Curriculum Vitae

Gerald Cantu, Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Cal State University, Bakersfield
Humanities Office Building, 229
93311 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA 93311
gcantu1@csub.edu
661.654.3562 (office)
310.766.1996 (cell)
geraldcantu.com (professional website)

Education and Academic Honors
Ph.D. Philosophy, University of California, Irvine, June 2010
M.A. Philosophy, University of California, Irvine, June 2005
B.A. Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley, May 2000
A.A. History, Magna Cum Laude, Bakersfield College, December 1997

Areas of Specialization
Ancient Philosophy (especially Ancient Moral and Political Theory), Normative Ethics

Areas of Competence
Early Modern Philosophy of Science, Early Modern Political Philosophy (especially Social Contract Theory), Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Education

Dissertation
Plato’s Moral and Political Philosophy: Individual and Polis in the Republic
Gerasimos X. Santas (chair)
Nicholas P. White (co-chair)
Committee: Margaret Gilbert

Awards
Eugene Cota-Robles (ECR) Fellowship, University of California, Irvine, 2002-2004

Scholarship
Articles
“An Inclusive Spirituality? Naturalism in the Twelve Step Tradition,” in Sobering Wisdom: Philosophical Explorations of Twelve Step
Spirituality, eds. Miller, J. and Plants N., University of Virginia Press, 2014.

“Individual and Polis in Plato’s Republic,” in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought (Vol. 28, No. 1, 2011).

Works in Progress
“Distributive Justice in High Schools: Toward an Assessment of Differential Educational Opportunities.” (Manuscript under review).

“Against High School Tracking: Educational Equality Reconsidered.” (Manuscript under preparation).

Teaching Experience
Fall 2018
Philosophy 3338, Business Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield (2 sections)
Philosophy 1019, Critical Thinking, Cal State University, Bakersfield
Philosophy B7, Intro to Logic, Bakersfield College (3 sections, with 2 under the Inmate Scholars Program)
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program)

Spring 2018
Philosophy 3318, Professional Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield
Philosophy 3338, Business Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield (2 sections)
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program)

Fall 2017
Philosophy 1019, Critical Thinking, Cal State University, Bakersfield
Philosophy 3318, Professional Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield (2 sections)
Philosophy B12, Ethics of Living and Dying, Bakersfield College
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program)

Summer 2017
Philosophy 3318, Professional Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield

Spring 2017
Political Science 3030, Political Philosophy & Thought, Cal State University, Bakersfield
Philosophy 3318, Professional Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield (3 sections)
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program)

Fall 2016
Philosophy 3318, Professional Ethics, Cal State University, Bakersfield
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program; 2 sections)

Spring 2016
Philosophy B10, Intro to Ethics, Bakersfield College
Philosophy B7, Intro to Logic, Bakersfield College
Philosophy B37, Intro to World Religions, Bakersfield College (Inmate Scholars Program)

Fall 2015
Philosophy B7, Intro to Logic, Bakersfield College (2 sections)

Spring 2015
Philosophy B7, Intro to Logic, Bakersfield College (2 sections)

Fall 2014
Philosophy B7, Intro to Logic, Bakersfield College
Philosophy B12, Ethics of Living and Dying, Bakersfield College

Summer 2010
Philosophy 4, Intro to Ethics, University of California, Irvine

Fall 2007
Philosophy 7, Intro to Ethics, Long Beach City College

Specialized Teaching Experience:
Inmate Scholars Program, Bakersfield College, Spring 2016–Spring 2017. On-site instructor at Kern Valley, Wasco, and North Kern State Prisons.

Rural Initiatives Program, Bakersfield College, Fall 2014–Fall 2018—Instructor for courses in rural areas across Kern County, including Arvin, Wasco, Shafter, and Delano.

Teaching Assistantships
Introduction to Philosophy, N. Jolly, Winter 2009
Contemporary Moral Problems, P. Nickel, Fall 2008
Intro to Ethics, E. Bencivenga, Spring 2008
History of Modern Philosophy, N. Jolley, Winter 2008
Introduction to Human Nature, G.X. Santas, Winter 2007
Introduction to Ethics, A. James, Spring and Fall 2007
Intro to Philosophy, W. Bristow, Fall 2006
Intro to Philosophy and Religion, E. Bencivenga, Spring 2006
Aesthetics (upper division), N.P. White, Fall 2004

