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Rika Dunlap ’07


Posted in: Alumni Stories

Rika Dunlap

I am currently a Ph. D. candidate for philosophy at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. My experiences at Montclair State University solidified my career path to study comparative philosophy, a discipline that compares and contrasts philosophical ideas rooted in different cultures. During my undergraduate education, I majored in philosophy with a minor in legal studies because I was fascinated with the power of reasoning that epitomizes much of philosophy and jurisprudence. Immersed in the study of classical and modern philosophy, I came to realize that even within Western philosophy there are distinct sets of ideas rooted in subtle cultural differences. Fascinated with this knowledge, I became interested in non-Western philosophy, particularly Asian philosophy, to make sense of the ideas inherent in my own culture. Legal studies complemented my study of philosophy, for law embodies the ideas deeply entrenched in the cultural paradigm within the United States.

As an international student from Japan, I was active within the international community at the university. I worked as a student assistant at the Office of International Services, and I also became a student representative for International Student Organization. I worked closely with other international students and learned the importance of cross-cultural dialogues to improve the overall wellbeing of the student community. This lesson is something that I still treasure and apply in my study of comparative philosophy. I believe that cross-cultural studies not only enhance the breadth of philosophical discourses, but also deepen our analyses, allowing us to critically reflect on our own mindsets. My experiences at Montclair State University enriched my life enormously and gave the foundation upon which I develop my work in comparative philosophy now.

Published September 2014