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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol.X, No. 2: February 2008

This issue edited by: Serena Parekh

Designer: Shelly Burelle

Welcome to the 27th issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of September 1, 2007 to February 1, 2008.


Department News:

Tom Bontly and Michael Lynch would like to remind the department that we’ll be hosting a conference next fall, “Naturalized Philosophy of Mind and Language”, in honor of Ruth Millikan (“Ruthfest” for short). The conference will take place Oct 3-4.  Confirmed speakers include Dan Dennett, Chris Hill, Terry Horgan, Karen Neander, Uriah Kriegal, Bill Lycan, and David Papineau. More details will follow in the next few months.

Colin Caret reports that the second annual Yale/UConn Graduate Philosophy Conference was held November 9-10. The conference attracted more than 150 submissions and was held on the UConn campus this year. The final lineup included graduate students from Arche, NYU, the New School, UMass, Temple, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin. Our featured faculty speaker this year was Austen Clark and the keynote speaker was Paul Horwich. The conference was a great success and the organizers look forward to continuing this partnership with the Yale graduate students.

The Department wishes to publicly thank John, Joel, and Don for their leadership in the recent searches.

Comings and Goings:

Paul Bloomfield is still at UCHI finishing up his year there. He has a complete rough draft of the book he’s writing, called A Theory of the Good Life. He writes, “Now, all it needs (I hope) is LOTS of elbow grease!”

Michael Lynch is on a Provost's Fellowship this term. He is writing several articles and starting Faith in Reason (under contract with MIT).

Personal News:

Ruth Millikan writes that she “played the cheerful role of Belle von Zuylen Professor of Humanities at Utrecht University this fall, where I gave a graduate seminar on (Millikan on) Philosophy of Language and where I fell in love with the beautiful old city of Utrecht, cobblestones and bricks and canals and bicycles and almost no cars at all, lovely warm friendly people, students who do ALL the reading (in English, yet already!), and very good philosophers!  (I visited the Belle von Zuylen Castle incognito.)”  

After a 10-year hiatus, Sam Wheeler is once again riding the ambulance in Willington, having been certified as a Medical Response Technician, which he tells us is a sort of Emergency Medical Technician-lite.


Honors and Awards:


Susan Anderson’s "Machine Ethics: Creating an Ethical Intelligent Agent," with Michael Anderson, was featured in the Winter 2007 (Vol. 28, No. 4) issue of AI Magazine, including the cover. She writes, “it is our most complete discussion of this new field of research to date, including a discussion of the importance of machine ethics, the need for machines that represent ethical principles explicitly, and the challenges facing those working on machine ethics. We also give an example of current research in the field [our own] that shows that it is possible, at least in a limited domain, for a machine to abstract an ethical principle from examples of correct ethical judgments and use that principle to guide its own behavior."

JC Beall's significantly revised "Curry's Paradox" is now published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( ). Additionally, JC's "Prolegomenon to Future Revenge" has appeared in the now-on-shelves Revenge of the Liar (OUP), which JC edited; it is available both in hardback and paperback. Two of JC Beall’s recent edited volumes are now out in paperback:  Law of Non-Contradiction (OUP) and Deflationism and Paradox (OUP). JC's monograph with Greg Restall, Logical Pluralism (OUP) is also out in paperback.

Paul Bloomfield’s edited volume, Morality and Self-Interest came out in late November, from Oxford University Press (New York).

Austen Clark’s "Classes of Sensory Classification" appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56(2) (March 2008): 400-406. He also published "Modeling Sensory Awareness", University of British Columbia, 2 November 2007.

Michael Lynch published "A Coherent Moral Relativism" (co-written with our own graduate students Daniel Massey and David Capps) in Synthese, 2007.

 Diana Meyers published “GEM Anscombe” in Encyclopedia of Women in World History, Ed. Bonnie Smith, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Serena Parekh had two articles appear: “When Being Human Isn’t Enough: Reflections on Women’s Human Rights” in Global Ethics: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory edited by Rebecca Whisnant and Peggy Desautels, (Rowman and Littlefield 2007) and “Conscience, Morality and Judgment: An Inquiry into the Subjective Basis of Human Rights” in Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol 31, No 1 (January 2008)

Sam Wheeler had a number of articles appear: “Wahrheit, Metapher, und Unbestimmtheit,” in Zur Metapher, edited by Franz Josef Czernin and Thomas Eder, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007, pp. 93-110; “Quines `Web of Belief’ ausgedehnt und erweitert. Eine Davidson’sche Theorie für Dichterinnen” in Zur Metapher, edited by Franz Josef Czernin and Thomas Eder, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007, p.111-117; and “Wittgenstein as Davidson on Metaphor,” Analysis and Metaphysics 6, December 2007, pp. 102-120.


