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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. VIII, No. 3 November 2004

           This issue edited by:  Thomas Bontly & Margaret Gilbert
            Designer:  Shelly Burelle 

Welcome to this, the 21st issue of Cogitamus!  This issue covers news for the period of May 1 - October 31, 2004.    

Highlights:  A profile of one of our new faculty members, Dan Ryder!

Department News:

New Faculty:    

This fall, the Philosophy Department was happy to welcome two new faculty members:  Dan Ryder and Michael Lynch.

A detailed profile of Ryder follows later in this issue.  (A profile of Lynch appeared in the last issue of Cogitamus.)

New Graduate Students:    

The Philosophy Department welcomed 9 new students into the graduate program this fall semester.  They are:

 

 

FACULTY

Comings and Goings:

The Philosophy Department is pleased to welcome guest professor Celina Romany, who will be visiting during the month of November.  Dr. Romany, a professor at the Inter-American University School of Law, is an expert on women's rights in Latin America and a practicing labor lawyer in Puerto Rico.  Her visit is hosted jointly by the Philosophy Department and the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, and she has an office in Manchester Hall.  On November 4th, she delivered the Gladstein Lecture on Human Rights with a talk entitled "Searching for Norma: Normative Assumptions for Interdependent Human Rights in Multi-cultural Democracies".  If you wish to have Prof. Romany to visit one of your classes, please contact Rachel Jackson at rachel.jackson@uconn.edu.

Margaret Gilbert completed her tenure of a fellowship at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences in Uppsala in late June 2004. During her tenure there she completed a draft of her long projected book on political obligation, for which she is under contract with OUP.  This was then sent out for expert comment preparatory to completion of the final draft. She much enjoyed her semester in Sweden and with great relief broke no bones on the beautiful but icy trek to and from work during the winter months.

In August, our own Anne Hiskes assumed the position of Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  As one of two Associate Deans under Dean Ross MacKinnon, Anne is charged with overseeing matters pertaining to the humanities and social sciences.  While her new responsibilities are simply enormous, Anne plans on teaching at least one course in philosophy each year, and even on attending a fair number of brown bags and colloquia. 

 

Honors and Awards:     

Don Baxter was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences in March 2004.

Austen Clark's most recent book, A Theory of Sentience, will be the subject of symposium in the December 2004 issue of the journal Philosophical Psychology (vol. 17, issue 4).  Commentators are Jonathan Cohen, Georges Rey, Joe Levine, and Mohan Matthen.  The issue will include Austen's target article, "Feature-placing and Proto-objects" (pp. 451-477), as well as his "Sensing, Objects, and Awareness:  Reply to Commentators" (pp. 563-589).

Diana Tietjens Meyers' book Gender in the Mirror: Cultural Imagery and Women's Agency (Oxford University Press, 2002) has been chosen by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2004.

 

Publications:

New Books and Articles in Print: 

Margaret Gilbert published a review of Keith Graham's book Practical Reasoning in a Social World: How We Act Together in The Philosophical Review, vol. 113, no 1, January 2004, pp. 130-132.  Margaret also published an invited article entitled "Collective epistemology" in Episteme, a new journal of epistemology.

Michael Lynch's article "Truth and Multiple Realizability" appears in the September 2004 issue of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy (vol. 82, 3, pp. 384-408).  His "Minimalism and the Value of Truth" came out in the October 2004 issue of The Philosophical Quarterly (vol. 54, 217, pp. 497ff.).  And The Chronicle Review published his piece "Who Cares about the Truth?" in its issue of September 10, 2004.

Steve McGrade's 10,000-word account of Richard Hooker for the ages can now be found both in print and on-line with the publication of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Ruth Millikan's Varieties of Meaning came out this summer with MIT Press.  The book is based on her 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures.

Dan Ryder published "Meditations on First Neuroscience: Critical notice of Mark A. Changizi's The Brain from 25,000 Feet" in Synthese volume 141, number 2, 2004.

