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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. IV, No. 2 April 2001

General Editors: Margaret Gilbert and Anne Hiskes. This issue edited by Margaret Gilbert.

Welcome to the twelfth issue of Cogitamus! It reports on the period of January 1, 2001 through April 30, 2001.

The next issue, to be published in early September will report on the news of the summer! Please send items for the next issue by e-mail to margaret.gilbert@uconn.edu .

Highlights: This month we profile Professor Diana Meyers.

FACULTY

Honors, Awards, etc.

  • Ruth Garrett Millikan was elected to a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professorship in March. This is the University's highest academic honor. Congratulations, Ruth!
  • Margaret Gilbert was awarded this year's Chancellor's Research Award for Academic Excellence. She is also this year's recipient of the University of Connecticut Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.

Publications

  • J.C. Beall has published "A neglected deflationist approach to the liar", Analysis 61.2, April 2001, pp. 126-129. "Is Yablo's paradox non-circular?", selected for the Analysis Preprints series which is available online . (The paper will appear in the regular hardcopy journal in July 2001.)
  • Paul Bloomfield's "Justice and Tax Cuts", appeared in the Hartford Courant editorial ("Op/Ed" page) on Monday March 12.
  • Crawford Elder's "Can Contrariety be Reduced to Contradiction?" appeared in Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (2001), No. 2; "Materialism and the Mediated Causation of Behavior", appeared in Philosophical Studies, 103 (2001), No. 1; and "Mental Causation versus Physical Causation: No Contest", appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research , 62, (2001), pp. 111-127.
  • Margaret Gilbert published "A Propos de la Socialite: Le Sujet Pluriel Comme Paradigme" in L'Enquete Ontologique, Paris, Editions de l'EHESS, 2000, 107-126. (French translation of an article published in English in 1997.) Also, "Collective Preferences, Obligations and Rational Choice", appeared in Economics and Philosophy, 2001; and "Sociality, Unity, Objectivity" appeared in the Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, volume 11, Social and Political Philosophy, ed. D. Rasmussen, Philosophy Documentation Center, 2001, pp. 153-160.
  • Steve McGrade, Emeritus Professor, co-edited Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts, Volume 2: Ethics and Political Philosophy (co-editors John Kilcullen, and Matthew Kempshall), New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Steve translated more than half of the 654 pages and edited the volume as a whole.
  • Diana Meyer's "The Rush to Motherhood--Pronatalist Discourse and Women's Autonomy", appeared in SIGNS, Spring 2001.
  • Ruth Garrett Millikan's "Truth Rules, Hoverflies and the Kripke-Wittgenstein Paradox" just appeared reprinted in the fourth edition of Martinich's anthology on the Philosophy of Language. Ruth writes, "This is a feminist breakthrough, the first woman's paper ever to appear in that well-known volume!"

