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C O G I T A M U S

The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter,
Vol. IV, No. 3, October 2001

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

Welcome to the thirteenth issue of Cogitamus! It reports on the period of May 1 - September 30, 2001.

The next issue, to be published in early December, will report on the news for the Fall semester. Please send items for the next issue by email to Anne Hiskes.

Highlights: This month we profile New Graduate Students, and congratulate ourselves on our new rankings in the Philosophical Gourmet (But who cares, right?)

WELCOME TO OUR NEW GRADUATE STUDENTS

The Department of Philosophy is happy to welcome seven new graduate students into the department.

  • SANDY BOUCHER received his B.A. from Monash University in Australia where he wrote his honors thesis on Kripke's argument against materialism. He has recently finished an M.A. thesis on metaphysical realism, and plans to continue his research in the area of the philosophy of mind at UConn.

  • DONOVAN COX (B.A. in Philosophy and English from the University of Georgia) says that he came to philosophy as an outgrowth of his interest in literature and art which frequently focus on conflicts with the ethical conventions of society. He is currently interested in issues of metaphysics, particularly on the problems of individuation discussed by Medieval philosophers.

  • After earning his B.S. in Philosophy at Ball State University in Indiana, CHRIS CRULL received his M.A. in philosophy from Kent State University with a thesis defending alethic realism against epistemic theories of truth. He plans to continue his work in epistemology and metaphysics.

  • SEAN DOHERTY wrote his senior thesis on consciousness at Bates College in Maine. He says that he was attracted to UConn because of the department's strength in the philosophy of mind.

  • AARON EXUM earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from Asbury College in Kentucky. He believes that a major problem for him in graduate school will be to select a single specialty topic for his dissertation from his many interests that include the history of philosophy, Plantinga's epistemology, and the philosophy of religion.

  • CHARITY HELTON comes to UConn with an M.A. from Baylor University in Texas and a B.A. from Houghton University in New York where she studied with Professor Shannon O'Roarke, a UConn Philosophy Ph.D. Charity identifies the philosophy of mind and social/political philosophy as two special areas of interest.

  • After graduating from Florida State University with a B.A. in English, DOUGLAS OBSORNE taught English at Thom Howard Academy where he also served as a secondary school principle. Eventually, however, Doug realized that his true intellectual interests were in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology. These interests led him first to the University of Florida where he wrote his M.A. thesis on the work of UConn's Ruth Millikan, and most recently to UConn.

FACULTY

Awards, Honors, and Grants

Congratulations to JOEL KUPPERMAN on receiving the Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence. The award also comes with $2500.

Publications

  • Congratulations to PAUL BLOOMFIELD on the release of his first book Moral Reality by Oxford University Press. Paul says that he is quite pleased with the book since it represents what he takes to be the Truth.
  • CRAWFORD ELDER has two new publications: "Contrariety and the Individuation of Properties", American Philosophical Quarterly, 38 (2001), pp. 249-59; and "The Problem of Harmonizing Laws", Philosophical Studies, 105 (2001), pp. 25-41. To read the abstracts, click on the links.
  • BOB LUYSTER published "Nietzsche/Dionysus: Ecstasy, Heroism and the Monstrous," Journal of Nietzsche Studies, XXI (Spring, 2001), pp. 1-26.
  • RUTH MILLIKAN has published "What has Natural Information to do with Intentional Representation?" in Denis Walsh, ed., Naturalism, Evolution and Mind, Cambridge University Press; "Cutting Philosophy of Language Down to Size," in Philosophy [this is Joournal of the British Royal Philosophical Society] and simultaneously reprinted as a separate Cambridge University Press volume; "Purposes and Cross-purposes: On the Evolution of Language and Languages", The Monist 84.3 (July 2001) (Special issue on "The Epidemiology of Ideas," ed. Dan Sperber.
  • DIANA TIETJENS MEYERS has published "Feminism and Women's Autonomy: The Challenge of Female Genital Cutting" in The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Liberalism, ed. Mark Evans (Edinburgh University Press) and "Social Groups and Individual Identities" in Feminists Doing Ethics, ed. Peggy DesAutels and Joanne Waugh (Rowman and Littlefield).

