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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. IX, No. 1: May 2006

This issue edited by: Dan Ryder and Lionel Shapiro

Designer: Shelly Burelle

Welcome to the 24th issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of Oct. 1, 2005 - Apr. 30, 2006.

Highlights: Tenure, births, a marriage... what more could you want? Perhaps a gripping feature article on Lionel Shapiro?

Department News:

First, a special congratulations to Paul Bloomfield on receiving his tenure and promotion to Associate Professor!


Personal News:

Michael Lynch writes: "The big news is obviously the birth of my daughter, Kathleen Mary Lynch, born on March 5th, 2006. Sadly, my mother, Mary Lynch, died on the very same day. Terry and I are therefore doubly glad to have Katie in our life and can report that she has a wonderful laugh."

Serena Parekh and Edward McGushin's wedding ceremony will be taking place on June 3, 2006 in Middleburg, Virginia. [Well, took place - sorry we're a bit late with this issue. --Eds.]

Andrea Purton and husband Court Ashbaugh are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Sylvan Jon Ashbaugh, on April 24. All are happy and well, and off to beautiful British Columbia to live near family for a while.

On behalf of the department, a hearty congratulations to Michael, Serena, and Andrea!

Colloquia last term:

February 10th, Alex Byrne (MIT): "Either/Or: Disjunctivism for Dummies"

February 17th, Alvin Goldman (Rutgers): "Philosophical Intuitions"

February 24th, Tom Polger (Cincinnati): "A Posteriori Physicalism"

March 24th, Ruth Chang (Rutgers University): "Making Up Reasons of Love" (Parcells Lecture)

April 6, Carrie Jenkins (University of St. Andrews): "Experience, Concepts, and Modal Knowledge"

April 7th-9th: Conference on Conditionals, featuring William Lycan, Gunnar Björnsson, David Sanford, Dorothy Edgington, Kai von Fintel, Stefan Kaufmann, Daniel Nolan, and Brian Weatherson. Thanks to grad students Brian Leahy and Franklin Scott for putting together this splendid conference. To quote Bill Lycan: "The conference was fantastic, the best conference on any topic I've been to since Cancun in 1995. Your boys Brian and Franklin deserve enormous credit." (Perhaps if Bill had stayed to the end of the party, we would have surpassed even Cancun in his opinion.) Dorothy Edgington expressed similar sentiments. Congratulations, guys! Thanks also to Sam Wheeler, whose 2003 seminar on conditionals (which he described as "the blind leading the blind") provided the impetus for the conference.

April 21st, Elizabeth Ashford (St. Andrews/Harvard): "The inadequacy of our conception of human rights"


Honors and Awards:


Susan Anderson has had four papers appear in print: "Mill's Life," in The Blackwell Guide to Mill's Utilitarianism, ed. Henry West (Blackwell, 2006); "Asimov's 'Three Laws of Robotics' and Machine Metaethics," and "Toward Machine Ethics: Implementing Two Action-Based Ethical Theories," (with M. Anderson and C. Armen), both in Proceedings of the AAAI Fall Symposium on Machine Ethics (Nov. 2005) (which she also co-edited); and "MedEthEx: Toward a Medical Ethics Advisor," (with M. Anderson and C. Armen), Proceedings of the AAAI Fall 2005 Symposium on Caring Machines: AI in Eldercare (Nov. 2005). In addition, Susan has published a technical report "Machine Ethics," (with M. Anderson), Report of the AAAI Fall 2005 Symposium on Machine Ethics, Artificial Intelligence Magazine (2005).

Don Baxter's "Identity, Continued Existence, and the External World" has appeared in The Blackwell Guide to Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. by Saul Traiger (Blackwell, 2006), pp. 114-132.

Austen Clark published "Attention and Inscrutability: A Commentary on John Campbell's Reference and Consciousness" in Philosophical Studies (Jan. 2006), pp. 167-193.

Crawford (Tim) Elder's "Conventionalism and Realism-Imitating Counterfactuals" has appeared in Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2006), pp. 1-15.

Margaret Gilbert's book A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society, is due out from Oxford University Press (May 4th in the UK, sometime in July in the US). You can find details and a sample on the OUP website. Her paper "Rationality in Collective Action" has appeared in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, vol. 36, no. 1 (2006), pp 3-17, and "Character, Essence, Action: Considerations on Character Traits after Sartre," can be found in vol. 1, no. 1 (2006), pp. 40-52 of a new journal, The Pluralist, intended to bring together analytic and continental approaches to philosophy.

