C O G I T A M U S
The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. VIII, No. 2: October 2005
This issue edited by: Margaret Gilbert and Dan Ryder
Designer: Shelly Burelle
Welcome to the 23rd issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of May 1, 2005 - September 30, 2005.
Highlights: Feature article on Serena (Parekh, not Williams), new grad student details, JC gives up on paraconsistency, and an impressive line-up of colloquium speakers. (Well, actually, we made one of those up, but you'll have to read through to the end to find out which one.)
New Faculty Members:
A warm welcome to Lionel Shapiro and Serena Parekh! Serena is profiled in this issue, and Lionel will receive the same attention in the next. (Briefly: Lionel comes to us from Berkeley, where he had a visiting appointment last year, after having received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2004. He specializes in the philosophy of language and mind, philosophical logic, and early modern philosophy. Publications include "The Rationale Behind Revision-Rule Semantics" in Philosophical Studies (forthcoming), "Brandom on the Normativity of Meaning" in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2004), and "Toward 'Perfect Collections of Properties': Locke on the Constitution of Substantial Sorts" in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy (1999).)
- Warm wishes to John Troyer for a speedy recovery from his recent heart bypass surgery. He intends to teach in spring 2006, and is working hard on the treadmill to achieve this end!
- Tom Bontly married Allison Nicole Ponce on June 25, 2005, in Northeast Harbor, ME. By all accounts it was a beautiful ceremony.
- Lionel Shapiro and his partner, Elizabeth Jockusch, bought a house this summer in Storrs.
- Don't forget the Department's reception at the Eastern APA in New York City, to be held on December 28th (details TBA - check with Tom Bontly).
- JC Beall writes: "I am currently in discussion with Reed Solomon, a logician in the Math Department; we are trying to put together an official connection with the logicians from mathematics and the philosophical logicians from the philosophy department. We are lucky to be at a university where the math department takes logic seriously. The aim is to make use of the interdisciplinary connections, both for the sake of research and, equally importantly, for the sake of students (both graduate and undergraduate). Already, a handful (Nhat Long Vu, Colin Caret, Colena Sesanker, David Capps, and Daniel Massey) are taking various maths courses. The hope is to further connect the relevant streams." Please contact JC if you are interested in participating.
Colloquia this term:
- Date: September 9, at 4 pm
Speaker: Peter van Inwagen, John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy (University of Notre Dame)
Topic: "McGinn on Existence"
Place: DRM, Family Studies Building, Room 25
- Date: September 23, at 4 pm
Speaker: Jamie Dreier (Brown)
Topic: "Negation for Expressivists"
Place: Family Studies, Room 216
- Date: November 11, at 4 pm
Speaker: Jonathan Schaffer (UMass)
Place: Manchester Hall, Room 227
Honors and Awards:
- JC Beall has been named an Associate Fellow of Arche (University of St. Andrews).
- Margaret Gilbert has been awarded a Chancellor's Fellowship for spring 2006 to work on a monograph on the nature of rights.
- Serena Parekh received the Ernest Fortin Memorial Grant for summer research (involving two weeks spent at the Center for Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham).
- Susan Anderson published "The Current Crisis in American Morality: How Big Business Has Contributed to, and Ought to Address, the Crisis" in Essays in Philosophy, Vol. 6, no. 2 (June, 2005).
- Paul Bloomfield's paper "Let's Be Realistic About Serious Metaphysics" appeared in a summer issue of Synthese (vol. 144).
- JC Beall writes: "The Law of Non-Contradiction, co-edited with Graham Priest, has finally appeared with Oxford University Press. (Find it. Buy it. Study it.)" The volume contains JC's articles "At the intersection of truth and falsity" and "True and False -- As If".
- Tom Bontly has recently published four papers: "Modified Occam's Razor: Semantics, Pragmatics, and Parsimony" in Mind and Language 20(3), pp. 288-312 (June 2005); "Conversational Implicature and the Referential Use of Descriptions" in Philosophical Studies 125(1), pp. 1-25 (July 2005); "Proportionality, Causation, and Exclusion" in Philosophia 32(1-4), pp. 331-348 (May 2005); and "Review of Stephen Schiffer's The Things We Mean" in the June 2005 issue of Review of Metaphysics.
