I have a PhD in philosophy from University of Sydney, and an MA in philosophy from Syracuse University. In both cases my focus was metaphysics, though for the PhD I gave my attention to Plato, and the application of his metaphysical views to his choices as writer.
My decision to pursue a career in philosophy arose from the years I spent in Santa Fe doing an MA degree in liberal arts at St. John's College. "Oh, so you had a REAL education!" said Bill Alston at Syracuse when he learned that his new grad student had come from St. John's. This is where I learned to learn.
Before St. John's I was a classical composer, with a BMus degree from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The musical genes have now been transferred to my son, who is a cellist.
Just as I was finishing the PhD, I suddenly became seriously ill. I remained in that state for fifteen years, too weak to teach, often unable to take care of myself in the most basic ways. In the end lab tests determined that I’d been suffering from a rare disease.
After several years of the right treatment, I made a full recovery, returning to academia in 2016. The work I now do is made possible by the reading and writing I pursued during my very long medical absence from academic life.
My work is for my sister, Helen B.F. O'Leary-Syers, who passed away in 2010.