Joseph Wu, B.A. 2015

Medical Student, Brown University – Providence, RI

2015 Major: Philosophy

How has being a Philosophy graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"Studying philosophy at Duke shaped how I approach problems in my life and career. I learned to be sensitive to ambiguities in arguments, to challenge things taken for granted, and to find the right questions to ask, framing issues from different perspectives to get at the heart of what is at stake. My philosophy courses also taught me to write concisely and articulate ideas effectively. All of these skills have been invaluable to me in the professional setting. In college, I was curious but confused in terms of my career aspirations. With the exceptional support of several Duke professors (Alex Rosenberg, Dan McShea) and graduate students (Rick Gawne) who encouraged my academic interests, I was able to figure out a path that synthesized what I valued in a career. I felt extremely well-advised and well-supported when applying to graduate programs in Philosophy, and later on, when applying to medical school."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Philosophy programs? 

"Seek out mentors in the Philosophy department that will help clarify and support one’s goals. If of interest, consider the intersection of philosophy with other disciplines, as applying the tools of philosophy to address issues in other fields (e.g. medicine, law, biology, economics etc.) is incredibly fruitful. Try to ensure a manageable workload each semester that makes space for friends, fun, and whatever else brings joy to one’s life."

Joseph Wu