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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol.XI, No. 1: November 2008

This issue edited by: Steven Wall

Designer: Shelly Burelle

Welcome to the 28th issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of February 2, 2008 to October 8, 2008.


Department News:

This past October the Department hosted a conference in honor of our colleague Ruth Millikan,on Naturalized Philosophy of Mind and Language. In addition to Ruth, speakers included Dan Dennett, Christopher Hill, Terry Horgan, Bill Lycan, David Papineau and Peter Godfrey-Smith. Thanks to all who helped to make this event such a success, and especially to Tom Bontly, Michael Lynch, and Dan Ryder for organizing it.

On May 15-17 2009, the Department will host a workshop on “Truth,” with a special emphasis on pluralism and deflationism. Speakers will include Max Kolbel, Crispin Wright, Van McGee, Marian David, Patrick Greenough, Pascal Engel, Gila Sher and our own JC Beall and Michael Lynch.

JC Beall reports that, despite some major funding issues, the Logic Group ( is going very, very well. The group promises to be a very productive one over the coming months and years.

The annual Yale/UConn graduate philosophy conference will take place next Spring. The contact address for the conference is Contact Jeffrey Wisdom for conference-related inquiries.

Comings and Goings:

After 21 years at the University of Connecticut, Diana Meyers has accepted the Ellacuria Chair in Philosophy at Loyola University, Chicago. This is an endowed chair in the Philosophy Department at Loyola and a significant honor. Although we miss Diana, we are delighted to see her honored in this way and we wish her well in her new position.

Austin Clark was on sabbatical leave in Spring 2008. During this time, he had an appointment as Visiting Professor in Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Lionel Shapiro has been awarded a research fellowship in the Centre for Time of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney (as part of the Centre’s project on the “Pragmatic Foundations of Language and Thought” led by Huw Price.) Lionel will spend the 2009 Spring term and the 2009-10 academic year in Sydney.

Marcus Rossberg has joined the Department. Marcus comes to us from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, where he received his Ph.D. in 2006. Until August 2008, Marcus was a postdoctoral research fellow of the Arche research centre of the University of Saint Andrews. His research interests lie mainly in the philosophy of logic and mathematics, but he is also interested in metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of art and philosophical methodology. Marcus also has joined the UCONN logic group.

Steven Wall has joined the Department. Steven previously taught at Bowling Green State University, where he was an associate professor in the Philosophy Department from Fall 2003. Steven received his D.Phil from Oxford University in 1997. He works primarily in political philosophy, but he also has research interests in ethics and philosophy of law.

Both Marcus and Steven will be profiled in the next issue of Cogitamus.


Personal News:

Serena Parekh gave birth to a baby boy, August Parekh McGushin, on September 17. Serena reports that both she and the baby are healthy and doing well.


Honors and Awards:


Susan Anderson has published “Asimov’s ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ and Machine Metaethics,” in AI & Society, special issue on Ethics and Artificial Agents, April, 2008. She has also published three papers with co-author Michael Anderson: “Ethical Healthcare Agents” in Advanced Computational Intelligence Paradigms in Healthcare-3, Springer, 2008; “EthEl: Toward a Principled Ethical Eldercare Robot” in Proceedings of the Workshop on Robotic Helpers, Third ACM Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 2008; and “Developing a General, Interactive Approach to Codifying Ethical Principles” (with M. Anderson) in Proceedings of the AAAI Workshop on Human Implications of Human-Robot Interaction, Chicago, July 2008.

JC Beal promises to supply these soon. So keep an eye on this Cogitamus volume, which will be updated.

Austin Clark has published “Phenomenal Properties: Some models from Psychology and Philosophy,” Philosophical Issues 18: 404-23 (2008).

Paul Bloomfield has published "The Harm of Immorality,” Ratio, volume XXI, no. 3: 241-59 (September 2008). He also published an opinion piece entitled “Iraq: Beyond What’s Best for Us” in the Hartford Courant on August 3, 2008.

Joel Kupperman’s review of John Kekes’ The Enlargement of Life appeard in the October issue of Mind.

Two papers by Michael Lynch appeared: “Alethic Pluralism, Logical Consequence, and the Universality of Reason,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32: 122-40 (2008) and “How to be a Relativist,” in Truth and Judgment, ed. By P. Nerhot (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2008).

Ruth Millikan has published three new papers: "Embedded Rationality,” in the Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition, Murat Aydede and Philip Robbins eds., Cambridge University Press (2008); "A Difference of Some Consequence between Conventions and Rules" in Convention: an Interdisciplinary Study, Luca Tummolini, editor, Topoi Sept 2008; and “Biosemantics,” for The Oxford Handbook in the Philosophy of Mind, Brian McLaughlin, editor, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2008.

John Troyer published a review of Stephen Mulhall’s Wittgenstein’s Private Language in Philosophical Books (October 2008).