- Margaret Gilbert's "Corporate Misbehavior and Collective Values" has come out in the Brooklyn Law Review. In addition, her "Shared Values and Social Unity" has appeared in Experience and Analysis: Proceedings of the 27th International Wittgenstein-Symposium Kirchberg am Wechsel. (This conference took place in Vienna, Austria in 2004.)
- Len Krimerman's "A New Democratic Theory and the Problem of Marginality" has been published in Humanity and Society 28(3).
- Joel Kupperman has had three articles appear in print recently: 'A New Look at the Logic of the 'Is'-'Ought' Relation" in Philosophy 80 (July 2005), 345-61; 'Morality, Ethics, and Wisdom' in Handbook of Wisdom: Psychological Perspectives, eds. Robert Sternberg and Jennifer Jordan (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 245-71; and 'How Not to Educate Character', in Character Psychology and Character Education, eds. Daniel Lapsley and F. Clark Power (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 201-17.
- The Bradford Books paperback edition of Michael Lynch's True to Life has come out - including a second printing already! In Philosophical Books 46(4), there is a symposium on the book, including Michael's replies (see below in "Responses to our work"), and his 'Alethic Functionalism and our Folk Theory of Truth' has appeared in May's issue of Synthese (145(1):29-43).
- Diana Tietjens Meyers' Introduction for the symposium, "Women Philosophers, Sidelined Challenges, and Professional Philosophy" has appeared in Hypatia 20 (3), 2005. The symposium includes papers by Charles Long, Eileen O'Neill, Virginia Valian, and Margaret Walker. Also, "Who's There? Selfhood, Self-Regard, and Social Relations" has been published by the same journal, in a special issue devoted to Analytic Feminism, edited by Anita Superson and Samantha Brennan, 20(4).
- Ruth Millikan's book Language: A Biological Model has come out with Oxford University Press, and "Why (Most) Concepts are not Categories" has finally appeared in English (the Spanish translation has been out for several years already) in Henri Cohen and Claire Lefebvre eds., Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science (Elsevier 2005).
- In August, Susan Anderson presented "Developing a Computable Decision Procedure for an Ethical Theory with Multiple Prima Facie Duties" (with Michael Anderson) at the 17th International Conference on Systems Research,
Informatics and Cybernetics, for a special focus symposium on Cognitive,
Emotive and Ethical Aspects of Decision Making in humans and in AI (Baden-Baden,
- JC Beall gave numerous talks in the past few months, including "Truth and truth-preservation" and "True, false, and paranormal", both at St. Andrews, "Gaps and Gluts" at Smith College, "Beyond true and false" at the University of Notre Dame, and "Excluded Middle and Non-Contraction" at SUNY Albany.
- In July, Don Baxter commented on a paper by Graciela De Pierris (Stanford) entitled 'Hume and Descartes on Scepticism with Regard to Demonstrative Reason' at the 32nd International Hume Conference in Toronto.
- Paul Bloomfield chaired a session at the 2nd Annual Metaethics Workshop in Madison (Sept. 15-18). Unusually, chairs were selected by referees! On the basis of nearly 100 submissions, 10 people were chosen to chair, and another 10 to present papers.
- Margaret Gilbert gave seven talks during her trip to Europe in late May and early June, including: "Reconciling Groups: the Role of Collective Remorse" at the University of Konstanz for the international interdisciplinary conference on "Rituals of Reconciliation"; "Rationality in Collective Action" at Oxford, the University of Zurich, the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), and Frankfurt University; a seminar on promising at the University of Zurich; "Political Obligation" at the University of Munich; and "Three Dogmas about Promising" at the Oxford-Scandinavia Ethics Summit. She would have given even more talks during her travels, if only there were more hours in a day; as it is, though, she regretfully had to turn down some invitations.
- On July 15th, Len Krimerman gave an invited talk at Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy (Southern New Hampshire University), on developing college course materials on economic and workplace alternatives. He was also interviewed twice on WHUS radio, on June 6th and August 4th. The subject for these interviews was "positive news".
- Joel Kupperman reluctantly agreed to travel all the way to forbidding Honolulu in order to deliver "Facts and Values in the Analects" on June 8th, for the 9th East-West Philosophers' Conference. He also presented "Confucian Leadership" on June 18th at the University of Toronto for the Shibusawa Seminar held there.
