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Rena Beatrice Goldstein

Graduate Student

aspiring epistemologist and philosopher of education, with a focus on epistemic injustice and virtue-ethic education.



I am a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. I have an MA in Education and an MA in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.

I’ve taught courses in writing, introduction to philosophy, critical thinking, and ancient philosophy at CalState LA, Los Angeles City College, The Robert F. Kennedy High School in Koreatown, CalState Dominguez Hills, and at the University of Philosophical Research.


I am advised by Annalisa Coliva and Duncan Pritchard.

PhilPapers | Academia.edu


Photo credit: Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa,

Bay Area Feminism Workshop 2019, San Francisco, CA

Primary Interests

One of my long-term goals as a philosophical researcher, with a background in education, is to promote the uni-section of these disciplines. I agree with Paul Standish (2018) who argued in his paper, Wittgenstein’s Impact on the Philosophy of Education, that the assumption of education as an applied field is a mistake. Although there are applied subjects to education, education is a social philosophy: education is, as Dewey (1915) said, the “social continuity of life.”

I work in the fields of epistemology and education. In particular, I explore when novices are rationally justified to rely on experts (essentially deferring judgment), and when it is rationally justifiable to rely on one's self-knowledge. Under certain epistemological frameworks, reliance on expert testimony presents a problem: the more known about the world, the fewer percentage of rational beliefs an individual can hold. I also consider how novice epistemic-agents might be disadvantaged, or subject to injustices, by institutions and agent-based relations that privilege expertise. Approaching these issues with attention to our democratic society is important. Might virtues-training in K-12 schools allow agents to do well in life? Should society put in place systems and institutions to help individual's make rational choices? I think the connection between epistemic authority (and the role of experts), education and democracy is pertinent to how laypeople form opinions.

Interested in my current work?

Overview of Courses Taught

Foundations of Greek Philosophy

January  - June 2019

This is an introduction to Greek Philosophy, dealing with the rise of the original sense of philosophy as “love of wisdom.” The course surveys some of classical philosophy and the evolution of the concepts of consciousness, investigating the pre-Socratic thinkers, as well as Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus.

Critical Thinking

January  - June 2017

In this course, students study fundamental logical rules that apply when making claims to knowledge. Students learn basic logic functions, in their inductive and deductive forms, and those forms relate to the everyday language. The goal is to develop students' abilities to analyze, criticize, and advocate for their ideas, to reason inductively and deductively, and to reach well-supported conclusions by applying the concepts of critical reasoning.

Introduction to Philosophy

September  - December 2016

The objective of this course is to introduce students to philosophical inquiry and discuss major themes in an open and responsive environment. Many issues that we naturally wonder about are topics for philosophic debate, such as: What is the goal of human life? How can I decide morally difficult cases? Does God exist? Do I exist? We will explore these main topics in philosophy through traditional and contemporary debates, as well as become familiar with the conceptual tools available to philosophic inquiry.

First-Year Writing

June - August 2015

This summer writing class works with incoming students, prior to the first semester of freshmen year, to develop their writing skills. Students are assigned readings. Half of the class time is spent discussing the readings, and then students use the remainder of the class time to work on their essays.

Get in Touch

Philosophy Department
85 Humanities Instructional Building
University of California
Irvine, CA 92697-4555

Rena [dot] B [dot] Goldstein [at] uci [dot] edu

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