Graduate Coursework
Aristotle’s Criticisms of Plato, G.X. Santas, Spring 2009
Philosophy of Social Phenomena, M. Gilbert, Winter 2009
Ancient Philosophy, G.X. Santas, Spring 2006
Hobbes, N. Jolley, Winter 2004
Dialectic and Reality, N.P. White, Winter 2004
Kant’s First Critique, W. Bristow, Winter 2004
Plato, G.X. Santas, Spring 2003
Kant on Freedom, W. Bristow, Spring 2003
Rationalism, A. Nelson, Spring 2003
Aquinas, B. Kent, Winter 2003
Social Contract, N. Jolley, Winter 2003
Aristotle’s Metaphysics, N.P. White, Winter 2003
Set Theory, P. Maddy, Fall 2003
Hegel and Skepticism, W. Bristow, Fall 2003
Spinoza and Leibniz, A. Nelson, Fall 2003
Hume’s Treatise, N. Jolley, Fall 2002
Arabic Medieval Politics, M. Aouad, Fall 2002

Other Publications
“PBIS, and time, are still solutions for KHSD,” in the Bakersfield Californian, May 30, 2018.

“Get engaged to end pushout of students of color,” in the Bakersfield Californian, October 30, 2017.

“Normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations benefits Cubans,” in the Bakersfield Californian, February 19, 2017.

“Barks’ rant ignored the facts behind gun vote,” in the Bakersfield Californian, February 17, 2017.

“Students need Kern schools to continue shift away from zero tolerance,” in the Bakersfield Californian, March 3, 2016.

“Funds for low-income and English language learners misused,” in the Bakersfield Californian, September 22, 2015.

“On Panhandling, Let’s Not Lose Perspective—or Compassion,” (with Jim Wheeler) in the Bakersfield Californian, March 5, 2014.

Additional Research
Lead researcher: focus groups of voters on problems in the local community.
Participants: voters in Arvin and Lamont on problems in the community. Field dates: May 7th and 15th 2014, respectively.

Lead researcher: survey of downtown Bakersfield businesses on the issue of panhandlers.
Respondents: 165 businesses in downtown area. Field dates: Feb. 2014 via in-person interviews.

Lead researcher: survey focused on politics. Respondents: sample of 386 actual Latino
voters in Kern County’s 5th District 2012 primary election. Field dates: Nov. 17, 2013-Dec. 19, 2013 via phone interview.

Presentations
Panel Moderator, “Health4all,” a panel discussion on the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative to extend health care to all regardless of immigration status followed by a performance of Gary Soto’s In and Out of Shadows, Bakersfield College, September 25th, Cal State Bakersfield, Sept 26th, 2015.

“Home Ownership and Voter Propensity Among Latino Voters in Kern County’s 5th Supervisorial District,” panelist for roundtable, The Structural Roots of Inequality and Political Exclusion in the San Joaquin Valley, Midwestern Political Science Association Conference April 2015.

“Survey Results of Downtown Businesses on the Issue of Panhandling,” Kern County Homeless Collaborative, Steering Committee meeting, March 18th, 2014. “Survey Results of Actual Latino Voters in Kern County’s 5th District 2012 Primary,” Kern Community Leadership Coalition March 2013.

Languages
Ancient Greek (reading knowledge)
Spanish (conversational)

Academic References
Gerasimos X. Santas
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy
University of California, Irvine
(760) 597-2725
gxsantas@uci.edu

Nicholas P. White
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy
University of California, Irvine
011-49-221-1686-4283
npwhite@uci.edu

Margaret P. Gilbert
Melden Chair in Moral Philosophy
University of California, Irvine
(949) 824-6520
mpgilber@uci.edu

Abstract of Dissertation
Interpretations of the relation between Plato’s political and moral philosophy are mired in controversy. What is the polis’ good? What is individual happiness? Is the polis’ good reducible to individual happiness, or is it something above and beyond? Is individual happiness reducible to one’s contribution to the polis’ good, or is it defined independently? Consideration of these questions is tied up with the metaphysics of the polis, for different metaphysical views yield different answers.

Chapter 1 exposits and criticizes two main views in the literature. Neither view satisfies the condition of adequacy that interpretations of Plato’s political philosophy must be compatible with two prima facie theses: The first is an ethical thesis stating that individual happiness is irreducible to the polis’ good. The second is a political thesis stating that the polis’ good is irreducible to individual happiness. Political organicism holds that the polis is an organism and individuals are organically dependent on the polis. Organic dependence violates the ethical thesis, since it has the implication that individual happiness is defined by one’s contribution to the polis’ good. Individualism holds that the polis is reducible to features of individuals. Its metaphysical account leads to the view that the polis’ good is nothing but the aggregate of individual happiness, which violates the political thesis.

