Welcome to my website! My name is Raman Sachdev (obviously). I'm a Visiting Postdoctoral Instructor in the Philosophy Department at the University of South Florida (USF). I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from USF in May of 2019 after successfully defending my dissertation, "The Role of Skepticism in Early Modern Philosophy: A Critique of Popkin's 'Sceptical Crisis' and a Study of Descartes and Hume." I study early modern philosophers like Descartes and Hume, and my philosopher of interest at the moment is Spinoza. I teach courses in philosophy, religion, and the humanities at USF, in both the Philosophy Department and the Judy Genshaft Honors College.
Take a look around. From the top menu, you can access my most up to date CV as well as some information about my research and teaching. Feel free to reach out through the Contact link—I'd love to hear from you!
My dissertation, which I successfully defended in March of 2019, is a historiographical study of the role of skepticism in the thought of Descartes, Hume, and other early modern philosophers. I argue that, for Descartes, though he utilizes skeptical argumentation in some of his philosophical works—for this he is well known—skepticism is actually a trivial and laughable philosophy. I also argue that although Hume is deeply influenced by skeptical philosophy, the kind of skepticism Hume espouses cannot be easily described as either Pyrrhonian or Academic. To support my arguments, in addition to examining the works of other early modern philosophers like Bayle and Charron, I analyze the writings of the “founders” of western skepticism, Sextus Empiricus and Cicero. The research I conducted for my dissertation is indicative of my strong interest in both the history of philosophy and early modern philosophy. You can read a published article of mine HERE. This paper resembles the work I did for my dissertation.
Recently I have been studying the writings of Spinoza to get a sense of his critique of Descartes. According to some prominent historians of philosophy, Spinoza—not Descartes—is the first properly modern philosopher. This judgment seems to arise from the fact that, unlike the thought of other contemporary early modern philosophers, Spinoza’s philosophy breaks completely with any kind of traditional theological underpinning. I have also been researching Descartes’ ethics, a branch of Descartes’ philosophy that is often ignored but which Descartes himself believed to be the most important.
My immediate goal is to continue my research into the history of early modern philosophy by understanding the writings of thinkers like Descartes and Spinoza; the relation between such philosophers, i.e. their agreements and disagreements with one another; and the intellectual, social, and cultural contexts in which such philosophers lived. Going forward, I would like to incorporate the thought of ancient Greek philosophers and medieval thinkers into my work in order to clarify, if only to some extent, the nature of the influence of ancient and medieval philosophy on early modern philosophers.
I recently had the privilege of piloting and teaching the sole flexible hybrid course during the summer of 2020 at USF—the first of its kind meant to be a template for further hybrid instruction in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic. You can watch a promotional video of the experience HERE and read a blog article I wrote about hybrid classes HERE.
I primarily teach courses in philosophy, but I have also taught courses in comparative religions, the humanities, and interdisciplinary studies. Over the years, I have taught classes in a variety of settings: community college, small seminar classes, and large, lecture style courses. Some recent courses I've taught are Biomedical Ethics (in-person and online); Acquisition of Knowledge (in-person, online, and hybrid); Mental Illness, Suicide, and Moral Responsibility; and Studies in Buddhism and Stoicism.
My teaching philosophy centers around one goal: inclusivity. It is a priority for me to make sure every student feels welcome in the classroom and comfortable enough to participate and contribute. In my lectures I make it a point to pull students into discussions by asking targeted and relevant questions throughout the class period. Sometimes I follow their responses with still more targeted questions and other times with personal reflections. I always maintain a sincere interest in hearing what they have to say. Our students need encouragement. They ought to feel that what they wish to say is important, and they should never be made to feel intimidated by or inferior to anyone else.