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Philosophy instructor at El Camino publishes articles and books

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Photo credit: Jorge Villa

A retired civil litigator decided to start a new journey by pursuing a career in philosophy. A pique of interest soon turned into a passion for finding the meaning of existence.

Philosophy professor Randall Firestone at El Camino College has written three books and many articles regarding philosophy during his tenure.

When he read about Eastern philosophy, he was mesmerized by it and found it very fulfilling.

“It was kind of spiritual for me,” Firestone said, “I felt good just reading about it and starting to think about the meaning of life. I was convinced I had some good stuff to get published so I had it sent to a publisher and it got accepted.”

Firestone finds philosophy interesting how we can study the fundamental questions of life and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.

“I try to teach it to always be practical, meaning we study what these really smart people think,but how can we apply this to our lives to make our lives even better,” Firestone said. “So that’s what’s really cool about it, it really does change and transforms lives.”

Firestone has also written many articles regarding philosophy, but the one that he is most proud of is his latest one, “An Argument for Libertarian Free Will: Hard Choices Based on either Incomparable or Equally Persuasive Reasons.”

“(When I started teaching) I was very troubled in all the introductory philosophy books, there was never a good argument of why we should believe that we have free will,” Firestone said, “So I said, ‘I gotta do more research’ and nobody was explaining it the way I was.”

His work got published through an organization online called Peer Review Journal.

“Your peers review your work before it gets accepted. Other philosophy professors get to review my paper to make sure it is of high enough quality and if it deserves to get published,” Firestone said.

All of Firestones articles have been accepted but on some them his peers made suggestions to do minor modifications, he said.

Firestone’s exceptional knowledge of philosophy has earned him the respect of his peers.

“He is known for engaging students in giving time in a really abstract philosophical material to student’s lives,” Felipe Leon, philosophy professor, said.

Leon also happens to be good friends with Firestone.

Some of Firestone’s students can tell that he loves his job as a professor.

“He approaches questions and you can tell he not only has his mind in it but he also his heart,” Abner Aguilar,22, philosophy major, said. “He’s very open about if anyone has a question, he takes time to answer questions even after class.

Alex Gonzalez, 20, philosophy major, said that he can tell that Firestone is very enthusiastic about his work.

“He prepares you for your future education,” Gonzalez said.

Overall, Firestone’s hard work has truly paid off and he hopes to get any student to be a philosophy major.

“(Philosophy) gives you different perspectives, you learn to think outside the box.” Firestone said.

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Philosophy instructor at El Camino publishes articles and books