Forthcoming Publications:

Don Baxter presented "Hume, Distinctions of Reason, and Differential Resemblance” to the Harvard Workshop in Early Modern Philosophy in October, in colloquia at the University of Western Ontario in November, and at the University of Quebec at Montreal in January. He also presented "Elaborating on Hume's Pyrrhonian Empiricism to the Montreal Interuniversity Workshop in the History of Philosophy in January.

JC Beall was one of the 10 invited speakers at the 41st Annual Chapel Hill Philosophy Colloquium (UNC, CH, NC).

Paul Bloomfield presented "Archimedeanism and Why Metaethics Matters" at the 4th Annual Metaethics Workshop in Madison Wisconsin, Sept. 7-9th. Also, Paul tells us that every year the Ayn Rand Society invites a non-member to give comments on the paper delivered at their yearly meeting at the APA, and that this year he was the invitee. He gave his comments which will published in the inaugural edition of the Society's Proceedings, on Irfan Khwaja's paper "The Foundations of Ethics". 

Austen Clark presented "Modeling Sensory Awareness" at the 2007 Yale/UConn Graduate Philosophy Conference, 9 November 2007, Storrs CT. He was selected by the graduate students as the UConn faculty speaker. Austen gave a talk, "From Sensory Appearance to Sensory Awareness" at the University of Toronto, 27 September 2007. The following day he gave a seminar in Mohan Matthen's graduate course.

Tim Elder presented “Against Universal Mereological Composition” at Durham University, UK, 1 November 2007; and “Temporal Counterparts, Modality, and the Place of Minds in Ontology” at University of Leeds, UK, 2 November 2007.

Joel Kupperman presented "Meanings of Life and of Death in Buddhism and Daoism" at the A.P.A., Baltimore, December 28 th, and "Confucian Civility", Conference on Confucianism and Applied Ethics, City University of Hong Kong, Jan. 4th.

Michael Lynch writes, “In one memorable (and exhausting) week last December (9-14) I gave three talks at the University of St. Andrews: ("Alethic and Logical Pluralism"; "Intuitions about Intuitions"; "Epistemic Disagreement") and one talk at the University of Edinburgh ("Epistemic Expressivism"). That was enough.”

Diana Meyers presented “Fractured Self-narratives and Human Rights Norms” at the Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory,” Clearwater Springs FL, Sept. 2007 and Loyola University, Chicago, Philosophy Department, Nov. 2007.

Ruth Millikan gave seven lectures during the reporting period: 1. Belle von Zuylen Professor of Humanities Inaugural lecture, "Learning Language Without Having a Theory of Mind", November 16, Utrecht University; 2. October 13, for the conference "Nature and its Classification," University of Birmingham, "Nature and its Classification Identification" [no. that's not a misprint]  Called a  "keynote lecture".....but there was more than one "keynote lecture"; 3. Oct 19, University of Amsterdam, Cognitive science colloquium, "Acquiring Language Without a Theory of Mind"; 4. Oct 25, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, "Linguistic Conventions that Concern Context."; 5. Oct 30, Netherlands National Doctoral Research Seminar in Analytic Philosophy, Utrecht, "On Knowing the Meaning"; 6. November 1, Queens University, Philosophy Colloquium, Belfast, "On Knowing the Meaning"; 7. Nov 14, Utrecht Philosophy Club, "Purposes and Cross-purposes".

Serena Parekh was invited to presente “Care and Justice in Globalization: A Response to Carol Gould” at the Spindel Conference, University of Memphis, October 19, 2007.

Adam Podlaskowski gave “Rule-Following And Feasible Dispositions” at the Northwest Philosophy Conference - Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR, October 5, 2007 and the Alabama Philosophical Society - Orange Beach, AL, September 21, 2007.

Upcoming Presentations:

Don Baxter has been invited to conduct a Hume class and do a colloquium at Smith College in March.