 

Presentations:

Susan Leigh Anderson presented a paper "Towards Machine Ethics" at the 2004 American Association of Artificial Intelligence Workshop on Agent Organizations: Theory and Practice, in San Jose, California, July, 2004.  The paper was co-authored with her husband, Michael Anderson (Computer Science, University of Hartford) and Chris Armen (Computer Science, Trinity College) and supported by a NASA Travel Grant.  Susan also gave talks on "Philosophy in Literature" to two AP Senior English classes at Stamford High School (June 2004) and gave a presentation on "The Top Ten Reasons Why Kierkegaard Was a Groundbreaking Philosopher Who Still Has Much to Say to Us Today" to the Fall Semester Honors Seminar at the Stamford Campus (September, 2004).

Don Baxter presented "Hume's Theory of Space and Time in its Skeptical Context" at the Second Biennial Margaret Dauler Wilson Conference in Grafton, VT, June 2004.

For UConn's "Family Weekend", Tom Bontly was asked to give a talk on "Population and the Prisoner's Dilemma" (although unlike the situation globally, Tom admits, his audience could have grown considerably without exceeding the carrying capacity of the lecture hall.)

In May, Margaret Gilbert was an invited speaker at an interdisciplinary workshop on rationality and coordination at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. (Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen gave the keynote.)  In June, she gave an invited talk at a Leipzig University conference on "holistic" epistemology.  (As it happens, Ruth Millikan appeared on the same program, a pleasant first for the two colleagues.)  In mid-August, Margaret gave a plenary session talk entitled "Shared Values and Social Unity" at the annual Wittgenstein conference in Kirchberg, Austria.  In October, she traveled to West Point to give a talk entitled "Authority and Practical Reasoning" at the United States Military Academy.

Len Krimerman traveled to Minneapolis in May 2004 to help create the first-ever National Federation of Worker Cooperatives and Democratic Workplaces.  While there, he also spoke on "Inter-cooperation between Worker Cooperatives and Other Civil Society Anti-globalization and Social Justice Groups".  In July, just before the Democratic National Convention, Len participated in the first Boston Social Forum, a 3-day festive conference patterned on the World Social Forum, with an attendance of some 10,000 people.  Len was on a panel entitled "Where Do We Go after This Forum: Next Steps?".  In October, he co-presented in a workshop at the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference in Denver. That workshop, run as a study group session, will focus on (a) why longer range, enduring, and macro-level change towards more genuine and more robust forms of democracy does not often accompany positive changes in individual attitudes and beliefs, and (b) how the dialogue and deliberation community could turn that situation around.

In late September, Michael Lynch gave a talk on "Truth, Power, and Democracy" at the College of DuPage in Chicago (as part of their series Double Think on George Orwell's 1984).  In October, he spoke on the same subject at the University of Virginia, at a forum co-sponsored by the philosophy and politics departments.

Diana Meyers presented "Who Acts? Reflections on Identity, Selfhood, and Autonomous Agents" at a philosophy department colloquium at York University in Toronto in September 2004.  While there, she also participated in a successful dissertation defense on feminist psychotherapyand in the subsequent celebration at a Turkish restaurant.  Diana served as outside reader on the dissertation, Almost Emancipation: Autonomy, Politics, and Feminist Psychotherapy by Denise May Wales.

Over the summer months, Ruth Millikan delivered 16 lectures on a variety of topics at universities throughout Europe, including Bucharest, Warsaw, Torun, Oxford, Open University UK, London, Konstanz, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Nijmegen, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Helsinki.  Among them was the event which the English call "The Jacobsen", a once yearly lecture open to the public at the University of London.  The titles of her included "Why Conceptual Analysis Does Not Yield A Priori Knowledge", "How Children Learn Language without Having a Theory of Mind", and "IntenSionality".

 

Works Forthcoming and in Progress: 

Susan Leigh Anderson wrote an essay on "Mill's Life", which shall appear in Blackwell's Guide to Mills Utilitarianism, edited by Henry West.

JC Beall is trying to finish his monograph on truth and falsity (under contract with Oxford University Press) and finish up other forthcoming but dangerously close to overdue projects. He has also been invited to give a few talks (one at Albany, one at Notre Dame) which he hopes to use as sounding boards for some of said projects. Details of publications and the like will appear in a future issue of Cogitamus.

