About Me

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 California State University Los Angeles, 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

Primary Research Interests

We use cognitive shortcuts, like stereotyping, to help us evaluate things in our surroundings. My dissertation looks the conflict of determining when our cognitive shortcuts rely on implicit bias and when it relies on helpful generalizations. Understanding when we are using a helpful generalization (and not an implicit bias) is important when choosing whether some piece of evidence supports a claim.

We know that implicit bias often manifests in subtle ways when evaluating evidence. This is of particular consequence in fields like medicine or education where grave harm can occur those in positions of power or authority (like medical professionals or teachers) make decisions that impact those depending on them, like patients or students.

The frameworks I develop in my dissertation lay the groundwork for future empirical research on implicit bias, the social reproduction of prejudice, and interventions meant to curb prejudice against minoritized groups. Concepts developed in my dissertation have been used in a study funded by the Mellon Foundation investigating how bias affects undergraduate and graduate student experience in the School of Physical Sciences at UCI.  The report will explain how the school is supporting or failing underrepresented students and faculty, and will include suggestions for effective ways to improve the current climate in STEM at UCI.

Interested in my current work?

Contact Me

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

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

Overview of Courses Taught

Medical Epistemology

Summer 2020

This course provides students with an overview of the exciting field of medical epistemology. Based on case-studies drawn from contemporary medical practice, the course will be themed around nine key topics: 1) Testimonial and hermeneutical injustice in the medical context. 2) Expert disagreement in the medical context. 3) Trust and the role of experts in the medical context. 4) Transformative experiences in the medical setting. 5) The significance of vaccine skepticism. 6) The ethics and epistemology of placebos. 7) The value and accuracy of diagnostic tests. 8) The difference between side effects and intended effects. 9) The nature of medical indications.

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.