In chapter 2 I develop an interpretation that satisfies the condition of adequacy. Weak organicism establishes the political thesis while remaining logically consistent with the ethical thesis. Weak organicism includes the view that the polis is an organic whole composed of classes of functionally integrated individuals and a Platonic account of the mereological relations of the polis implying that individuals as such are not structurally dependent on the whole polis. These relations make conceptual space for the possibility that the happiness of individuals as such is non-reductive, the ethical thesis expressly accepted by Plato and which is incompatible with political organicism.

Chapter 3 considers the relation between the polis’ good and individual happiness. It assesses a specific individualistic argument accounting for that relation through a case study of the primitive polis. I show that the individualistic conclusion that the polis’ good is derivative of the good of realizing individual happiness does not follow from the evidence that the end of the polis is the realization of individual happiness. This criticism deflates individualism as a way of accounting for the relation between the polis’ good and individual happiness.

Weak organicism is consistent with Plato’s ethical thesis, but it does not establish it. In chapters 4 and 5, I explicate a non-reductive conception of individual happiness and argue that all individuals in the polis are happy. I focus specially on the happiness of workers, since the guardians’ happiness is much discussed in the literature.

Chapter 4 frames the issue in terms of showing that individuals are happy if they are capable of satisfying the necessary condition that they are virtuous. Then I give a dispositional account of virtue, which I call genuine virtue. Genuine virtue implies that in order to be virtuous, individuals must have each virtue as a disposition: they must choose virtuous actions from settled patterns of judgment. Philosophic virtue qualifies genuine virtue insofar as wisdom is had with knowledge. Since knowledge is an unknown variable in the Republic, and therefore the content of the attitudinal dispositions of philosophers is unknown, it is not clear they would choose just acts from settled patterns of judgment. Nevertheless, I offer reasons for thinking philosophers would have dispositions to choose just actions for the sake of inner justice, which is sufficient to satisfy the conditions of genuine virtue.

Chapter 5 considers whether workers can be virtuous. The chapter begins by considering whether knowledge is necessary for wisdom in genuine virtue. I argue that it is not, since knowledge does not enter into the definiens of any virtue in Book IV. Then I show how justice may be had with true beliefs on the basis of the Book IV description of justice, which says that a person chooses just acts because he believes that knowledge of the causal relations of just acts and inner justice is wisdom (443e). This description shows that Plato is not concerned with the structure of good judgment (i.e. wisdom) in the first-order beliefs had in the particular circumstances in which virtuous persons choose actions. Rather, he is concerned with the second-order justificatory apparatus of justice, which involves such beliefs as just acts cause inner justice, just acts should be chosen because they cause inner justice, etc. Whereas first-order beliefs must be had as attitudinal dispositions, second-order beliefs, I argue, may be had as attitudinal dispositions or reflectively. In either case, belief that wisdom is knowledge of causal relations between just acts and justice suffices for the Book IV description of justice.

Thereafter I resolve a problem that seems to show that workers are not able to have the second-order justificatory beliefs necessary for virtue. Plato apparently says at 580d that appetitive persons have dispositions to maximize appetitive pleasures. So they have neither the right first- nor second-order beliefs and are not virtuous. Workers are appetitive persons and are therefore not virtuous. I show that resolving this problem through the strategy of hedonistic rule will not work, since it can at best show that there may be overlap between workers’ hedonic dispositions and just actions but not that they act on the basis of the proper second-order justificatory beliefs. As an alternative to this approach, I offer a different interpretation of 580d, according to which appetitive persons would be ruled by their hedonic dispositions were they to lack an education. This interpretation requires showing that workers are educable, which I do by showing that they are amenable to true, virtuous second-order beliefs through the psychological machinery afforded by Plato’s moral psychology. Workers have a rational part that is active albeit weakly. Thus, they are responsive to knowledge and wisdom. This additional machinery coupled with an education in virtue, which I argue they receive, establishes the point that wisdom qua true belief can rule in workers, i.e., when choosing just acts they have the right second-order justificatory beliefs either as attitudinal dispositions or reflectivley. Therefore, workers are capable of demotic virtue (δημοτικὴ ἀρετή), which qualifies genuine virtue insofar as wisdom is had with true belief.