Presentations

  • Susan Leigh Anderson [Stamford Campus] "The American Crisis Over Morality", for faculty, students, staff and visitors at the Stamford Campus, 3/6/01. Susan writes "It was my attempt to show that Philosophy is important in everyday life, following the request by the APA to celebrate its 100th anniversary by doing something along these lines."
  • Donald Baxter presented "Hume on Steadfast Objects and Time", March 29, 2001, Pacific APA meetings, San Francisco.
  • J.C. Beall presented "Approaches to Paradox", the first annual Smith College Logic Program Lecture on March 29 at Smith College; and "From mathematical practice to paraconsistency", an invited lecture delivered at the conference Logical Theory and Mathematical Practice, sponsored by the University of Buffalo Logic Program, March 24-27. JC also delivered invited responses to papers by Stewart Shapiro and Michael Scanlon.
  • Paul Bloomfield presented "Why Even Physics Doesn't Reduce to Physics", the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, April 11 in New Orleans.
  • Joel Kupperman Will give a talk "Mencius and Hume: the Role of Traditions in Shaping Inquiry" and will lead a seminar, at Wesleyan University, April 10-11 Joel writes. "The entire philosophy department at Wesleyan each year reads a philosopher, alternating between live and dead philosophers. I will be there representing a dead philosopher, Mencius." Joel also presented "The Ethics of Style and Attitude" at the 23rd annual philosophy conference at Santa Clara, April 14. (This paper will also be given at a conference in Nanjing, June 2.)
  • Diana Tietjens Meyers presented "Gender Imagery, Sexism, and the Fragility of Feminist Gains" at the APA Pacific Division meetings in San Francisco; and "Gender Identity and Women's Agency--Culture, Norms, and Internalized Oppression Revisited", at Southern Connecticut State University in April. Diana also introduced and led a discussion of her paper, "Feminism and Women's Autonomy: The Challenge of Female Genital Cutting," at a brown bag lunch session organized by the UConn Women's Studies Program in February.
  • Ruth Garrett Millikan gave four seminars in January on her work on biological functions for an interdisciplinary inter-university group gathered for this purpose in Kobe, Japan. Ruth writes; "This was followed by a personal tour with presentations by the graduate students and post docs of the systems engineering labs at Kobe University (evolutionary designs) and by personally conducted trips to a half dozen wonderful places, theater, (saki), and so forth, in the vicinity of Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka."
    * During Spring break, Ruth Millikan taught an intensive (12 hour) class for psychologists and philosophers on her "Concepts" book at the University of Iceland and public university lectures in Reykjavic and Akureyri on " Purposes and Cross-purposes". Ruth writes: "Japanese hospitality is rivaled only by Icelandic!"
    * Ruth also presented "Purposes and Cross-purposes," (on the many levels of purpose found in human behavior) at Vanderbilt University's philosophy department in April.

Conference Participation

  • Margaret Gilbert chairs a session at the APA Central Division in early May 2001.
  • Joel Kupperman was a participant in Akumal II and Akumal III, conferences (mainly of psychologists) on positive emotions in Akumal, Mexico, January 3-10.
  • Steve McGrade, Emeritus Professor, chaired a paper at a conference on medieval philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge, on March 17.
  • John Troyer chairs a session on "Basic Knowledge" at the Rutgers Epistemology Conference (April 27-8) in New Brunswick, NJ.

Work in Progress

  • Susan Anderson is currently working on a book which is titled Equal Opportunity Individualism: An Interpretation of the American Dream.
  • Among other things Margaret Gilbert is working on a response to discussions of her work in numerous papers from two conferences held recently in Leipzig, Germany. These papers are to be published in Grazer Philosophische Studien along with her response.
  • While on sabbatical Anne Hiskes is exploring various facets of a constructive empiricist epistemology for science with the goal of seeing how this epistemology might provide a unified epistemic framework for both science and theistic religious traditions. Constructive empiricist epis has interesting implications for our understanding of laws of nature, theoretical models, human rationality, the acceptance versus belief distinction, and the roles of experience, explanation, and the epistemic community in mediating acceptable belief. All of these issues in the philosophy of science have interesting implications for issues of current interest in "science vs. religion" debates, especially for the recent debates over intelligent design theories in cosmology and biochemistry.

Departmental Profile of Diana Tietjens Meyers

Diana Tietjens Meyers, Professor of Philosophy, came to UConn in 1987, and is the major representative of feminist theory in the department. Her other areas of specialization are ethics and social and political philosophy. Diana's first book was the well-known Inalienable Rights: A Defense, 1985. Diana has three other monographs to her credit, including Gender in the Mirror: Confounding Imagery, forthcoming in December 2001 from Oxford University Press. She has also edited or co-edited seven collections of articles, including the classic "Women and Moral Theory", 1987 (with Eva Kittay). Her service to the profession includes being both member and, later, chair of the APA Eastern Division program committee and presidency of the American Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy. She is a founding member of FEAST--the Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Thought--which will hold its inaugural conference in Fall 2001.