With co-author Lynn Jansen, Steven Wall published “Paternalism and Fairness in Clinical Research,” Bioethics (2008).


Forthcoming Publications:


Susan Anderson was an invited keynote speaker (with Michael Anderson) at the Cognitive Science and Ethics Conference at RPI in April 2008. She presented a paper entitled “Machine Ethics: Creating an Intelligent Ethical Agent.” She presented the same paper as an invited speaker at the Technology and Ethics Working Group at Yale University in May 2008. In addition, Susan was an invited speaker (with Michael Anderson) at the Hartford Ethics Group, Trinity College in September 2008. Due to illness, Susan was unable to present papers at several other events. Michael Anderson presented work on her behalf at these events. These included: “Is Ethics Computable?”, at the 2008 North American Computing and Philosophy Conference, Indiana University; “Developing a General Interactive Approach to Codifying Ethical Principles” at the 2008 Proceedings of the AAAI Workshop on Human Implications of Human-Robot Interaction, and “EthEl: Toward a Principled Ethical Eldercare Robot” in Proceedings of the Workshop on Robotic Helpers, Third ACM Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

JC Beal gave two recent talks at MIT, one on vagueness and one on dialetheism. He also gave a talk on his forthcoming book Spandrels of Truth at Union College, as well as a talk on restricted quantification at the World Congress of Paraconsistency in Melbourne.

Don Baxter commented on Kevin Meeker’s paper “Was Hume Mathematically Challenged” at the 35 th International Hume Society Conference in Iceland this past August.

In March, Paul Bloomfield gave a talk entitled “Why be Good?” at the UCONN Humanities Institute.

Austen Clark presented " Comments on Bill Lycan's More Layers" at the "Naturalized Philosophy of Mind and Language: A Conference in Honor of Ruth Garrett Millikan", UConn, 4 October 2008. Other presentations included: "Phenomenal character and consciousness", Rutgers University, 1 May 2008; "Phenomenal character in unilateral neglect", City University of New York Graduate Center, 12 March 2008, and "Phenomenology and early vision", Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram campus, 20 February 2008 – under the auspices of the departments of Philosophy and Cognitive Science.

Tim Elder presented “Does Necessity Supervene on Being?” at Purdue University in February.

In October, Anne Hiskes presented “Ethical Issues in Human-Animal Chimera Research: Fact or Fiction,” at the Hartford Ethics Group. She also gave a radio interview on October 13 th on stem cells and research ethics for WJJ Detroit.

Joel Kupperman gave a talk at Ball State University in Indiana on “Philosophical Perspectives on Values.”

Michael Lynch presented “Wrenn on Truth” at the SSSP in March.

Ruth Millikan gave a number of talks at different universities. These included: ( March 3-9) Four talks for various groups at UC Irvine, “How Children Learn Language,” “ Non-conceptual representation in biological systems," Seminar on Philosophy of Language, "Conceptual representation in biological systems;” (April 12) University of Missouri, Kline Workshop 2008, “Millikan’s philosophy of mind and languge,” comments on the papers read; (April 18) Duke University, “What concepts add to non-conceptual representation;”(April 23) “Questioning Perry's Connection between Indexicals/Demonstratives and Behavior,” Perry conference, University of Madrid; (July 20) “What is it to understand a reference?” The Brussels Workshop on Utterance Interpretation and Cognitive Models, Université Libre de Bruxelles; (July 22-25) Seven graduate seminars on Millikan’s philosophy, Institut für Philosophie; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; (July 23) “What is it to understand a reference?” Public lecture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (University of Berlin); (July 28-August 1) Cologne Summer School in Philosophy 2008: Meaning and its Place in Nature, with Ruth Millikan. Five seminars; and (July 29) “The tangle of biological purposes that is us,” Public lecture, University of Cologne.

Adam Podlaskowski presented “Defending Semantic Normativity” at the Alabama Philosophical Society in September.

Marcus Rossberg gave a number of talks and presentations. These include Logical Consequence for Nominalists. Abstract Objects in Semantics and the Philosophy of Mathematics, workshop in Paris, February 27-29, 2008; On the Logic of Quantifier Variance. Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association in Aberdeen, July 11-13, 2008; Truth and Non-Conservativeness in Higher-Order Logic. In the Philosophy and History of Science, Medicine, Mathematics, and Logic Seminars of the University of Bristol, May 28, 2008; Criteria of Ontological Commitment and Second-Order Quantification. At the 31 st International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg, Austria, August 10–16, 2008; andPluralism About Logic Proper. At the Logical Pluralism conference, University of Tartu, Estonia, August 27–31, 2008. In addition, Marcus presented Cake or Pie? Against the New Wave of Ordinary-Language Philosophy at the Arché Reading Party on the Isle of Skye on April 25, 2008.

Lionel Shapiro presented “Revenge and Expression,” at the Pacific Division APA in March.

