Dr. Andrew Irvine has been a faculty member with UBC’s Vancouver campus for 24 years, and he now calls the Okanagan campus home. This month, the philosophy professor began a five-year term as Head of Unit 8, which encompasses economics, philosophy, political science, international relations, and PPE (philosophy, politics and economics.)
Irvine grew up in Oxbow Saskatchewan (population 1,200), and completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan, before completing his MA at the University of Western Ontario and his PhD at the University of Sydney. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and at Stanford University. Since his time as an undergraduate, Irvine has loved universities.
“Philosophy, economics, literature – it doesn’t matter what you are studying, the process of learning and researching is exciting,” says Irvine. “Universities treasure curiosity-driven research. It’s a real privilege to be able to follow questions wherever they lead.”
Irvine’s research includes work focusing on the philosophy of logic and the philosophy of law, Canadian literary studies, and the 20th century philosopher Bertrand Russell. He is also a public philosopher, concerned with public policy issues, especially those encompassing civil liberties and the defence of human rights. In addition to numerous books authored, co-authored and edited, he has to his credit over 70 publications in prominent periodicals. He was one of the founding editors of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and served on its editorial board for 11 years.
Cynthia Mathieson, Dean of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, is delighted with Irvine’s appointment, which was the result of a rigorous external search. “In Dr. Irvine, we are welcoming an excellent teacher, an exemplary senior scholar, and a very successful administrator with an in-depth knowledge of UBC policies and administrative practices,” she says.
When asked why he chose to come to UBC’s Okanagan campus, Irvine answers, “the same reason I think everyone comes here – to be part of a new university and help contribute to building something great. UBC’s Okanagan campus is a young university. It’s exciting to be part of building an institution that will be here for hundreds of years.”
The PPE program, based on the highly-renowned degree program available at Oxford University, and the International Relationsprogram were also selling features for Irvine. “Both are wonderful programs for students who want to explore a wider variety of issues and questions,” says Irvine. “By combining the resources of economics, political science and philosophy, students are very well served.”
Irvine looks forward to teaching at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and says that the smaller classes many programs are able to offer here are the envy of larger institutions, especially because they come with the UBC reputation. In the upcoming academic year, he will be teaching Philosophy 111 and Philosophy 338.