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Graduate Student Profile: Rachel Boddy, Philosophy

Meet UC Davis Graduate Student Rachel Boddy

  • Department
  • Program and year of study
  • Previous degrees and colleges
    BA Philosophy, Leiden University (The Netherlands)
    MSc Logic, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Where did you grow up?
    I grew up in Haarlem, The Netherlands.
  • Where do you live now?
  • What's your favorite spot in Davis?
    My favorite spots in Davis are my backyard and Olive Tree Lane (in west Davis). I also especially like the Arboretum and The Dock Store.
  • How do you relax?
    Running, enjoying food/drinks, and cooking are probably my favorite ways to relax. But I also like to read, do yoga, or take a class at the Craft Center at UCD.
  • What was the last book you read for pleasure?
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
  • What was the last film you saw at the theater?
    Nocturnal Animals. I recommend it!
  • Research interests
    In general, my work focuses on questions at the intersection of symbolic logic, philosophy of mathematics/logic, and the history of analytic philosophy.
  • Dissertation title or topic
    The topic of my dissertation is (very roughly) the role of definitions in proof, and the role of definitions in the philosophy of logic/mathematics. I am currently working out the details.
  • Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research
    It is possible to coherently claim that within a single proof a definition can be both eliminable and necessary.
  • Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?
    The professor that inspired me to pursue graduate studies was my undergraduate advisor Bruno Verbeek at Leiden University. I attended several of his courses in moral and political philosophy. His teaching and mentoring had a profound influence on my interest in pursuing an academic career in philosophy.
  • Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?
    Well, since I admire Gottlob Frege’s book The Foundations of Arithmetic, perhaps I should wish that I had written that book (all else being equal).
  • What's the best thing about being a grad student?
    For me the best thing certainly includes the freedom to pursue my research interests and to do so together with others. I really like my work environment, including my peers, my professors and the administrative staff at my department. I also really like having a flexible schedule.
  • What's the worst?
  • If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?
    Not sure. I might have opted for the consulting world. I also could have been a lawyer by now.
  • Finally, please ask yourself a question - "To what extent do you think your work can and should have a broader societal impact?"
    Especially given the current political climate in the US, I think it is very important to help students develop (and value) their critical skills, e.g. their skills in critically evaluating arguments, based on the plausibility of the assumptions and the structure of an argument, rather than on some prior commitment to the truth of their conclusion. This is one way in which I think work in philosophy can (and should) make an important contribution (though by no means the only way).

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.

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