United States in 1996.

Atterton’s main area of specialization is continental philosophy and animal philosophy. He is currently working on a book about Emmanuel Levinas and Shakespeare. Atterton is a professor of Philosophy and is Chair of the Department of Philosophy.

1. What inspired you to do this kind of work?

To be honest I wouldn’t say anything “inspired” me to be teacher. It was quite serendipitous. I started out as a lecturer because I needed a job and discovered that I had a knack for teaching. As time went on I found I got better and better at it. That’s when I started seriously to entertain the idea of a university career. Now I can’t really imagine doing anything else, with the exception of working as a graphics artist, or perhaps a medical doctor or an actor. 

2. How long have you worked at SDSU?

I first came here as a lecturer in spring 1997. I then left to become a visiting professor at the University of San Diego for a year and was full-time lecturer at the University of California, San Diego for three years. I came back to SDSU in 2005 when I got a full-time position in the department of philosophy. 

3. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

One piece of advice I have always taken very seriously is: “Look before you cross the street.” I can honestly say that without this advice, I wouldn’t be here today. Another favorite piece of advice is: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I usually stop after seven.

4. What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is being paid money to think about things that I like to think about anyway. I still can’t believe it sometimes! But a close second would be teaching my students to look at the world in a new way and hopefully getting them to think for themselves.

5. What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

I think people would be surprised to learn that most philosophers do not take questions concerning animals very seriously. Philosophy is traditionally anthropocentric.

6. What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?

? When I first left high school I wanted to be an artist and studied for a year at the prestigious St. Martin’s School of Art in the center of London. I even showed my art to Andy Warhol, but that’s another story ...

7. If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office, what would it be?

My esteemed colleague, SDSU Professor William Nericcio.

Bonus Questions

1. What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?

Music obsesses me. My favorite kind of music is classical, especially Beethoven, Wagner and Mahler. My favorite rock/pop bands are The Velvet Underground, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and ABBA.

2. What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?

Professional sports bore me. Don’t get me wrong — I love playing sport. I just don’t understand what it means to “support” a sports team. My favorite individual athlete is my young son, Byron.