Paul Bloomfield reports that his paper "Let's Be Realistic About Serious Metaphysics" is forthcoming in Synthese.  In addition, his piece "Opening Questions, Following Rules" will soon appear in Metaethics after Moore, which is being edited by Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons for Oxford University Press.

Tom Bontly's paper "What is an Empirical Analysis of Causation?" will soon be published in Synthese.  This fall, Tom wrote a review of Stephen Schiffer's latest (The Things We Mean) for the Review of Metaphysics.  He also spent many enjoyable but ultimately futile hours in October volunteering for the Kerry campaign in New Hampshire.

Austen Clark's piece "Perception Preattentive and Phenomenal" will appear in the forthcoming Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science (edited by Paul Thagard). And his paper "Painfulness Is Not a Quale" is included in the forthcoming Consciousness and Emotion, Special Yearbook 2005, On the Nature of Pain and the Methodology of its Study, edited by Murat Aydede.

Tim Elder wrote a review of Tim Lewens' Organisms and Artifacts which will soon appear in the American Journal of Psychology.  He also found himself reading Amie Thomasson's new book manuscript Ordinary Objects not once but twice: once in May, because they work on similar topics and she was kind enough to send it to him, and again in August when a major publisher asked him to review it.  Over the summer, Tim wrote a paper, fixed up two others to please editors, and did some refereeing for the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Len Krimerman's paper "Two Cheers for Experimental Pluralism, Another for Education-Shaped Democracy" will be appearing in a special issue of the Radical Philosophy Journal next Spring.  And his paper "Building the Road Takes More than Walking, A New Democratic Theory and the Problem of Marginality" will be published in December in a special issue of Humanity and Society, the journal of the Association for Humanist Sociology.

           Len has also initiated a cross-border and cross-disciplinary multi-logue with some 75 people with whom he has worked, played, dialogued, taught, been arrested,, over the past 40 years on the issue, "Can We Find a Way Out of Here?".  About a quarter of the folks contacted have responded so far, and the conversation is still unfolding.  Len also continues to serve as a pro bono consultant to the Swift Waters Artisan Cooperative ("swift waters" is a rough translation of "Willimantic").  The co-op will be opening its own store on a full-time basis in November, in the beautiful arts and entertainment section of Main Street, Willimantic (next to the new magnet performing arts school, across from library.)

Ruth Millikan reports that her next book, Language:  A Biological Model, goes to press this month with Oxford.

 

Graduate Program News

Publications:

Patrick Fleming's paper "Kant and Strawson on the Objectivity Thesis" will be published in the Fall 2004 issue of Idealistic Studies, while his paper "The Indeterminacy of Desire and Practical Reason" will be appearing in an anthology entitled Values, Rational Choice, and the Will, edited by David K. Chan.

Lynn Mardon and Steven Todd are co-authors (with Haluk Ogmen and Bruno Breitmeyer) of "Double Dissociation in Target Recovery:  Effect of Contrast", appearing in the Journal of Vision (vol. 4, no. 8) in August, 2004.  This work was supported by NSF grant BCS-0114533 and NIH grant R01-MH49892.

 

Presentations:

In August, Adam Potthast and Chris Panza (UConn Ph.D. 2002) spoke at the American Association of Philosophy Teachers Conference on the use of internet technology in philosophy courses.

Lynn Mardon gave a talk entitled "Vague Kinds" at the Northeast Ecology and Evolution Conference (NEEC) at UConn (March 2004), and she spoke on "Texas Family Code 153.001: The Hidden Holocaust" at the XI Symposium of International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh) in Gvteborg, Sweden (June 2004).

In July 2004, Steven Todd gave a talk at the First Joint Conference of the Society for Philosophy & Psychology and the European Society for Philosophy & Psychology, held in Barcelona, Spain.  His paper was "Unmasking Multiple Drafts:  a case study demonstrating the impact of empirical data on theories of consciousness".

