I grew up in Nyack (NY) and went through its public schools. After a year at Mount Holyoke College, I joined VISTA, working on community programs for preschoolers and teenagers in Houston’s Third Ward; after VISTA, I worked at radio station WRVR in New York City as the programmer and announcer for a classical music show.

By the time I was ready to go back to college, I had moved to Sacramento, and so I enrolled first at Sacramento City College and then at UC Davis, which proved to be a stimulating place to major in philosophy. I went on to graduate work at Princeton, where I wrote a dissertation about Descartes’s theory of causality.

My first academic job was a three-year position at Harvard; I joined the philosophy department at Berkeley in 1979 and later served as its chair for five years. From 2006 through 2011 I served as dean of arts and humanities; after that, I was Berkeley’s vice provost for the faculty until I retired in 2016.

Updated on 2016-07-01 10:17:59 -0700 by Janet Broughton