Joel Kupperman's book Six Myths About the Good Life: Thinking About What Has Value has just been published by Hackett. In addition, "The Epistemology of Non-Instrumental Value" has finally appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, a year later than its official publication date (May 2005, pp. 659-680).

Michael Lynch's "ReWrighting Pluralism" has come out in the January 2006 issue of the Monist.

Ruth Millikan has recently published two papers: "Styles of Rationality," in Rationality in Animals, eds. M. Nudds and S. Hurley (Oxford University Press), and "Useless Content," Teleosemantics, eds. G. Macdonald and D. Papineau (Oxford University Press).

Dan Ryder also has a paper in Macdonald and Papineau's OUP Teleosemantics volume, entitled "On thinking of kinds: a neuroscientific perspective."

John Troyer's review of Moral Animals by Catherine Wilson appeared in Philosophical Books, April 2006.

Sam Wheeler published “Davidson as Derridean: Analytic Philosophy as Deconstruction,” in Cardozo Law Review 27 (Nov. 2005), pp.567-585.


In November, Susan Anderson gave three talks as part of the AAAI Fall Symposium Series in Arlington, VA. All three were published in the conference proceedings (see above for details). Susan also chaired a panel session (including Sherry Turkle of MIT) on "Ethical Issues in Eldercare Technologies" at the same conference, and gave presentations as both chair and panelist (with John Perry, Ken Taylor and Gregory Pence) of a Special Session: Workshop on Reaching the Public through Print and Broadcast Media, at the APA Pacific Division Meeting in Portland, OR (March).

Don Baxter gave a talk entitled "Hume, Distinctions of Reason, and Differential Resemblance" at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (February) and presented "Representing Personal Identity" at the Pacific Division APA, Portland, OR (March).

Tom Bontly presented a paper called "Teleology and the Temporal Orientation of Intentional States" at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology meeting in Charleston, SC (April 14).  He also gave invited comments on Ken Ferguson's "Meaning and Malfunction" at the SSPP, and on Mark Phelan's "The Red Herring of Compositionality and Beyond" at the Pacific APA in Portland, OR (March).

Austen Clark gave two talks during an international conference entitled "Philosophical Interpretation of Color Vision Science" organized by Martine Nida-Rümelin and Juan Suarez at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland (November 4-5). Other participants included Martin Hahn, Gabriele Jordan, John Mollon, and Peter Ross. He presented a commentary on Mohan Matthen's book, Seeing, Doing, and Knowing entitled "Classes of Sensory Classification" at an Author Meets Critics session at Pacific Division APA Meeting in Portland, OR (March). Francis Egan was the other critic. In addition, Austen gave a new paper called "What do feature maps represent?" at a conference on "Early Content" at the University of Maryland (April 21-22). Participants included Fred Dretske, Gabriel Segal, Zenon Pylyshyn, Alva Noë, Pierre Jacob, Peter Carruthers, Joe Levine, Louise Antony, Georges Rey, and our own Dan Blair.

Margaret Gilbert delivered "Three Dogmas about Promises" at the Department of Philosophy, University of California, Irvine (February), as the Zeno lecture at Utrecht University, the Netherlands (March 13), and at the Philosophy Department, University of Texas at Austin (April 24).

Anne Hiskes gave three public lectures in March: "Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design" and "Stem Cell Research: Where Science and Ethics Meet," both at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford, and "Looking for the Philosopher's Stone" (about alchemy, and science/pseudo-science), CLAS Odyssey Day. On May 10, Anne will serve as a panelist at the University of Connecticut Women's Advancement Conference which has the theme of "Leadership."

Michael Lynch gave colloquium talks at Syracuse University, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of Stirling (Scotland), and delivered an invited talk "The Value of Truth and the Truth of Values" at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology in Charleston, SC (April). He presented another invited keynote paper at the workshop on Epistemic Value at Stirling (October).

In April, Diana Meyers delivered "Two Models of Autonomy: The Identity Construction Model Versus the Action Production Model" as an invited paper for the Society for Analytic Feminism in conjunction with Central Division APA, Chicago. She also gave a talk on "Feminism and Women's Autonomy: The Challenge of Female Genital Cutting," UConn Humanities Institute (February).