Diana has been on the Women's Studies Executive Board since her arrival at UConn, being Co-chair of that board for some years. She is a member of the CLAS Gladstein Committee (chairing it next year), which is active in organizing the UConn human rights initiative. She has often served as the department's sexual harassment officer. Diana regularly teaches courses in femin theory at the graduate level and at the upper division undergraduate level. She also team-teaches the Women's Studies Research Methods course every fall.

Diana summarizes her approach to philosophy as follows: Paying attention to gender transforms philosophy in highly beneficial ways. Philosophical problems that had seemed peripheral become salient, and the need to integrate pertinent findings from various disciplines, including psychology, anthropology, history, and cultural studies, into philosophical methodology becomes evident." Her 1989 book, Self, Society, and Personal Choice, develops an account of autonomy designed to show how it is possible for oppressed people, including women living within patriarchal institutions, to hav some degree of autonomy, and how systematic subordination constrains autonomy. Subjection and Subjectivity: Psychoanalytic Feminism and Moral Philosophy, 1994, focuses on moral reflection and emphasizes both the importance of empathy and the corrosiveness of culturally entrenched prejudices.

Diana's forthcoming book (Gender in the Mirror: Imagery that Confounds Us, Oxford Univ. Press, 2001) addresses the questions: "How do patriarchal representations of gender impact on women's lives and on men's attitudes towards women? How can the deleterious effects of this hostile environment be overcome?" The book "defends a theory of self-determination that makes sense of women's capacity to find their own voices and rewrite their self-narratives," and also argues that "it is essential that patriarchal cultural contexts be reconfigured."

For a foretaste of the book you may want to look at Diana's website where some related articles can be found. One of the online articles entitled "Miroir, Memoire, Mirage: Appearance, Aging, and Women" is on the Cogitamus editor's list of must-read-soon material.

Miscellaneous Items of Interest

  • JC Beall is co-coordinator (with Greg Restall) of a conference on Logical Pluralism, to be held at the University of Tasmania (Hobart, Australia) in July 2001. You may learn more about the conference via the conference webpage.
  • Steve McGrade, Emeritus Professor, is currently editing The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Publications

  • Erik Anderson published "Group Rights, Autonomy, and the Free Exercise of Religion" in Groups and Group Rights, eds. Christine Sistare, Larry May, and Leslie Francis (eds.), University of Kansas Press, 2001.

Presentations

New Appointments

  • Erik Anderson has accepted a tenure-track position starting in the fall at Furman University, a liberal arts college in Greenville, SC. He will teach political philosophy, philosophy of law, philosophy of religion, logic and intro. to philosophy. Congratulations, Erik!

Honors, Awards, etc.

  • Congratulations to Paula Droege who defended her dissertation entitled "Second Sense: A Theory of Sensory Consciousness" on March 9.

Alumni News

  • Peimin Ni (Ph.D. 1990) has published two books in a Wadsworth series on great philosophers. They are Reid (2001) and Confucius (2001).
  • Keya Maitra's (Ph.D. 2000) "An Understanding of the Concept of 'Indian Culture': a Naturalist Alternative" will appear in Asian Philosophy, in the March 2001 issue. Keya's "Leibniz's Account of Error" has been accepted by the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
    Also, Keya will present a version of her paper on "Indian Culture" at the Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture conference at SUNY Binghamton on April 27-28.

Personal News

  • Congratulations to Erik and Lisa Anderson who are expecting a baby in May! Also, congratulations to Dan Blair and Lisa Cutler who are expecting a baby boy this summer!
  • Congratulations to Shannon O'Roarke (Ph.D. 1995) on her recent marriage!

This newsletter was designed by the Philosophy Department's Program Assistant Shelly Burelle. Please visit our website at: http://vm.uconn.edu/~wwwphil where this Newsletter is located for miscellaneous links, including links to abstracts, and colloquium updates. Any questions or comments should be directed to Shelly at philos1@uconnvm.uconn.edu.

Department of Philosophy
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Email: philos1@uconnvm.uconn.edu
Website: http://vm.uconn.edu/~wwwphil