- Michael Lynch gave two invited talks at the Arche Center for Metaphysics, St. Andrews: "Truth as Many or Truth as One" on July 26, and "Truth as Many and One" on July 27. He also gave comments on a Zombies paper by Henry Jacoby at the annual meeting of The Society for Philosophy and Psychology. Michael was interviewed about his book True to Life on NPR's "Odyssey" and "On Point", as well as WNYC's "Brian Lehrer Show". In May, he also delivered a public lecture called "The Importance of Truth" to the Society for Secular Humanism in New York City.
- Diana Tietjens Meyers presented "Psychocorporeal Practical Intelligence and Adaptive Agency" for the Bioethics Research Group at Groningen University Medical School (June 16), at a conference on The Politics of Bodies and Spaces, Radboud University, Nijmegen (June 17-18), and for the Canadian division of the Society for Women in Philosophy at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Sept. 30-Oct. 2). She also gave a masterclass on PhD Research Problems in Feminist Bioethics at Groningen University Medical School (June 15).
- Ruth Millikan delivered "A Biological Model for Linguistic Function" for the conference "The concept of function in biology and language," in Catania, Italy, on May 21-23; "Why Conceptual Analysis doesn't yield A priori Knowledge" for The Jowett Society, in Oxford on May 27; "How Children Learn Language without having a Theory of Mind" for the conference "Origins of Reference," in Barcelona on June 2; and "Where Meaning is, since not in the Head," at the University of North Carolina on Sept 2, after which she broke her hip (strenuous discussion!). She writes: "I am already mostly walking on two legs again. North Carolina should know they can't keep me down!"
- On April 30th in Oxford, Dan Ryder gave a talk called "A neuroscience-based solution to the distality problem for naturalistic theories of intentionality" at the Conference in Philosophy of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology, and in June he was the commentator on Gualtiero Piccinini and Sam Scott's "Splitting Concepts" at the annual meeting of The Society for Philosophy and Psychology at Wake Forest University, NC.
- Susan Anderson's "Kierkegaard's Solutions to Three Metaethical Problems," will be appearing in the International Journal of Ethics. Three of her papers will also appear in the proceedings of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence Fall 2005 Symposia, (two in the volume on "Machine Ethics", and one in the volume on "Caring Machines: AI in Eldercare") - see below under "Upcoming Presentations" for the details.
- Oxford University Press will soon release JC Beall's monograph Logical Pluralism (co-authored with Greg Restall), as well as the volume Deflationism and Paradox, which JC edited with B. Armour-Garb. JC's article "Transparent Disquotationalism" appears in the latter, and he has three other forthcoming articles: "True, false, and paranormal" in Analysis, "Knowability and paraconsistency" (tentative title), in Joe Salerno, ed., The Knowability Paradox (Oxford: OUP), and "Truth and Paradox -- A Philosophical Sketch", in Dale Jacquette, ed., Philosophy of Logic, volume eleven of the new Philosophy of Science series (Elsevier). [JC notes that this 60 page paper goes deeply against his in-principle practice of short, concise papers. However, it is actually a crunched up version of his forthcoming monograph, Truth and Falsity (OUP)... in other words, try to think if it as a short, concise book!] Finally, the volume of The Monist that JC guest-edited (Truth) is to be published in January.
- Paul Bloomfield has a contract with Oxford University Press for an edited volume entitled Morality and Self Interest. In addition, his "Disagreement About Disagreement", will appear in another OUP volume entitled The Biology and Psychology of Morality, edited by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. The paper is a response to John Doris and Alexandra Plakias's "How to Argue About Disagreement", included in the same volume.
- Austen Clark has entirely rewritten his "Sensory and Perceptual
Consciousness" for publication in Max Velmans and Susan Schneider (eds.), Companion to Consciousness (Blackwell). His "Painfulness is not a quale" will finally appear in Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on Its Nature and the Methodology of Its Study, forthcoming supposedly in fall 2005 from MIT press, and "Perception Preattentive and Phenomenal", will be coming out in the Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science (edited by Paul Thagard), part of a multi-volume Handbook of Philosophy of Science
to be published by Elsevier under the general editorship of Dov
Gabbay, Paul Thagard, and John Woods. In addition, his "Cross Modal Links and Selective Attention" is forthcoming in a volume edited by Fiona MacPherson (Philosophy, Glasgow) and submitted to OUP in June. (Austen presented an earlier version of this paper as a brown bag last year.)