Ruth Millikan presented "How We Understand Language and How Children Learn It" for the Mind, Brain, Culture and Consciousness Society at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University (November 1); "Defense of the Position That There Is No Misperception--But With a Twist," at the Symposium on the Legacy of J.J. Gibson as part of the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, Boston University (January 30); "Let Me Count the Ways to Tell a Weasel: On Extensional Meanings and Nature's Clumps" at MIT (March 17); "What Do Indexicals Have To Do With the Explanation of Behavior?" as an invited symposium at the Pacific Division APA, Portland, OR (March 26); and "How Children Learn Language Without Having a Theory of Mind" for the workshop "The Role of Intention in Communication," University of Barcelona (April 3). Regarding this last talk, Ruth notes: "Same title and place as my talk last year! Somewhat different talk. Very different international, interdisciplinary audience. Exciting!"

Serena Parekh delivered "When the Chips are Down: Arendt on Morality in Times of Crisis" at the Eastern Division APA, New York (December 27-30) and "On the Gap Between Women's Rights and Human Rights" at FEAST (Feminist Ethics and Social Theory), Clearwater Beach, Florida (January 5-8).

Dan Ryder presented “SINBAD and the problem of empty concepts” at Connecticut College, (Nov. 3), “From Nowhere to Somewhere: Accommodating the empty and the distal in psychosemantics” at the University of Waterloo, ON, Canada (Jan.), and was the commentator on Robert Schroer's “Recognizing the connection between the explanatory gap, transparency, and the ‘recognitional concept strategy’" at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology (Charleston, SC, Apr. 13-15).

Lionel Shapiro presented "Semantics Without Ascent" on April 8 at a conference at the University of Pittsburgh called " Camp Out!" honoring his dissertation advisor Joe Camp (fellow Camp student Don Baxter chaired the session).

Forthcoming Publications:

Upcoming Presentations:

Susan Anderson will deliver a plenary address on "Computing Ethics" (with M. Anderson) at the Computers and Philosophy International Conference, Laval, France (May). She will also give the invited presentation "Computing an Ethical Theory with Multiple Prima Facie Duties" (with M. Anderson) at the Tenth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, Indiana University (June) and present "MedEthEx: A Prototype Medical Ethics Advisor" (with M. Anderson) at the Eighteenth Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Boston, MA (August).

Margaret Gilbert will be an invited participant at a workshop on shared intention at Princeton University (late May), an invited speaker at a conference on Mutual Recognition in Helsinki (August), and keynote speaker at a conference on Collective Intentionality (with special reference to collective responsibility), also in Helsinki (August).

In June, Michael Lynch will give an invited talk in Nancy (France) at a conference on Antirealism(s) in Logic and Metaphysics.

Diana Meyers will present "Embodied Practical Intelligence" as an invited paper at the Eastern Division APA, Washington, DC (December). She will also give a plenary address at the November meeting of the New Jersey Philosophical Association.

This coming summer, Ruth Millikan will be giving a number of lectures in Australia, including The Jack Smart Lecture in Canberra (July 13) and a lecture on indexicals and demonstratives as keynote speaker for the Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference (July 4).

Lionel Shapiro will give a talk called "Naive Truth-Conditions and Meaning" at the International Symposium Logica 2006 organized by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (June).

Responses to our work:

Reviews of Crawford (Tim) Elder's book Real Natures and Familiar Objects (MIT Press, 2004) have appeared in Philosophical Quarterly 35 (2005), pp. 670-72 and Mind 115 (2006), pp. 149-52.

A number of recent articles focus on Margaret Gilbert's work: Joseph D. Lewandowski, "What Makes a Fact Social? On the Embeddedness of Social Action," in Existentia: an International Journal of Philosophy 12 (2002); Talbot M. Brewer, "Two Kinds of Commitments (And Two Kinds of Social Groups)," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2003), especially Part VII entitled "Gilbert's Theory of Social Groups"; John Davis, "Complex Economic Systems: Using Collective Intentionality Analysis to Explain Individual Identity in Networks," Revue de Philosophie Economique (2004); Kenneth Shockley, "The Conundrum of Collective Commitment," Social Theory and Practice 30 (2004); and Seumas Miller and Pekka Makkela, "The Collectivist Approach to Collective Moral Responsibility," Metaphilosophy 36 (2005).

