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Alumni network

Victor Alterescu

Further education: As a result of a serious illness, I had to leave Berkely and spent three months at UCSF. That experience increased my interest in health care. I received a BSN from UCSF after healing and specialized in wound and ostomy care. When I was unable to work I want back to UCB and received an MBA and an MPH in 1984 - which was, for me, a mistake since that was not where my heart was.

Favorite courses at Berkeley: Hubert Dreyfus changed my life with Husserl, Kierkegaard, and the Nazi professor Martin Heidegger. Paul Feyerabend married science and philosophy and it helped me to understand that even the truths by which we choose to live have their own pitfalls.

Favorite professors: Hubert Dreyfus, Paul Feyerabend, and the philosophers of the Vienna Circle - there was a wonderful professor who was close to Moritz Schlick and I cannot recall his name - So Logical Positivism was also something that kept me going as well.

How has your philosophical training influenced your life and career? My philosophical training has meant a great deal to me. It influcenced my approach to patient care (which is to be human and not hide behind a stethascope), it helped me to work with hospice patients such that life and death were always at the edges of everything. I felt that sharing space with those who are dying can be a very good service and a source of enormous gratitude. I'm a lucky guy cause I took philosophy - and it appears that I have managed to survive my death ... so far.

Any current engagement with philosophy? I almost always continue to read philosophy. I am most involved in the ethics of health care and normally read medical journals relating to life and death decisions. But my interests go further. For me, great literature is often great philosophy. I read the Man Without Qualities twice, completed all of Proust, and I am now focusing on the philosophy of the stoicism.

Email: valterescu@gmail.com

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