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Graduate Student Profile: Jordan Bell, Philosophy

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018 (All day)

Meet UC Davis Graduate Student Jordan Bell

  • Department 
  • Program and year of study
    Ph.D., 1st year 
  • Previous degrees and colleges
    MA Philosophy, University of Florida (2015)
    BA Philosophy (with honors), University of Central Florida (2013)
  • Where did you grow up?
    Central Florida, about 20 minutes north of Orlando
  • Where do you live now?
    Davis, CA
  • What's your favorite spot in Davis?
    The arboretum and 3rd and U Cafe!
  • How do you relax?
    I enjoy taking walks around the arboretum, listening to music, going out with friends for a few drinks, and having a nice long nap.
  • What was the last book you read for pleasure?
    If I remember correctly, it was Homer's Iliad
  • What was the last film you saw at the theater?
    Logan. Hugh Jackman was majestic.
  • Research interests
    My research pervades a few different subject areas within philosophy. I am primarily interested in the philosophy of mind. Currently I am invested in better understanding the relationship between the content of propositional attitude attributions/reports and the content of the corresponding mental states that such reports are about.
  • Dissertation title or topic
    Since I am a first year, I do not have a dissertation topic yet. But it will likely have to do with the metaphysics of mind or issues concerning the relationship between mind and language.
  • Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research
    Conceptual puzzles regarding the mind are inextricably linked with conceptual puzzles regarding language and theory of knowledge.
  • Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?
    I have had an interest in pursuing graduate study since I began my undergraduate degree, but I think it solidified after taking a course in the philosophy of mind taught by Bill Butchard.
  • Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?
    Probably Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, since it has been one of the most influential works of contemporary philosophy throughout all core fields of the analytic tradition.
  • What's the best thing about being a grad student?
    I end up receiving free food (and drink) often.  
  • What's the worst?
    Crippling anxiety and depression.
  • If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?
    Working some sort of blue-collar job, maybe teaching English abroad, and philanthropy.
  • Finally, please ask yourself a question - "How do philosophy graduate students do research?"
    We spend most of our time tracing certain lines of thought that address a myriad of conceptual issues to their roots, and along the way refine our own view regarding the issues at hand. This involves considering reasoning for and against the extant positions, diagnosing their shortcomings, and buttressing our own position to be situated within the contemporary literature. Most importantly, we provide well-reasoned argument for adopting our chosen position and defend it against potential or actual criticisms. Philosophy, one might claim, is the art of rational inquiry writ large. At least, that is what I take myself to be doing.

Graduate student profile courtesy of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.