JC Beall is giving a talk at Yale in a seminar on paradoxes (Mar/April). He is also giving a talk at MIT in a seminar on vagueness (Mar/April) and will be giving talks at St Andrews, Melbourne, and Sydney later this year.

Tom Bontly will be giving a talk at the Pacific APA in Pasadena in March entitled “Psychological Explanation without Mental Quasation”.

Austen Clark will present "Phenomenology and Early Vision" at the Departments of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Center for Rationality, Givat Ram, 20 February 2008; "Phenomenal Character in Unilateral Neglect", Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave, NY, 12 March 2008; "Phenomenal Properties" (tentative title), Rutgers Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science, New Brunswick NJ, 1 May 2008.

Anne Hiskes will present her paper “Venture Smith and Changing Conceptions of the Human and Human Rights” at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic” in July, 2008. She will also present  "Human Rights and the Life Sciences: Changing Conceptions of the Human" in April, 2008 at the Humanities Institute.

Diana Meyers will present “ Victims’ Narratives and Human Rights Norms: Overcoming Empathic Difficulties” at the Law, Culture, and Humanities Conference, San Francisco, March 2008; “Affect, Corporeity, and Practical Intelligence” at the Central Division APA Meetings, April 2008; and "Protesting War after 9/11/2001: Two Artists Confront the ‘War on Terror’” at A Day in the Humanities, at UConn, April 2008

Ruth Millikan has an impressive line up of talks: Three talks at University of California, Irvine, week of March 4; Kline Conference on Ruth Millikan's Philosophy, University of Missouri, March 11-13; Duke University philosophy colloquium, April 18 (TBA); "Indexicals, Demonstratives and the Explanation of Behavior" for the John Perry Conference, Madrid, April 22; Keynote lecture for "The Brussels Workshop on Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models" July 19-20 (TBA); Visitor for the last week of a graduate summer course on Millikan's work, University of Berlin, week of July 21; Five University lectures and one public lecture as the 2008 guest for the Cologne Summer School in Philosophy, week of July 28.  "...50-60 students, post-docs, lecturers and professors from all over the world for one week to intensely discuss with you the main topics of your work. The participants will be selected after a formal application."  She writes, “Back in the fall if I survive!!”

Serena Parekh will present “Liberal Eugenics and the Politics of Life” at the New England Seminar in Continental Philosophy at St Anselm College (Manchester, NH) April 26, 2008.

Lionel Shapiro will present the paper "Revenge and Expression" at the Pacific Division APA, Pasadena (March 20).

Other Presentations:

JC Beall has been asked to give a talk in philosophy of mathematics or philosophy of logic in the mathematics department.

Paul Bloomfield was invited by the undergraduates to be the faculty moderator for the first "Philosophy Cafe" to be held at the end of February. The title of the talk we will have is "Why Be Good?"

Anne Hiskes has given a three part series of talks  “Faith and Trust”, “Faith and Reason”, and “Faith in an Age of Science” at St. Mark Episcopal Church, Storrs (Nov. 11 , Dec. 9, Feb. 10 ). She has also presented “Stem Cell Science, Ethics, and Oversight”, January 16, 2008,  for the  Probus Society, Glastonbury, CT.  

Responses to our work:

JC Beall writes, “Yes, there has been critical responses to papers, but let me highlight one:  Carry Jenkins wrote ‘True, false, paranormal, and designated: a reply to Beall’ (Analysis, 2007) in response to a paper I published in Analysis last year. Our own students, Colin Caret and Aaron Cotnoir, published a very nice response to Jenkins' paper, and their paper will appear in Analysis. The discussion is on a difficult but important topic (viz., revenge and the explanatory value of formal models), and our own Lionel Shapiro has been working on the topic -- though much more generally -- recently. (It's time for a workshop on the topic!)”

Teaching Innovations:

Tom Bontly is team-teaching Foundations of Cognitive Science with Whit Tabor this semester (COGS 201).  (This course was developed originally by Whit and Dan Ryder a couple of years ago.  Whit and Tom are revamping it a bit to make the course satisfy the “Science and Technology” area of the General Education requirements.)  

Tom also reports that the Cognitive Science Program has added a minor in Cognitive Science, which may be of interest to Philosophy majors.