Presentations

  • DON BAXTER presented "Hume on the Simplicity of Moments" at the 28th Hume Conference in Victoria, British Columbia, July 2001.
  • PAUL BLOOMFIELD gave a paper "Let's Be Realistic About Serious Metaphysics" at the II Barcelona Workshop on Reference held June 27-30. The highly rewarding conference focused on two-dimensional modality. (Abstract to be accessed by a link)
  • TIM ELDER presented the paper "The Problem of Harmonizing Laws" [short version] at the Bled (Slovenia) Conference on Metaphysics, 8 June 2001.
  • RUTH MILLIKAN delivered a number of papers over the summer. She presented "Purposes and Cross-Purposes," at the Sciences Prestige Lecture, Canterbury University NZ, May 16, 2001; "A Suggestion about Exaptations," University of Aukland New Zealand, May 18, 2001; "Essential Inderminacies between Semantics and Pragmatics," Erskine Lecture, Canterbury University New Zealand, June 5, 2001; "Kantian Reflections on Animal Minds," Erskine Lecture, Canterbury University NZ, May 29, 2001; "A suggestion about exaptations" University of Otago, June 8, 2001.
  • DIANA TIETJENS MEYERS presented "Gender Imagery, Sexism, and the Fragility of Feminist Gains" at the inaugural conference of FEAST (Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Thought) in Clearwater Beach, Florida, October 4-7, 2001.

WORK IN PROGRESS

  • SUSAN ANDERSON continues work on her book "Equal Opportunity Individualism: An Interpretation of the American Dream".
  • RUTH MILLIKAN has completed the manuscripts "A Theory of Representation to Complement TEC" for Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24: (4); "On the Rumored Takeover by the Genes and The Memes", for the lecture series "Wissenkultur und geselschaftlichen Wandel" in Frankfurt, to be published in German Translation in Germany; "On reading Signs: Some Differences Between us and the Others" for proceedings of a conference on the evolution of communication at the Konrad Lorenz Institute, Austria, Eds. Kim Oller, Kim Plunkett and Ulrike Griebel, MIT Press.

SERVICE

SUSAN ANDERSON is very busy with the HUMAN RIGHTS SEMESTER at the Stamford Campus. In addition to being a member of the Stamford committee that plans Human rights events and heading the committee that sponsors an essay contest on human rights issues, Susan gave the "kick-off" speech for the Human Rights Semester. Under Susan's initiation, the new freshman at the Stamford campus took "mini-classes" during orientation to introduce them to different disciplines. Susan used here article "We Are Our Values" to introduce them to philosophy

Graduate Student News

  • Congratulations to ERIK ANDERSON who successfully defended his dissertation "Religious Freedom in a Deliberative Democracy" on Monday, September 24. Diana Meyers served as major advisor. Erik's wife Lisa Colby and 4 month old son Owen accompanied Eric for the celebrations. We also offer our condolences to Erik on the loss of his brother in a car accident in early September.

  • Congratulations to DAN BLAIR and wife Lisa on the birth of a healthy son Samuel (not named after Dan's Thesis advisor Samuel C. Wheeler III) in early September. Dan and Lisa live in Washington D.C.

