HOLoyno: Who is Kahn?


Leonard Kahn, philosophy and ethics professor, poses in front of Loyola University. HOLoyno is a project by Sofia Santoro, psychology sophomore, that highlights the creative professors at Loyola. SOFIA SANTORO/ The Maroon.

Sofia Santoro

Leonard Kahn is a philosophy and ethics professor at Loyola University. Prior to coming to Loyola, Kahn was on the tenure track at the US Air Force Academy from 2009 to 2013. He enjoyed teaching there because the students that joined the military would soon have to make life or decisions. He felt like he might be an important influence in one way or another. The student demographics at the academy represented an incredibly small slice of the US population to Kahn, which felt problematic. He wanted to teach people who looked more like America’s future. He was offered the opportunity at Loyola and took it five years ago.

“The students, the cadets, at the air force academy are a monolithic bunch. They’re more than 80% male, overwhelmingly white, middle-class folks aiming at the same kind of perfection.”

One of Kahn’s most rewarding experiences was one of his student advisees winning the Fulbright award. She’s now in Belgium teaching at a university. Most of the things Kahn is rewarded by are student achievements.

Kahn says that teaching is usually the best part of his day, although it’s exhausting. The university’s financial issues reached a crest when he signed on the dotted line. Although dealing with some of these challenges is difficult, he persists in his passion of teaching philosophy.

Kahn was an economics major as an undergraduate and he thought seriously about pursuing it. If he continued and got a PhD in economics, he would have worked in policy circles. He feels he would have been more of an influence than a philosopher.

He joked “I occasionally think ‘Did I do the right thing?’ Probably the answer is ‘yes.”