Evan Harris

Philosophy: Rachel Edwards

Rachel Edwards came to Wake Forest intending to follow the pre-med track and major in biology. However, her involvement with the Program for Leadership and Character led her toward the teachings of Aristotle, her favorite philosopher, whose “Nicomachean Ethics” helped her uncover a genuine interest in philosophy. She then decided to major in it and switched to the pre-law track. 

Edwards relates much of what she has learned from her major to her experiences growing up in Spivey’s Corner, N.C., a place she describes as more rural and generally conservative. Her interest in philosophy helped her call into question the values and principles around which she grew up and has encouraged her to challenge preexisting beliefs. 

“Over the course of the last four years, I’ve been undoing learned behaviors in my mind through learning about philosophy,” Edwards said, “Simply because it’s a constant challenge of your beliefs and a constant perspective-taking.” 

Dr. Ann Phelps, director of programming for leadership and character, commented on her interactions with Edwards over the last few years. 

“While I have had the distinct privilege of getting to know [Edwards] in the ethics classroom, her intellectual capacity for engaging and exploring complex ideas is perhaps the least interesting part of her college career,” Phelps said. “Rachel lives her life fully, authentically and intentionally, and her life itself is the most interesting philosophical text she has submitted.” 

Edwards particularly enjoyed the philosophy major because of how it taught her to apply academic concepts to real-life situations. She spoke of how philosophy has encouraged her to change her attitudes toward things like love and friendship, and how she has been engaging in more conversations about philosophical topics in her daily life. However, Edwards has some critiques of the field, too. 

“Philosophy has been written for men, by men,” Edwards said. “When you’re sitting in a classroom that doesn’t have gender equity in terms of who is showing up to and participating in those conversations, it feels like one person’s opinion is valued over another’s.” 

Edwards mentions Dr. Adam Kadlac and her advisor, Dr. Michael Lamb, as members of faculty who have served integral roles throughout her journey at Wake Forest. 

Rachel is one of the most intelligent, passionate and resilient students I have ever taught,” Lamb told the Old Gold & Black by email. “She has a genuine passion for justice and the courage and commitment required to pursue it in the world.”

Kadlac echoed Lamb. 

“When I think of Rachel as a student, I’ll always think of the way she tackled Elizabeth Anscombe’s ‘Intention’ in my course on free will during the fall of 2020,” Kadlac said. “It’s one of the most difficult texts to understand in 20th century philosophy, and Rachel always came to class with probing questions that displayed the thoughtfulness and inquisitiveness I came to expect of her.”

While Edwards mentioned her sadness regarding graduating from college and leaving Wake Forest, she also talked about her excitement regarding beginning a new chapter of her life and attending law school. She is eager to enter a new community, especially considering that community was one of her favorite things about Wake Forest during the time she spent here, and is looking forward to working toward things she is passionate about.

Her interests lie in civil litigation with a special emphasis on women’s issues — particularly those pertaining to sexual misconduct and what can be done to assist or represent survivors. She heavily attributes this to her involvement in the Leadership and Character Program. The program has led her to learn about the philosophy of justice, around which Edwards has developed a clear sense of purpose. 

“If she sees injustice, she doesn’t just name it, but she works to address it, bringing to bear all of her studies of what ‘justice’ actually means and embodying that in the world,” Phelps said. “Her interest in taking her academic endeavors and applying them to policy through the study of law promises to make her a formidable force for good in the world she is entering.”

Old Gold & Black • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All Old Gold & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *