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Faculty Profile: Dr. Ted Ammon

by Web on January 30, 2015


Dr. Ted Ammon finds Millsaps College a gratifying college at which to ply one's trade as a philosopher.

“Millsaps encourages the free exchange of ideas, and during any given academic year there are several intense conversations among the faculty regarding better and worse pedagogies,” said Ammon, associate professor of philosophy. “The faculty constantly challenges one another to embody and practice the highest professional standards.”

A graduate of Mississippi State University who earned his master’s degree and doctorate at Washington University, Ammon defines philosophy as “a way of being in the world, the way of persistent questioning regarding such matters as the basis of knowledge, the nature of self, the nature of reality, the purpose of it all, and others.

“Socrates epitomizes the intellectual restlessness at the core of philosophizing,” he said. “Such restlessness and inherent doubt keeps me humble. I find this humility immensely satisfying, and I find likewise satisfying my mission, as it were, to inspire others to tolerate reasonable intellectual differences.”

A professor at Millsaps since 1985, Ammon’s research interests revolve around the interface of philosophy and literature. “I gravitate toward those authors such as Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Harold Pinter and others, who raise and explore traditional philosophical problems,” he said.

Ammon’s philosophizing also extends to his hobbies of woodworking and collecting every album— vinyl— of significance. His more than 4,000-album collection spills in all directions and covers all kinds of music, but its vortex is the late ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

“Do I actually play these albums on a turntable?  Of course,” he said. “But if I had to say, the owning and the playing and the listening are all just as satisfying as the hunt for the albums.  Someone famous calls this process the stylization of desire.”