Michael Lynch's book True to Life (MIT Press, 2004) has been reviewed in Philosophy, Philosophical Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics and received a short notice in the Washington Post.

Two of Ruth Millikan's recent books are the subjects of forthcoming multi-author critical reviews, including her précis and replies. A three-author critical review of Language: A Biological Model (Oxford University Press, 2005) will soon appear in the (delayed) May issue (vol. 5, no. 2) of the Italian online forum SWIF, issue editor Marco Mazzone ( In preparation for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research is a four-author critical review of Varieties of Meaning: The Jean Nicod Lectures 2002 (The MIT Press 2004).

Notable Service:

Crawford (Tim) Elder has reported at exhaustive (and, he finds, exhausting) length on three book manuscripts, for Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and the MIT Press.

Anne Hiskes has been appointed recently by Provost Nicholls to a committee that will review Centers and Institutes at the University, and has been asked to serve a two year term on the Humanities Institute Advisory Board. She continues with her work on the NEASC Academic Program Accreditation Committee and on the Women's Center Advisory Board..

Diana Meyers has been elected for a 2-year term as an at-large member of FEAST (Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Thought) Steering Committee starting 1/1/2006.

Margaret Gilbert writes: "I was in Amsterdam as an 'opponent' at a dissertation defense, the title of the dissertation being 'The "We" Perspective.' It was a very formal and quite interesting occasion. Because I had travelled the furthest to get there I had the right to ask the first question!"

Teaching Innovations:

In support of her grant in the Provost's gen-ed course development competition (see above), Anne Hiskes has been selected to participate in a three day workshop on teaching with the case method.

Serena Parekh has developed two new courses: PHIL/HRTS 219: Topics in Philosophy and Human Rights, and POLS 125: Introduction to Human Rights (taught in conjunction with professors from the political science and anthropology departments).

In the Spring term, Dan Ryder (with Whit Tabor, Psychology) inaugurated the COGS designation with COGS 201, Foundations of Cognitive Science. He also implemented electronic personal response systems in his mega. While he recommends the system in principle, he cannot yet do so in practice.


Susan Anderson writes: "One of my students (a Sophomore Philosophy major who will be going to Storrs in the fall), Nikita Shpilberg, received an honorable mention award, and publication in the conference proceedings, for an honors paper he wrote for me that was submitted to the Greater Philadelphia Consortium Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. He also was invited to attend the summer program on Logic and Epistemology to be held at Carnegie-Mellon University. While there, he will also do research on "The Role of Metaphor in Philosophical Logic." I was able to help him secure funding to cover the expenses CMU won't cover, through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund".

Margaret Gilbert writes: "Early in the semester I received the proofs of my book [A Theory of Political Obligation; see above] and set out to read and correct them and to construct an index. Though I had some help with it, this was still an immense job: I undertook to do a fine-grained index of the approximately 300 pages with the mental instructions 'every thought in the book should be represented in the index.' I once read that was the way to do it. It was very time- and mind-consuming but quite a lot of fun!"

Dan Ryder will have four undergraduates working for him on SINBAD-related projects this summer. All of them received Summer Undergraduate Research Fund grants.

Career Developments:

Susan Anderson was invited to become a member of the Technology and Ethics Working Group at Yale University.

Paul Bloomfield 's tenure, of course!

Tom Bontly writes: "I've been on sabbatical this semester, during which time I've been trying to find something useful to say about mental causation and about the mental representation of time. I also managed to work a bit on my skiing."

In October, 2005 Anne Hiskes was appointed by Provost Nicholls and Provost Deckers to the University of Connecticut Stem Cell Research Working Group and charged with overseeing the establishment of policies, procedures, and structures for the bioethical review of all human stem cell research conducted at UConn. Consequently, Anne resigned from her position as Associate Dean in CLAS. (Listen to Anne's podcast , which describes some of the philosophical issues connected with her new position.) In late April the Executive (aka Gladstein) Committee of the Human Rights Institute named Anne Director of the new research program "Science and Human Rights." The program will begin in 2006-07 with a lecture series "Science and Human Dignity" which will bring well-known scholars to campus to speak on the relation between research in the life sciences (e.g. genetics, stem cell research) and concepts of human dignity.