- Crawford (Tim) Elder's "On the Phenomenon of 'Dog-Wise Arrangement'" (which he presented very recently as a brown bag talk) has been accepted for publication at Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
- Joel Kupperman's book Ethics and Qualities of Life is coming out from Oxford University Press. Oxford also invited and has accepted Joel's prospectus for the 2nd edition of Classic Asian Philosophies.
- Margaret Gilbert has a number of forthcoming items to report. First and foremost, her new book A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society is in press with OUP. Her article "Rationality in Collective Action" will appear in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, "Acting together, Joint Commitment, and Obligation" in a collection of invited conference papers, and "Character, Essence, Action: Considerations on Character Traits after Sartre" is to be published in The Pluralist. (Margaret remarks that one major aim of this new journal is to bring together the literatures of analytic and continental philosophy, which this invited article does.) Lastly, a new, invited article on collective belief is being translated into French for publication in an encyclopedia of the social sciences put out by Les Presses Universitaires de France.
- Michael Lynch's article "ReWrighting Pluralism" was accepted for publication in the forthcoming edition of The Monist devoted to truth.
- A Portuguese translation of The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy, edited by Steve McGrade, is in preparation.
- Diana Tietjens Meyers' biographical article, "GEM Anscombe" will be featured in OUP's The Encyclopedia of Women in World History.
- Dan Ryder's "On thinking of kinds: a neuroscientific perspective" will be coming out in Graham Macdonald and David Papineau (eds.) Essays in Teleosemantics, Oxford University Press. Also contributing to the volume are our own Ruth Millikan, as well as Peter Godfrey-Smith, Fred Dretske, and Frank Jackson.
- Lionel Shapiro's "The Rationale Behind Revision-Rule Semantics" is forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.
Responses to our work:
- The fruits of Susan Anderson's NSF grant for the calendar year 2005 will be made manifest at an international symposium she has organized and that she will also be co-chairing. The American Association of Artificial
Intelligence Fall 2005 Symposium on Machine Ethics will take place in Arlington, VA this November. Susan will be presenting three papers: "Asimov's 'Three Laws of Robotics' and Machine Metaethics", "Towards Machine Ethics: Implementing Two Action-Based Ethical Theories", as well as "MedEthEx: Toward a Medical Ethics Advisor" (these last two are co-authored with Michael Anderson and Chris Armen). The "MedEthEx" paper will be presented at a joint session of the Machine Ethics Symposium and another AAAI Symposium on "Caring Machines: AI in Eldercare." All three papers will be published in the conference proceedings.
- JC Beall has a busy speaking schedule this term, with "Truth and paradox" at the University of Richmond, "True, false, and paranormal" at the University of Pittsburgh, "Dtruth and validity" at UMass, Amherst, and "Revenge for dialetheists" at St. Andrews (for a truth-theoretic paradox conference).
- The Schweizerisher Nationalfonds zur Forderung der
Wissenshaftlichen Forschung has invited Austen Clark to participate in a two day international conference entitled "Philosophical
Interpretation of Color Vision Science" organized by Martine
Nida-Rumelin and Juan Suarez at the University of Fribourg in
Fribourg, Switzerland. It will take place on November 4 and 5.
Participants include Kathleen Akins, Gabriele Jordan, John Mollon,
Evan Thompson, and Peter Ross.
- Margaret Gilbert will be delivering "Can a Wise Society be a Free One?" at the Spindel conference, University of Memphis (September 29-October 1). Commentating will be Christopher MacMahon of UCSB.
- Len Krimerman will be giving a talk entitled "The worldwide cooperative movement, and how to become a part of it" at the annual North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) Conference, November 11, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then on November 12, in Montreal, he will be presenting "Why and How Cooperatives Should Seize Political Power" at the annual meeting of the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation. In addition, he has just started to host his own radio show, every 3rd Thursday, from 5-5:30PM, on WHUS; it's called "A Way Out: Finding Public Hope". Len writes: "October's show will feature an interview with Amy Malik of the Study Circle Resource Center in Pomfret, and November's will focus on Omar Freilla of the South Bronx, lead organizer of the newly formed federation of 'green worker co-ops' in that besieged borough."
