Interview with John Carriero
John Carriero, Professor of Philosophy, was interviewed by Ally Peabody. Ally is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy. She is particularly interested in ethical, meta-ethical, and ontological questions involving moral standing.
AP: So, what brought you to philosophy and made you want to become a professional philosopher? And, how has philosophy enhanced your life?JC: I started out as a math major. I think a lot of philosophers start doing something else. There are a lot of routes in; it could be political science or English, but I was in math. Then I took a history of philosophy course from Ed McCann. I found it fascinating, and it felt to me, because you know we were fairly rigorous and looking at arguments carefully, a little bit like what I was doing in math. But the subject matter seemed just so much more interesting. Immortality, the self, free will, can somebody knowingly do evil? After that—I was hooked. It was a yearlong course, and I think I changed my major right in the middle of that year. Over time, I’ve come to think that philosophy is a lot less like math than I used to, but it was a natural route.
I don’t know whether philosophy has enhanced my life in any direct way, but I find that I run into former philosophy majors all the time (my dentist was a philosophy major, my previous primary care physician did philosophy and history of science), and I think philosophy majors are a little bit more open to thinking about things, a little less prone to taking things on authority, a little more reflective. As a group—it’s hard to generalize, but I think they’re a little more curious. And I think that’s all to the good, and contributes to a happier life.
Interview with Mark Rubin
Mark Rubin ‘98, UCLA philosophy graduate alumnus, was interviewed by Dan Ranweiler. Mark is a Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo. Dan is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy.
DR: Why did you choose UCLA for graduate school?MR: My advisors at Princeton pushed me to visit UCLA, and so did Kit Fine. And after that visit, there was no doubt in my mind where I was going to go. Literally, the first seminar I sat in on, I witnessed one person make a point and another person say, “You know, I think if we take what you said literally, everything you said has to be false, and I can prove it.” And then they did! And then they said, “But I think you said something interesting that I’ve never heard before and it was really fascinating,” and they resurrected this person’s argument by tweaking it a little bit, giving them complete credit, and pulling something beautiful out of it. I had really never seen anything like that in a philosophy seminar before. It was a beautiful pursuit of truth, and humility, and cooperation. The person whose argument had been resurrected was very grateful. And I just thought, “Wow, this is the kind of philosophy I want to do.” I hadn’t even realized people were doing it. And I saw that consistently. People were friendly, but more importantly, they generally were just more interested in the truth than they were in winning an argument.
Interview with Monika Zemsky
Monika Zemsky ‘95, UCLA philosophy undergraduate alumna, was interviewed by Jordan Wallace-Wolf. Monika is a mitigation specialist. Jordan is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy, pursuing a joint J.D./Ph.D. His research interests include action theory, ethics, and law.
JW: So you were a UCLA undergrad and you majored in philosophy?MZ: Yes. I also did a degree in Medical Ethics.
Interview with Laura Gillespie
Laura Gillespie is a seventh-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy, completing her dissertation this spring. She was interviewed by Austin Beltrand. Austin is a philosophy and neuroscience double major and the president of the Undergraduate Philosophy Club. He graduates this spring.
AB: Where are you from and how does it compare with Los Angeles?LG: : I’m originally from the rural Midwest – from southern Illinois. But I moved here from Boston where I lived for about a decade. I’m very attached to Boston. It’s an intimate city and an academic city. But I have to say—I’ve really fallen in love with Los Angeles. LA, despite its reputation as a city of actors and producers, is mostly a city of writers and artisans—set designers, set builders, studio musicians, make-up artists—active, unionized creatives working hard to get their projects out into the world, in front of an audience. I don’t know of another city like that—of people making a living doing creative work. So it’s kind of cool because that tracks in a way what I’m trying to do, which is do essentially creative writing. And I’m trying to do it in a way that ends with actually getting things out there in the world to be read. So I find that energy to be enormously helpful in terms of my academic work, even though LA, unlike Boston, is supposedly not an academic city. The vibe here—there’s just something to it that makes sense to me and that I find enormously energizing in doing my own work. And of course there’s the fact that living here a person can find more than 3 hours of energy a day even in that long stretch of January, February, March. I have like a full year of all-day energy.
Interview with Daniela Dover
Daniela Dover, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, was interviewed by Sarah Beach. Sarah is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy, specializing in meta-ethics, social and political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. This interview was conducted over email.
SB: Why philosophy?DD: I knew I wanted to be an academic by the end of the first semester of college. As soon as I saw what it was like to be allowed to just read and write and think all day, I knew I wanted to keep doing that, if I could get away with it
Interview with Michael Rescorla
Michael Rescorla, Professor of Philosophy, was interviewed by Andrew Lavin. Andrew is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy. His research interests are in the Aristotelian tradition and in the philosophy of perception, action, and cognition.
AL: I know you came most recently from Santa Barbara, but where are you from originally and where else have you taught?MR: I grew up in Philadelphia mainly and then I went to school in Boston, I attended Harvard for both undergrad and grad school. Then I got the job at UCSB, where I taught for about 13 years before coming here.