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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.)

Department News:

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).)

Personal news:


Colloquia this term:

  1. 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

  2. Date: September 23, at 4 pm
    Speaker: Jamie Dreier (Brown)
    Topic: "Negation for Expressivists"
    Place: Family Studies, Room 216

  3. Date: November 11, at 4 pm
    Speaker: Jonathan Schaffer (UMass)
    Topic: TBA
    Place: Manchester Hall, Room 227


Honors and Awards:



Forthcoming Publications: Upcoming Presentations: Responses to our work: Major new works in progress: Notable service: Miscellaneous:

Graduate Program News

Defenses, Publications, and Talks:


New Faculty

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

This newsletter was designed by the Philosophy Department's Program Assistant Shelly Burelle. Please visit our website at: for miscellaneous links and colloquium updates.

Any questions or comments should be directed to Shelly at