Philosophy department welcomes new members

By Tevin Voong

The Department of Philosophy at Cal Poly Pomona recently added two new faces to their faculty.

From a wide pool of applicants, Alex Madva and Cory Aragon were selected to be a part of the philosophy department this year, however neither are new to CPP.

Before being selected as a permanent member of the philosophy department, Madva taught at CPP for a year. Aragon began his teaching career at CPP this summer.

In addition to teaching, Madva will also continue his research as a philosopher.

“A lot of my research is at the intersection of cognitive science and social psychology on one side and then research on the philosophy of race and feminism on the other side,” said Madva. “So, sort of thinking about the implications of a lot of exciting new research for moral and political questions about how to deal with racism, sexism, inequality and things like that.”

Like Madva, Aragon was also hired for both his teaching abilities and the research that he focuses on.

“My research is in social and political philosophy, but specifically from a critical race and feminist perspective, so I’m really interested in this particular question about social injustice,” said Aragon. “In particular, who’s responsible to remedy wide-reaching structural injustices since there’s no one individual who causes them or can be held responsible? Who bears the responsibility to fix those things and what does that amount to?”

While each professor’s research carries certain distinctions, there are similarities that tie them together. Both Madva and Aragon are very practically-oriented philosophers who hope to use their work to improve the world.

“Dr. Madva thinks about it in terms of the social psychology of bias and how we have beliefs about other people,” said Dale Turner, the chair of the philosophy department, “whereas Dr. Aragon thinks about systems, structures of injustice and how to rectify those and who’s responsible and why, but they have an underlying commonality of thinking about disadvantaged groups, people who don’t get thought about as much as they should. So they have a commonality that’s interesting, but they approach that commonality from very different perspectives.”

Prior to becoming part of the faculty at CPP, Aragon taught at University of Colorado Boulder, Dickinson College and Concordia College, while Madva has worked at Colombia University, UC Berkeley and Vassar College.

Aragon and Madva used their experiences in graduate school as an inspiration for the topics they focus on now. Their experiences helped them view the world around them through different perspectives.

“When I was in grad school, I took some feminism and philosophy classes and I also just sort of saw it all happen around me,” said Madva. “Seeing women get talked over, seeing how few people of color there were and stuff like that.”

Madva and Aragon plan on making an impact on CPP students by helping them view the world more critically and from different viewpoints.

“Philosophy really tries to emphasize critical thinking, so that’s what I hope for my students,” said Aragon. “It’s not necessarily that they’ll learn this thing or that thing or come away thinking this thing or that thing, but that they’ll start to more deeply engage in the process of critical thinking.”

New philosophy faculty members

Tevin Voong / The Poly Post

New philosophy faculty members

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