"I've always been fascinated by questions of the brain and mind, and I knew I wanted to learn more about it at a higher level."

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Student Profile: Aaron Richardson

Philosophy Master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

December 11, 2020
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I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan but moved to Vancouver in 2013  to begin my undergraduate degree in cognitive science at SFU. I've always been fascinated by questions of the brain and mind, and I knew I wanted to learn more about it at a higher level. There are very few cognitive science programs in Canada, and SFU seemed like the perfect place to go.  I've since developed a very strong interest in philosophy in general, but also in the particular ways philosophy can interact with different scientific fields to develop both empirically rigorous and conceptually precise methods of studying the world.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

After completing my undergraduate degree at SFU, I knew it was a great place to learn and further my academic career. This is especially true for the philosophy MA program here as it allowed me to transition from a focus in cognitive science to philosophy without giving up on the fundamental questions of brain and mind that have always fascinated me.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

In general my research interests focus on the intersection between philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. Philosophy of mind focuses on questions of how our physical brain produces our experiences. How do we see, think, feel, and speak? And how does our brain do what it does to make that happen? Philosophy of science focuses on questions about the methodology and practices of science. My research focuses on questions about the mind, and how we can use both scientific and philosophical methods to answer those questions.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

Given the nature of the philosophy MA program at SFU, there are students from a wide variety of different fields all bringing their own perspective and experience to studying philosophy. It is great to have such interdisciplinary conversations, but also to bring those diverse backgrounds to discussions centered around philosophy.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship

DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM FOR THOSE SEARCHING.

The philosophy MA at SFU is a great jumping off point for an academic career in philosophy. This is true both for students with strong backgrounds in philosophy, as well as students who have had an interest in it, but not necessarily any formal training. I had taken a couple higher level courses in philosophy, but didn't have enough background to get into other MA or PhD programs in philosophy. The MA program here is designed to give students a strong background in a wide variety of philosophical disciplines that prepares you for a further career studying philosophy.

Contact Aaron: aarichar@sfu.ca