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 over a period of five years. From 2006 through 2011, I was dean of arts and humanities; after that, I was Berkeley’s vice provost for the faculty until I retired in 2016. In 2019, I became the executive dean of the College of Letters & Science, completing that service in June of 2021.

Updated on 2024-06-21 15:33:03 -0700 by Janet Broughton