Alumni News

  • INNA KUPREEVA (M.A. 1995) sends her good wishes to everyone in the department. Inna is currently a V.H.Galbraith Research Fellow in Medieval Studies at St. Hilda College, Oxford, England. Her e-mail is inna.kupreeva@st-hildas.oxford.ac.uk She writes: Please tell people to get in touch if they come to England, and want to visit Oxford. I am now re-working my thesis into a book. During July, 2001 I presented two conference papers: "Physics of Formal Causation and Metaphysics of Living Aggregates: Avicenna and Averroes on Growth" at the international seminar on Islamic cosmology at the Department of Systematic Theology of the University of Helsinki, and "Greek Sources of Arabic Psychological Theories: Inner Sense and Divination in Avicennian Corpus". I am starting a project 'Greek Sources of the Arabic Theory of 'internal senses''. I'm teaching Plato's Republic and early dialogues during the Michaelmas term.
  • Congratulations to STEVE LAHEY (Ph.D, Medieval Studies) and his wife Julia McQuillan who are expecting a baby in December. Steve is currently on leave for the year from LeMoyne College in order to study at Seabury Western Seminary, Evanston IL in preparation for the Episcopal priesthood. Steve has published a chapter on Wyclif in Blackwell's The Medieval Theologians, ed. G.Evans, 2001. He continues to write on Wyclif even whilst engulfed in his seminary studies.
  • CHENYANG LI
  • (Ph.D. 1992) will be visiting UConn on Friday Oct. 26 in conjunction with his presentation "Confucianism and Democracy" on Saturday Oct. 27 at the Global Cultural Conference in Hartford. In response to discussions of his 1994 article in Hypatia on Confucian ethics and feminist care ethics, Chenyang will publish a "Reply to y Critics" in the winter 2002 issue.
  • XINLI WANG (Ph.D. 1999) has two forthcoming articles: "Presuppositional Languages and the Failure of Cross-Language Understanding," Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, and "Taxonomy, Truth-Value Gaps and Incommensurability: A Reconstruction of T. Kuhn's Taxonomic Interpretation of Incommensurability," Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. He has also published "Hume Is Not A Skeptic About Induction," Dialogos 78 (2001): 26-40.
  • VIRGIL WHITMYER (Ph.D. 2000) is very enthusiasitc about his research program as a post-doc at Indiana University. He and Tracy live in Indianapolis, and so haven't been able to enjoy the great culture of Bloomington or the beer at the downtown pubs. Virgil reports that he is nearing the end of data acquisition for a study of 12 - 21 month-olds. In addition to the infants in the pilot study, Virgil has seen about a hundred of them! The research team is looking at the effects of motor memory on complex manual behavior (in the vein of Piaget's well known "A-not-B" task). To see an abstract of a recent poster submission, go here . To see Virgil's webpage go here.
  • Congratulations to CHRIS YALONIS ( M.A. 1998) and his wife Mohini who have a seven month old son, Nicholas.

GRADUATE PROGRAM RANKED HIGHLY IN THE LASTEST PHILOSOPHICAL GOURMET:

Of course we place no stock in rankings of colleges and universities that appear in US News and World Report or of Philosophy Graduate Programs in the Philosophical Gourmet. But in the interests of objective reporting, we must report that in philosophy of the social sciences, we are rated in the very top group, along with just five other programs. In philosophy of mind and cognitive science, we are rated in the same group as M.I.T., Princeton, Brown, and Australian National Unversity; in philosophy of mind and language, in the same group as Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, Oxford, and Cambridge; in philosophy of biology, in the same group as Stanford, Indiana, and Edinburgh; in Chinese Philosophy, in the same group as Duke and Hawaii. Our high ratings in a range of fields made us one of thirty-two programs to appear in the Gourmet's "Summary of Specialty Ratings". Department Head Tim Elder says, "It is true that individual ratings in the Gourmet can be misleading. We believe, for example, that ours are overly low."

C A L E N D A R

Wednesdays at noon: our regular Brown Bag Series of informal philosophy talks continues.

Please see our complete listing of colloquia scheduled for fall at our Colloqium Series page.

This newsletter is 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
U-2054, 344 Mansfield Rd.
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2054
Telephone: 860-486-4416
Fax: 860-486-0387
Email: philos1@uconnvm.uconn.edu
Website: http://vm.uconn.edu/~wwwphil