The Philosophy of Ryan Nguyen

As a child, Ryan Nguyen, a current senior, always had his nose in a fiction book or his hands on a game controller. However, as time went on, his path diverged from fantasy into the world of philosophy, where he found his passion and dream.

Ryan Nguyen, ‘21, pictured on a trip to the beach. 

Ryan was introduced to philosophy in eighth grade by his uncle, a UCR alumni who studied philosophy. Since then, he branched out from the works of the Ancient Greeks to newer age philosophers such as David Hume and Ray Brassier, amongst other more recent thinkers.

A philosopher who resonates with him is Reza Negarestani, a big contributor to western philosophy during the contemporary era. In Negarestani’s book, Intelligence and Spirit, Ryan explains that the philosopher makes a point for humans to analyze their own limitations in order to extend such abilities to Artificial Intelligence. Ryan elaborates, “One can think of the telescope as a way to overcome the finitude of the human eye, the car as a way to overcome our spatial limitations in terms of travel, and computers, and by extension Artificial Intelligence, as a way to overcome the limited intelligence of the past.”

In the future, Ryan aspires to become a philosophy professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Many renowned professors whose works Ryan enjoys work at that school. Ryan’s aspirations and goals all align with philosophy. He explains, “…my goals mirror that of philosophy: to ease myself from mental distress, to be a better person, and to create,” similar to Eugene Thacker’s views on the purpose of philosophy, which are “self-help, a guide to better living, and a map of the world made in our own image.”

Although Ryan’s exterior may seem to be all books and business, he is surprisingly a sucker for cheesy content. He admits, “My secret vice is terrible rom-coms. I enjoy rom-com anime and manga along with John Green novels.” His personal favorite anime is “Hyouka.” 

Ryan sees the beauty in all types of literature and the presence of philosophy in all aspects of life, saying, “With fiction, one can find philosophy in the mundane or even the absurd, and one can view philosophy as that which lurks underneath the floorboards that consist of our picture-perfect immediate perception of reality, culture, and everyday life.”

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