For Jordan Duran, philosophy is not just an academic pursuit, it’s a way of life. Duran started Fresno State as a Business student, but after realizing how much he enjoyed philosophy, he switched his major to religious studies and made business his minor. He is widely regarded in the Philosophy Department as one of the best students they have ever taught. Not only has he performed extremely well in all of the classes that he has taken in the Department, he has been universally praised for his writing and critical thinking ability.
“Mr. Duran has been an exceptional student whose perfect G.P.A. of 4.0 only touches upon how talented a writer and thinker he is,” said Dr. Sergio La Porta, Philosophy Department Chair.
A patient listener who has tremendous respect for his classmates as well as the subjects he studies, Jordan often helped others learn through his thoughtful guidance of discussion.
“What largely sets Jordan apart from other students is his careful, deliberative, and critical analysis of difficult questions” said Dr. Veena Howard, Department of Philosophy. “I am so impressed by his research and writing skill that I offered to co-author a journal article with him.”
“I can say in all confidence that Mr. Duran is simply outstanding in all respects,” said Dr. M. Amine Tais, Department of Philosophy. “What strikes me the most about Mr. Duran is his presence. I do not simply mean his attendance record… presence in this case is an ability to impact the classroom conversations at the right moment with keen insights.”
Duran has applied the skills he has acquired in his classes in philosophy and religious studies, as well as in his business minor, to both the University and broader community. He led his fellow Marketing 100S students in creating a promotional and marketing plan for the Fresno State Student Cupboard; and he volunteers at the University Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
His future plans may include graduate school, but in the near term, he will use the abilities he has developed as a philosophy major with a minor in business to help his family run their automotive appraising business.
I was born in Visalia, CA on November 9, 1995. Homeschooled through high school, I participated in speech and debate, eventually graduating in 2014. After graduating from Clovis Community College in 2016 with an associate degree in business administration, I transferred to California State University, Fresno, and am currently on track to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a Cumulative 4.0 GPA, a BA in Philosophy with a religious studies option, and a general business minor. Leading a team of Marketing 100S students, I was privileged to be able to co-create both promotional materials and a marketing plan for the Fresno State Student Cupboard. Outside of school, I am a regular volunteer at the University Vineyard Christian Fellowship. After graduation, I plan to work full time at the family-owned automotive appraising business, but have not ruled out pursuing postgraduate education at a later date.
Moving forward, I am committed to putting philosophy into practice. This conviction found its culmination in Phil 170T, “Philosophy in Action,” but was far from absent from previous courses. Indeed, one ought not to study philosophy, particularly the philosophy of religion, without reflecting upon how one lives one’s own life. I have particular respect for thinkers like Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who were not content simply to think, but who felt compelled to make the world conform to their moral vision. What many ancient philosophers took for granted and what many modern philosophers miss, is that philosophy is a way of life, not simply an academic or intellectual pursuit; philosophy professors do not exist merely to train more philosophy professors. I can truthfully say that, without exception, every philosophy class I have taken part in, every professor I have had the pleasure of learning under at Fresno State, has communicated the simple truth that what we think, or do not think, has a profound impact on how we act.
But philosophy does more. It helps one to look outside of one’s immediate context and experience, to consider how others have dealt with the big questions in life. Phil 139, “Islam”, was a particularly valuable experience in learning about those who, though sociologically so different from myself, are yet so similar to myself, touching our basic motivations and hopes. This experience of encountering multiplicity is heightened by Fresno State’s diverse student body and faculty; one need not resort to a text to encounter individuals with differing beliefs and life experiences. All this serves to expand one’s intellectual horizons and appreciation for wisdom traditions from around the world. In an ever-shrinking globe and an increasingly multicultural United States, being able to appreciate and communicate respectfully with those who are different from me is a skill that cannot be overvalued.