Please meet Dr. Steven Gamboa the Chair of Philosophy
& Religious Studies.
What is your field of study?
What is your favorite class to teach?
I love teaching epistemology, which asks questions about what we can know and the sources of knowledge. I like this class so much because it has lots of direct implications for how we should conduct ourselves as (at least somewhat) rational beings. Are we responsible for what we believe? Is it wrong to believe beyond what the evidence proves? How should we deal with disagreement, especially in cases where the people we disagree with at least seem as rational and objective as ourselves?
What are you excited about this year?
I’m not sure if “excited” is the right word, but I’m very interested to see how the transition to semesters effects how courses get taught, both in terms of course content and pedagogy. I am definitely excited about welcoming a new colleague in Religious Studies, Jonathan Young, who specializes in Asian Religion. The department is also hosting for the first time the Central Valley Philosophy Association’s annual conference in November. Beyond that, I am on sabbatical for the Spring Semester, which I’m pretty excited about since it will give me the chance to push forward on a couple of research projects, and travel to spend time with colleagues in my area of specialization.
What was the last book you read?
Fiction: Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone, a terrific novel about John Lennon’s attempt in 1978 to visit the island he owned in Clew Bay in the west of Ireland.
Non-fiction (sort of): David Chalmers Constructing the World, an attempt to show that all truths about the world can be derived from a relatively small set of fundamental basic truths.
What was your worst subject in school?
English, even though I loved reading and literature, I never seemed to figure out how to get a decent grade in those courses.
What is your secret talent?
If I answered this question, my answer wouldn’t be true anymore.
If you had to make a documentary what would the subject be?
“A Bug’s Life: Faculty Towers Edition”
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I like to play tennis, but I’m not very good. I also enjoy thinking about metaphysics and gossip.
Do you have any advice or thoughts for our students?
If your schedule permits, get involved in at least one extra-curricular activity or group, whether it involves sports or arts or performance or community service, or an academic club like the terrific Philosophy & Religious Studies Club where you get to hang out with likeminded folks who share your passion for the examined life. The college experience should include a social dimension, and getting engaged with campus life is a great way to make that happen.
What did you do over your summer break?
I taught a summer course (ugh!), but the students were lively and remarkably enthusiastic given the circumstances, so I really enjoyed it.
Meet the Professors of AH
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