A Life-Changing Class

February 15, 2023

Individual Morality & Social Justice

I enrolled in the FPF (Fall Program for First Semester) program’s Philosophy 2: Individual Morality & Social Justice course for the sole purpose of fulfilling my philosophy breadth requirement. As an intended film major and Japanese minor, I didn’t have much interest in learning about the mind’s driving forces; I simply wanted to get into the class and get out of it as quickly as possible. I never expected that I’d be arriving early to every lecture, claiming a spot in the front row of the room, and talking late into the night with my roommates about moral culpability.

The Phenomenal Professor

My Individual Morality & Social Justice instructor was Professor Richie Kim. I attribute much of my love for philosophy to him. Professor Richie’s teaching style is simply bewitching. He’s down-to-earth in a way I didn’t realize professors could be, with plenty of anecdotes to ground abstract material and make your ribs ache from laughing, too. He treats his students as equals. He listens. He let me doodle on the whiteboard every afternoon before class started, and even incorporated my sketches into his lectures!

As an aspiring writer, I have a habit of scratching down beautiful phrases I hear from the people around me. Professor Richie Kim had me worrying I’d run out of space in the margins of my spiral notebook. There are dozens of moving, memorable sentences he spoke during Philosophy 2, but one that’s truly stuck with me is, “It’s hard to think about the things that really matter.” This was in reference to Ronald Dworkin’s work on the dominion of death, one of the first topics we studied in the class.

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