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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

City College student returns as new philosophy instructor

Matthew Bixby, a newly hired adjunct philosophy instructor, now teaches at City College after receiving a bachelor’s degree at Westmont College and two masters degrees at University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Bixby started his education at City College and now teaches Philosophy 203: History of Contemporary Philosophy.

Matthew Bixby, who once started as a City College student, is now teaching Philosophy 203: History of Contemporary Philosophy as an adjunct professor.

His educational background, philosophical views, and unconventional group of students make him a well-suited addition to the department.

“For the cultivation of ideas, and for helping to get people to really think deeply about themselves and their lives is the real purpose of philosophy,” said Bixby.

Bixby’s interest in philosophy was developed as a City College student when a friend recommended he take a class taught by Joe White, a philosophy professor at City College. Bixby was immediately intrigued by the material and continued taking classes, one of which was Professor Mark McIntire’s Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy course.

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Eventually, McIntire recommended Bixby transfer to Westmont College where he later graduated with honors and received his Bachelor of Arts. While still earning his bachelor’s degree, Bixby attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he ultimately received two Master of Science degrees studying works authored by the modern British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Returning as a professor, Bixby’s goal is to push his students to think outside the box.

“You need to be challenged and you need to be resistant,” said Bixby. “So healthy disagreement is actually the cornerstone of philosophy.”

Students ponder upon the meaning of senseless versus nonsense using the Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, a work that tries to address the problems of philosophy in thought process and language in the world. The Tractatus is intended for the reader to differentiate between all language and actuality.

For Bixby, the core idea of the Tractatus is “that the logic of our language is the ability to express facts as propositions. A proposition only has meaning if it can be true or false.”

The course he teaches is essential for philosophy majors hoping to transfer to a four-year university, although some of his students attend just to gain different insights.

“I personally like his teaching method, and how extremely passionate he is about philosophy,” said Angel Vazquez, a Spanish major. “That’s all it takes to be a great professor. I’m glad I’m lucky enough to be one of his first students. He has a great future ahead of him.”

Once a professor to Bixby, McIntire now attends as a student, who said he’s amazed at how much he is now learning from someone he formerly taught to. He believes Bixby has a youthful, up to date, contemporary view upon philosophy while connecting to multiple disciplines.

“Matthew was rocked in the cradle to be a professor of philosophy,” said McIntire. “I’d say there are five people in my lifetime I’d say this about. He’s one of them.”

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