- Joel Kupperman will be presenting "The Virtue of Virtue Ethics" at the University of Denver, for the Virtue Ethics Conference there on Oct. 8th, as well as "Comparative Philosophy", in Istanbul (at Bogazici University), on Oct. 21st.
- Michael Lynch is giving colloquia talks this semester at Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio), Stirling, and Syracuse, as well as a keynote address at the Workshop on Epistemic Value at the University of Stirling. He is also chairing and facilitating the round table discussion at the Moral Phenomenology Workshop in Arizona in November. (Michael thinks he may be forgetting something. If you know what it is, please notify the editors, and you might consider reminding Michael as well. It could be embarrassing if he forgets to go.)
- Steve McGrade will be presenting "The Ontology and Scope of Human Rights - Forward with Ockham," at the December APA meetings in New York.
- Diana Tietjens Meyers will appear in a documentary film, Wisdom for Life -- A Guided Tour of Western Philosophy, which will air nationally on PBS (probably in January).
- Serena Parekh will be presenting "On the Gap Between Women's Rights and Human Rights" at FEAST (Feminist Ethics and Social Theory) in Clearwater Beach, FL, on October 21st, and "'When the Chips are Down': Arendtian Morality and Human Rights" at a group meeting of the APA Committee on International Cooperation, the Karl Jaspers Society of North America, and the Hannah Arendt Circle during the December APA meetings in New York City.
- Dan Ryder will be part of the colloquium series at Connecticut College this year, giving a talk on "SINBAD and the problem of empty concepts" on Nov. 3rd.
Major new works in progress:
- The chickens are coming home to roost for chair Crawford (Tim) Elder, whose recent book, Real Natures and Familiar Objects (MIT Press), is getting the scrutiny it deserves. A review by Stephen Schwartz is scheduled to appear in the Winter issue of American Journal of Psychology, and there will soon be reviews in Mind and (by Amie Thomasson) in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (exact publication dates to be determined).
- Jacob Lempp has written an article (in German) on Margaret Gilbert's account of political obligation, as expounded in various articles. Margaret also recently discovered a thoughtful discussion relating to On Social Facts by Vincent Descombes, translated from the French.
- Michael Lynch's book True to Life was picked as a New York Times "Editor's pick" this summer. A review of the book appeared in the Sunday New York Times Book Review in July. Also, a symposium on the book, with papers by Marian David, Gila Sher and Matt McGrath (along with Michael's replies), has appeared in Philosophical Books 46(4).
- The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy, edited by Steve McGrade, was reviewed in Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy of America, 80(3) (July 2005):929-31.
- JC Beall and Michael Glanzberg have contracted with Oxford University Press for a monograph entitled Theories of Truth. JC is also working on The Liar's Revenge (an edited volume for the same press), and a volume of The Monist on truth, for which he was recently invited to be guest editor.
- Len Krimerman has completed most of a new book called Dancing Between Anarchy and Government: The Popular Sovereignty State.
- Michael Lynch is working on a new book, tentatively titled Truth as One and Many: A defense of alethic functionalism.
- In early October, Don Baxter finished his two-year stint as Book Review Editor for Hume Studies; he has now been appointed to the APA Eastern Division Advisory Committee to the Program Committee for three years. He would be glad to pass on suggestions, especially concerning sessions in the history of philosophy.
- We miss seeing Anne Hiskes around the department as much as we used to, as she continues to perform her valuable services as Associate Dean.
- In August, Joel Kupperman was in Washington on a panel to select college or non-research university teachers to receive NEH fellowships.
- Ever active, Len Krimerman is serving on the public outreach committee for Economic Human Rights Conference, is acting as pro bono educational consultant to numerous cooperatives and community development initiatives, from Chac Lol (Mayan Mexico) to the Swift Water Artisan Cooperative (Willimantic), and is bringing Avi Lewis, co-producer and co-director of The Take (a documentary on Argentine worker takeovers of abandoned factories), to campus on the 26th and 27th of October.
- Susan Anderson has prepared grant proposals for NIH and NEH (both with her husband, Michael Anderson) as part of the work connected with her NSF grant.
- Austen Clark reports a second adoption of self-paced logic
by former TA's of Philosophy 102: Weimin Sun, at Cal State
Northbridge, has just elected to use the textbook and test bank of
"Philosophy and Logic: A self paced course" for the spring
of 2006. The test bank now includes roughly 180 tests, thirty for
each of six units.