 

Alumni News:

John Albanese (MA in Philosophy '88 and MA in Medieval Studies '90) was appointed Director of the Full-Time Honors MBA Program at Baruch College - City University of New York in January 2004.  John has been living and working in New York for about 5 1/2 years, prior to which he worked with Doctors Without Borders and Gay Men's Health Crisis.  From 1990 to '96 he was at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Andy Beedle (PhD, 1994) reports that his business ventureabeedle.comcontinues to grow.  The company does marketing for colleges and universities all over the country, helping them to reach and recruit prospective students mostly through email and the web.  Currently, abeedle.com has about 50 clients and has worked with such institutions as the University of Chicago, Oberlin College, and Columbia University's School of Business.  Abeedle.com's main office is in Roanoke, VA, although Andy reports that his work leads him to spend an inordinate amount of time travelling.

Margaret Gilbert writes that she was pleased to see William Cornwell, a recent U. Conn. Ph. D., at the Wittgenstein conference in Kirchberg. William was presenting a paper at that conference. He continues to teach philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has developed an interest in just war theory and recently gave a paper on the topic at a conference in Scotland.

And the best news of all:  Jay Mullen (MA 2002) and his wife Amy report that their son James Nicholas Mullen III ("Trey") was born on Monday May 17th at 2:23am.  At birth, Trey weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 1/2 inches.  All three are doing very well.

 

 

Faculty Profile:

 

Hello to Dan Ryder (by Margaret Gilbert)

This year the department enthusiastically welcomes Dan Ryder (with Zena and Ben) as an Assistant Professor. Dan comes to us from Indiana University where he was a postdoctoral fellow in philosophy and cognitive science.

Mostly, and impressively, Dan's degrees come in twos. He has a BSc. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology as well as a BA in Philosophy from the University of Calgary.  He has an MA in Philosophy and Neuroscience from the University of Calgary and an MA in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  His philosophy Ph.D. ---- dissertation title "Neurosemantics: a theory" --- is also from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dan must like places that begin with a "C".

Dan has given at least 23 public presentations on his work at conferences and in university departments. He has won numerous awards and honors and has nine publications in the form of articles or reviews to his credit. One monograph and two edited collections are in progress, along with many further articles. Those who suffer from qualophilia may want to hurry Dan on one of these articles: "Therapy for qualophilia: explaining 'inhereness'."

One of Dan's articles in progress is co-authored with Zena Ryder, who is also a philosopher. She is currently working on a doctoral dissertation (on consciousness), with Bill Lycan and Keith Simmons as co-supervisors.  She did her undergraduate work at King's College London, and has a BPhil from Oxford.

Dan was born in Calgary, a rare third generation Calgarian on both sides. He became interested in philosophy while at high school, in the International Baccalaureate program where they had a once-a-week philosophy course called "Theory of Knowledge".  He became immediately hooked, but didn't think it was really possible to make a career out of it.  So he embarked on the pre-med route at the University of Calgary.  He soon succumbed to temptation, though, and added philosophy as a second major. He discovered that his real interest in biology was in neuroscience... which was really an interest in the mind-body problem.  

While at the University of North Carolina he pursued these interests. It was there that he met Oleg Favorov, a theoretically-minded neuroscientist.  Together, they worked out the beginnings of a theory of how the cerebral cortex works (the SINBAD theory).  This theory formed the foundation for Dans dissertation work on intentionality, and he continues to work with Oleg on SINBAD-related issues.

Dan and Zena were married in December 1999, up in the mountains at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada.  They moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 2002 for Dan's two-year postdoctoral fellowship in philosophy and cognitive science at Indiana University. He got to know lots of people in the cognitive sciences there through running a general cognitive science reading group (something he'd like to try at UConn in the near future).  He also made significant progress in turning his dissertation into a book.  Their son Ben was born in July 2003.

A Canadian who played the game when he was younger, Dan is now an avid hockey fan. Before Ben was born, his reference date for events was 1989, when the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup.  Some other habits acquired early include piano and tennis.  (Dan has a degree in Piano Performance, and says he has "a low degree of tennis performance.")  He is also very keen on Roman history.  Suffice it to say that these pursuits have been taking a back seat since his new reference date for events.  As Dan says, he hopes to take up these interests again "just as soon as I have learned to cope with parenthood.  Or as soon as I have learned to cope with not having learned to cope with parenthood."

We are sure that he will do one of these things, and, in any case, we look forward to many philosophical conversations, not to speak of piano recitals and possible games of tennis, with our new colleague.

 

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 at our Colloqium Series page.

 

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.