I am an unlikely candidate for the Summer School on Mathematical Philosophy.

In 8th grade, I marred my history of straight-A report cards with a hard-earned C+ in geometry. Bored with the repetitive exercises, I used that C+ as an excuse to tell myself that I was just one of those people who didn’t “get” mathematics. This lazy, shame-ridden attitude followed me into college. I never set out to study philosophy, but the drive and knack I had for these classes--combined with the fact that philosophy majors were permitted to skip math by taking logic--sealed the deal for me. Yes, reader, I admit that math avoidance was a factor in my decision to commit to philosophy.

So what am I doing here, 10 years later, knocking on the door of a club I so strategically avoided?

Somewhere along the way the boredom that led me to abandon math drills in middle school morphed into a boredom that led me to abandon my former majors in college and then, finally, mutated into a positive passion for the very structure beneath the content of the topics and arguments in these classes that I enjoyed so much. My final semester as an undergrad at San Jose State University was bittersweet; just as I had begun to identify the roots of my favorite concepts and make progress in these topics it was time to move on.

But I haven’t moved on. I can’t move on.

My research in symbolic logic, structuralism, category theory/modal logic, set theory, cryptography, phenomenology, and contemporary programming methodologies continues to blissfully haunt me. Upon completing my BA I was so captivated by the dialogue between the philosophical implications of computing and the computational implications of philosophy that I chose to pursue a career as a programmer by day and computer science student by night.

Studying computer science while working full-time has been a humbling experience. I opted to put myself through this experience both to further my career and future plans to continue in academia but also because I cannot bear the idea of running into new ideas and not having the mathematical foundation to fully understand them. Exasperated friends and faculty routinely ask me why I do not just do a Master’s degree in either Philosophy or Computer Science. After all, I have the BA in one and the industry experience in the other. The answer is very simple for me: I do not want to move forward without mastering the fundamentals because the terrain I want to explore demands that I deeply understand these fundamentals.

My former advisor has heard great things about past sessions at MCMP and urged me to apply. I am particularly excited about Isadora Stojanovic’s lecture on context dependence and the tutorial on set theory. I live in Silicon Valley but will be traveling the week prior to the conference; I would take more time off in Munich before I return home should I be accepted. I would be honored to attend the 2015 Summer School for Women in Mathematical Philosophy to meet and speak with others passionate about the field and see what interesting directions my peers are taking in their work.

Hi, I'm Rachel.

I like to read.

Metaphors We Live By
Gravity and Grace
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Laws Of Form
The New Turing Omnibus: 66 Excursions In Computer Science
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
Dancing on My Grave
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Reflexive Paradoxes
The Sane Society
Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo
Already Dead
Alan Turing: The Enigma
Bolts from the Blue: Art, Mathematics, and Cultural Evolution
Bone, Breath, and Gesture: Practices of Embodiment, Volume 1
The Bhagavad Gita
Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan
Dolphins, ETs, and Angels: Adventures Among Spiritual Intelligences

Curriculum Vitae

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

San Jose State University


Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

De Anza College


Some of my Favorite Thinkers

Present tense -- these brilliant individuals are alive and cranking out fascinating work.


Work that has deeply impacted me.

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