Weimin is the second adoptee;
Chris Panza (at Drury University) has
taught introductory logic in a self paced fashion for a number of
years now. Both order the textbook ($19) from the UConn co-op.
Defenses, Publications, and
- Patrick Fleming (homepage) will be defending his dissertation, "Reasons, Desires, and Ends", on November 10. He is going on the market this year, and we wish him the best of luck (not that he needs it).
Thane Plantikow has published "Genetics, Neuroscience, and Psychiatric Classification" (co-authored with Jason Robert) in Psychopathology 38(4) (July-August), pp. 215-218.
- Steven Todd's paper "Unmasking Multiple Drafts" (which he presented as a brown-bag last term) has been accepted for publication in Philosophical Psychology.
Greetings to Serena Parekh—one of the two new faculty members the department is delighted to welcome this year!
Serena's areas of specialization and competence nicely complement those of existing members of the department. She specializes in social and political philosophy and, with that, has a particular concern with the philosophy of human rights. Indeed, it was that concern that led to her joint appointment in philosophy, on the one hand, and the human rights program, on the other. Her areas of competence include feminist theory, ethics, aesthetics, and continental philosophy. I doubt if many current students, let alone faculty, can remember when we last offered a course in one of the last mentioned fields. So Serena both adds to our existing strengths as a department and extends our range.
Personally I am thrilled that we have another woman faculty member in the department; I hope that this will help to entice many more excellent female students to join us.
Serena received her Ph. D. in philosophy from Boston College on August 30th of this year, for a dissertation entitled "The Phenomenological Analysis of Human Rights in the Work of Hannah Arendt." She had previously obtained an M.A. degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) on a thesis that was also on Arendt. Her B.A. was from McGill (Canada) and she spent her junior year abroad at the University of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom).
She has received many grants and fellowships at different stages of her career, including a teaching excellence award at Boston college. That is good news for our students. Serena has already published several articles including one in the prestigious Journal of Human Rights, last year. She has given many conference and seminar presentations.
Serena has clearly traveled widely, and lived, indeed, in several different countries. This should equip her well for the rowdy cosmopolitanism of the "quiet corner". More seriously, I hope we will all try to help a little to make up for the lack of such rowdiness in these parts, as Serena begins what we trust will be a flourishing career as a philosophy professor.
I asked Serena for some personal news and can now report as follows. A central figure in her life is Oliver, a rottweiler/lab mix with a poignant history. He was rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico by a group that sends stray dogs, after a visit to the vet for shots, to New England where there is—I now gather—a high demand for dogs. Serena and her fiancé Ed (another central figure in her life!) found Oliver in a shelter on Cape Ann.
Ed (McGushin) is also a philosophy professor, at St. Anselm College in Manchester N. H. He specializes in contemporary French philosophy, especially Foucault. Serena adds, intriguingly, that "he is in a rock band and is making a documentary film."
Back to Serena, now, who—when she has any free time—loves the cinema and theater, and also enjoys a good game of bowling. (Any chance of a departmental bowling night? We could consider this.) She loves to cook (especially Indian and Italian dishes), exercises with yoga and kick-boxing, and—perhaps surprising in one from Toronto—has formed a deep attachment to the Boston Red Sox.
We are all looking forward to having Serena as a colleague, and hope that she will find us fun to be with.
—Margaret Gilbert, on behalf of the editors.
New Grad Students
- Aaron Cotnoir is originally from Fayette Maine, a miniscule town about 20 miles west of Augusta. He received his BA in Philosophy from Gordon College, a small liberal arts college on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He studied as a visiting student at Oxford University during 2003-2004. He is interested in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic, specifically sortal predicates, natural kinds, modal issues, and the law of non-contradiction. His extracurricular interests include surfing, wakeboarding, and and cross-country skiing. He has played drums and percussion in various jazz and fusion bands. He has been married to Bethany Menzies Cotnoir, originally from Woodbridge CT, for just over three years. They currently live together in (where else?) Bethany, CT where Aaron's wife is a Kindergarten teacher.
- Alexus McLeod received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, and his M.A. in Philosophy from University of Oklahoma. His primary interest is Chinese philosophy, but he also spends time thinking about early Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics. He has a passion for science fiction and jazz music, as well as his wife Shubhalaxmi.
