What were your favorite philosophy courses at UCLA?

  • Every course arranged by topic was a favorite.

Do you have a good story or two about the department?

  • I deeply value this department’s culture at the time I was involved (and that I hope continues to this day): allowing undergraduates to question and criticize ideas and arguments in the classroom while also maintaining a culture of friendliness and good faith. I find this culture not only compatible with but essential to intellectual virtues, progressive values and pluralism.
  • On a more personal level, I appreciated the occasional camaraderie and socializing outside of the classroom. And I enjoyed the niche humor that can come about in philosophy.

Are there any philosophical issues, readings, or topics that have stayed with you since graduation?

  • By topic and the tensions in those topics, I continue to think about most of them, which is too many to list. I really value questioning beliefs and values, including my own.

Have you read any philosophy recently that you would recommend?

  • I intend to pick up modern philosophy again soon. In recent years the closest I’ve come to that is broader writings on the arts, society or social sciences that involve philosophy to a degree. So, Sontag’s Against Interpretation and a few other essays were a recent re-read, and (farther afield) Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.

What was your first job or endeavor after UCLA?

  • Quite a bit of stray-dog wandering in several fields, and a few alleys.

What lessons or skills from philosophy do you use in your career?

  • Professionally I’ve used a combination of skills I gained from philosophy and my broader education. I’ll mention: rhetoric and clarity, an understanding of empirical thinking, and the value of approaching endeavors from an inquiring and open-minded position.