Anne Hiskes and Serena Parekh are co-teaching a new course, "Bioethics and Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspective" for which they received a Provost General Education Course Development Award.

David Lambie reports that he has started using group presentations in his 101 course. Students give a presentation in which they try to relate the free will problem to a practical or moral problem. The goal is to get students to see how philosophical problems can be relevant to their everyday lives.

Notable Service:

Don Baxter is ending his 3-year term on the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Advisory Committee to the Program Committee for History of Modern Philosophy, and beginning a 3-year term on the Advisory Committee for Metaphysics. Don also served as a reader for a dissertation entitled "Hume's Scepticism and Realism: His Two Profound Arguments against the Senses in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding," by Jani Hakkarainen of the University of Tampere in Finland.

Tom Bontly is serving as the Vice President of the UCONN AAUP chapter for the 2007-08 academic year.

Anne Hiskes has been appointed as faculty representative to the Executive Compliance Committee, and to the “Year of Science” Planning Committee by Provost Nicholls.  She has also been appointed to the Advisory Board of the newly established University of Connecticut Stem Cell Institute.  On January 31, 2008 she was a panelist for the program “Leadership Excellence: Transforming Your Career” sponsored by the Provost’s Commission on the Status of Women.  She continues to serve on the Ethics and Law Subcommittee of the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.

Sam Wheeler writes that after six years under the yoke of the editorhood of Public Affairs Quarterly, he is no longer editor. The job has been taken over by Robert Talisse of Vanderbilt University

JC's service to the university and community is classified.

Major Work in Progress:

After a rather unfortunate turn of events with his monograph Spandrels of Truth (OUP, forthcoming), JC Beall is now turning in earnest to finishing his joint project with Michael Glanzberg, namely, Theories of Truth (OUP, forthcoming).

Joel Kupperman has a new book in progress, The Ethics of Human Imperfection

Career Developments:

Diana Meyers has been appointed to be Editor of two special issues of Hypatia sponsored by FEAST (Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Thought); the first will appear in Fall 2009, and the other will appear two years later.


Graduate Program News

Honors and Awards:

Steve Todd’s paper "What Psycho-Physics Teaches us about Dretske's 'What Change Blindness teaches about Consciousness'", won a Graduate Student Travel Grant Award from the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SSPP). He will be presenting that paper at the 100th annual SSPP conference to be held this March 20-22 in New Orleans .

Forthcoming Publications:

Colin Caret and Aaron Cotnoir had their paper "True, False, Paranormal, and Designated: A Reply to Jenkins" accepted for publication in Analysis, forthcoming July 2008 (Volume 63 No. 8). Carrie Jenkins responded to this article. Her response will appear in the July 2008 issue as well.

Franklin Scott published a book review of Matthen's Seeing, Doing in Knowing in Philosophical Psychology.

Steve Todd (with Bruno G. Breitmeyer, Tony Ro, and Haluk Ogmen) published "Unconscious Stimulus-Dependent Priming and Conscious, Percept-Dependent Priming with Chromatic Stimuli" in Perception & Psychophysics, 2007, 69 (4), pp. 550 - 557.


Aaron Cotnoir presented his paper "Broad Possibility" at the SUNY Buffalo Graduate logic conference on October 12th.

Brian Leahy presented "Indicative/Subjunctive, Accident/Oversight" to the Atlantic Region Philosopher’s Association at St. Mary's University in Halifax on October 27.

Franklin Scott will be presenting "More than Meets the Eye?" at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology in New Orleans on March 22nd.

Steve Todd will be presenting "What Psycho-Physics Teaches us about Dretske’s 'What Change Blindness Teaches about Consciousness'," at the upcoming 100th annual SSPP conference to be held this March 20-22 in New Orleans.

Dissertation Topics:

Colin Caret writes, “I have drafted a prospectus of my dissertation project on the application and interpretation of non-normal worlds semantics. The aim is to demonstrate the applicability of non-normal worlds semantics to such issues as conventionalism and naive set theory, and to address some of the interpretive difficulties associated with the formal mechanism of non-normal worlds.”

David Lambie writes that his dissertation explores “the way in which biological functioning might provide us with the necessary resources to give an answer to question of what moral properties might be reducible to. Essentially I want to say that a central class of moral properties can be reduced to biological functioning.”

Boram Lee is writing on practical reasoning and contractarian ethics.


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