Diana Meyers will be on leave supported by a fellowship in Fall 2006 and on sabbatical in Spring 2007. Diana reports that she has two projects under way: "One is in philosophy of action. It concerns the role of corporeal intelligence in agency/autonomy. The other is in the philosophy of rights. It concerns the problem of translating victims' stories into enforceable human rights norms."

Serena Parekh has been named book review editor of the Journal of Human Rights, which has moved to the University of Connecticut.

Graduate Program News

Honors and Awards:

Brian Leahy was awarded a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Fellowship for the 2006/7 school year. Congrats, Brian!

Defenses, Publications, and Talks:


Jay Mullen (MA, 2002) reports that Brynn Amanda Mullen came into the world at 10:48pm on 1/6/06, weighing in at 7 pounds 10 ounces. Amy and Brynn are doing well (as is big brother Trey). Congratulations, Jay! (Lots of babies around recently, and more to come....)


New Faculty

A warm welcome to Lionel Shapiro, who was appointed Assistant Professor in the Fall. He comes to us from the University of Pittsburgh (PhD April 2004), via Berkeley, where he was a Visiting Lecturer in 2005. Prior to his philosophical studies, he received an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard.. A real polymath, Lionel specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and history of modern, and also has significant expertise in philosophy of logic, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic, philosophy of science, and even ancient philosophy. He has published papers in such venues as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, Kant-Studien, and [a personal favourite --DR] The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, and is the recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including one from the National Science Foundation.

If you don't count second grade (his teacher worried about Lionel's preoccupation with diagramming sentences), Lionel's interest in philosophy can probably be traced to the year he attended tenth grade in Bonn, where he stayed up into the wee hours devouring Plato's Protagoras and Gorgias in Schleiermacher's early 19th century German. His subsequent attempts at Socratic examination of his eleven-year old sister were met with a surprising degree of tolerance, and he was fortunate to attend high school in Urbana, Illinois, where one classmate's 20-year reunion memory was a discussion, in McDonald's, of Epicurus's argument for why we shouldn't fear death. Thus were the seeds sown. At Harvard College, Lionel found himself drawn to foundational questions in math and physics, but the next watershed moment was when he entered Hilary Putnam's class on positivism and its aftermath. Even today, Lionel is often struck by how many of his philosophical interests can be traced back to that experience with Putnam. (Here is how he described to me the thought that hits him: "Oh my god, I'm so back to that." [If you think that doesn't sound like him, you're right. But he said it.]) Many of the threads that run through his work are connected to issues of intentionality, conceptual content, and semantics, as can be seen from the following sample titles: “The Rationale Behind Revision-Rule Semantics,” “Brandom on the Normativity of Meaning,” "'Coordinative Definition’ and Reichenbach’s Semantic Framework: A Reassessment,” “Semantics Without Ascent,” and “Making Sense of Circular Concepts.”

Lionel's long-time partner, Elizabeth Jockusch, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. UConn cannot take any credit for bringing them together; in fact, they have known each other since elementary school! (Though not in the biblical sense, I'm told.) But UConn is the first institution since high school with which they have been simultaneously affiliated, so they feel very fortunate. Lionel and Elizabeth frequently discuss their work with each other, and Lionel tells me that, as long as it isn't too late at night, Elizabeth is astonishingly receptive to hypothetical scenarios. On the other side, Lionel has picked up Elizabeth's habit of looking under logs and rocks during the course of the walk to work, in hopes of observing exciting biological objects or events. (The latest find was a rare species of salamander, particularly exciting since Elizabeth studies salamander speciation.)

Lionel is an avid hiker and enjoys occasional pick-up soccer games, but his main extracurricular passion is for music - in fact, he hopes to find time once again to play the cello in a chamber group. His special affinity for the music of Czech composers eventually led him to spend half a year teaching English in Prague. While he won't say how much English his students learned, Lionel ended up fluent in Czech (after starting from nothing but rather florid operatic archaisms: imagine, in the cafe, "My dearest, wilt thou not bring my desperate heart a cup of coffee?") He came away with a lasting preoccupation with Czech culture (especially literature), supplementing his longstanding interest in things German.

We already know Lionel as a wonderful colleague, and look forward to many more years of the same!

-- Dan Ryder, on behalf of the editors

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