- Doug Owings hails from Texas, where he received his B.A. in 2004 from Texas Christian University. Doug studied with all four professors of TCU's philosophy department, who did everything they could to convince Doug not to go to graduate school. It was then that Doug knew graduate school was for him. Having developed interests mainly in the philosophy of mind and logic, Doug is also looking forward to learning much about the philosophy of language. When doing his best to forget about philosophy, Doug tries to focus on filmmaking and convincing people to play poker with him.
- Richard W. Slayton (Rick), M.A., M.B.A., CISA, CIA, began his philosophical study at Illinois Wesleyan University, and he entered the UConn philosophy department as a graduate student in 1973. To him, it seems like yesterday that he entered Manchester Hall and sat for his very first class in 227 (he also clearly remembers John Troyer assigning the class approximately 624 pages of Locke for their first weekly reading assignment). By 1975 he had earned an M.A. in Philosophy and had completed most of his Ph.D. coursework. But then . . . one summer he discovered that WHUS in Storrs provided a fine opportunity to launch a career in commercial radio, which resulted in an on-the-air radio career spanning a number of commercial stations, including WHCN, WCCC, and WPLR in New Haven. After realizing just how little money commercial radio could pay, he did a bit of computer programming, and a bit of information technology auditing—well, quite a few years worth, actually: he is now a Certified Information Systems Auditor, a Certified Internal Auditor, an adjunct associate professor in the Accounting Department at Quinnipiac University, and he has recently joined CIGNA to manage the Information Technology Audit function in Bloomfield, CT. Prior to that, he held the title of Senior Reviewer at Citigroup Audit and Risk Review, Investor Services Division, after having been a Senior Programmer Analyst at Aetna. He is the immediate Past President of the 300 + member Greater Hartford Chapter, Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and this year he is serving on the 2006 Program Committee of the North America Computer Audit Control and Security (CACS) Conference (he has been involved with ISACA and CACS in various capacities over the last few years). That's not to say that he hasn't kept his hand in when it comes to philosophy: in his capacity as an adjunct faculty member at Albertus Magnus College, he teaches not only Management Information Systems, but also Business Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy. He is proud now to be enrolled as a graduate student in the Ph.D. program while maintaining his position at CIGNA, where they are supportive of his academic interests and goals. Rick is particularly interested in doing research in philosophy of information and information ethics, but also general ethics and social and political philosophy. He lives in Northford, CT with his wife Carolann and their four kids—John (a freshman at UConn's Greater Hartford Branch), Christine, a junior in high school, Eric, a high school freshman, and Carrie, who is in 6th grade. The kids have seen to it that there are a number of dogs and a cat at home, as well.
- B.J. Strawser obtained a B.A. in History from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001, and an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from Denver Seminary (2004). He is currently an Active Duty as a Captain in the US Air Force, and is at UConn in order to fill the role of Philosophy Instructor at the Air Force Institute of Technology. He has broad research interests, but
tends to get most fired up by metaphysics (primarily ontology and
free will), epistemology (particularly theories of justification), and the relation of both of those first two to ethics. He was a wrestler through his college years and still loves the sport. (No doubt he would be available to sort out any disagreements you may have with journal editors.) He and his wife Abbi are avid backpackers in Colorado's vast and spectacular wilderness. He also plays the guitar and loves good food, good wine, and good times. Currently, however, B.J. and Abbi's lives are primarily consumed with their new found joy, their son Toby, who was born on Father's Day, 2005. (Toby is pictured at the left, preparing to help his dad out with JC Beall and Bas van Fraassen's Possibilities and Paradox.)
- Jeff Wisdom comes to us from Biola in Los Angeles, where he received a B.A. in biblical studies (1999) and an M.A. in philosophy (2001). Among his current philosophical interests are mental representation and mental content, the interplay between one's philosophy of mind and one's metaethics, and the problem(s) of evil and the rationality of religious belief. When he isn't philosophizing, you can often find him playing and/or writing music (for the guitar, bass guitar, or didgeridoo!), camping, or birdwatching. He has been married for a little over two years to the wonderful Angela.
This newsletter was
designed by the Philosophy Department's Program Assistant Shelly
Burelle. Please visit our website at: http://www.philosophy.uconn.edu for miscellaneous
links and colloquium updates.
Any questions or comments should be directed to Shelly at