John Troyer read a paper at a Berkeley session at the Central Division APA in April. He also chaired a session at the International Berkeley Conference at Newport, RI in June.

Steven Wall presented papers at the following three conferences: “Pluralistic Perfectionism and Restricted State Neutrallity” at the “Neutrality Reconsidered Conference” at McGill University (May); “Neutrality for Perfectionists?” at the Symposium on the work of Joseph Raz at Manchester University, England (May); and “Perfectionism and the Problem of Religious Accommodation” at the Conference on “Religion and Public Reason” at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (June)

Upcoming Presentations:

Susan Anderson is organizing a session, and presenting a paper, on Ethics and Eldercare Technology for the AAAI Fall 2008 Symposium on AI in Eldercare in November.

In January, JC Beall will give a talk at the inaugural “Logical Consequence” Conference at Arche (under a new AHRC funding project directed by Stephen Read, Graham Priest, and Stewart Shapiro. He will also give a talk (with Michael Lynch) at a small workshop for Arche on aletheic pluralism.

Tim Elder will give a commentary on James Paton, “The Varieties of Explosivism” at the Central Division APA in February. He also will give a paper “Do ID Phenomena Pose a Threat to Realism?” at the University of Buffalo in April.

Anne Hiskes will give a presentation on “Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research” at Saint Joseph’s College in February.

Michael Lynch has a number of professional talks upcoming. He will present work at University College, Dublin, University of St. Andrews, University of Rhode Island, University of Alabama and the Pacific Division of the APA.

Ruth Millikan’s upcoming talks include: a debate with Ray Jackendoff on the internalism-externalism question, Northwestern University (October 23); Teaching at Carleton College, plus two public lectures, two faculty seminars ( October 25-November 7); and “The evolution of perception and cognition from pushmi-pullyu signs to inner representations," University of Jena, for the workshop, “The Evolutionary Genesis of Pre-Forms of Consciousness and the Diverse Dimensions of Consciousness,” for the research project "Interdisciplinary Anthropology," sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research (December 4-6).

Marcus Rossberg has been invited to give a commentary on Gila Sher’s paper “Is Logic in the Mind or in the World?” at the Pacific APA in April.

Steven Wall is scheduled to give a commentary on Linda Radzik’s Making Amends: Atonement in Morality, Law and Politics at the Reparations Conference at the University of Arizona in February. He also will present a paper at Cornell University in April.

Responses to our work:

During the Eastern Division APA this December, the International Hume Society is hosting an author-meets-critics session on Don Baxter’s book Hume’s Difficulty: Time and Identity in the Treatise. The critics will be Martha Brandt Bolton of Rutgers and Lorne Falkenstein of the University of Western Ontario.

An article on Paul Bloomfield’s current book project “A Theory of the Good Life” appeared in the UConn Advance on February 4, 2008.

See Georg Peter : Review of Cohnitz/Rossberg: Nelson Goodman, in Grazer Philosophische Studien 76 (2008), pp. 276–285 (discussing Marcus Rossberg’s work)

Notable Service:

Susan Anderson was invited to join the board of the Connecticut Breast Cancer Coalition Foundation.

Thomas Bontly is currently serving as President of the University of Connecticut chapter of the AAUP.

Anne Hiskes is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the University Senate.

Michael Lynch is serving on the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute’s Board of Advisors.

Major Work in Progress:

Susan Anderson (with M. Anderson) has a contract for a book on Machine Ethics with Cambridge University Press.

Joel Kupperman signed a contract with Hackett to write a book on Theories of Human Nature. He reports that he has completed a draft of one third of the book. He also reports that he has completed a draft of two-thirds of his other book project, The Ethics of Human Imperfection.

Michael Lynch’sTruth as One and Many is due out in March.

Ruth Millikan is writing replies for a Millikan and Her Critics volume to be published by Blackwell.

With Philip A. Ebert, Roy T. Cook and Crispin Wright, Marcus Rossberg is working on the first complete English translation of Gottlob Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik [Basic Laws of Arithmetic] to be published by Oxford University Press. The work is near completion; and hopefully will appear in print in the beginning of 2010.


Graduate Program News

Incoming Geraduate Students:

We are pleased to welcome seven new graduate students with a wide variety of interests and prior experiences.

Kevin Belknap graduated from the University of Connecticut. He has a BA in philosophy and religion, a BA in political science, and a MA in Communication Studies.

Alexis Elder , a Connecticut native, received her BA in philosophy from Southern Connecticut State University in 2005. After a couple of years off (word to the wise: a nice low-pressure field like, say, publishing may not be the best way to unwind between your BA and grad school, but you’ll get very good at puzzling out what people meant to say when what they actually wrote was word salad), she is thrilled to return to academia. She lives in Naugatuck, Connecticut with her husband Randy (who she met in her undergraduate philosophy club), a pack of dogs, and some very self-assured cats. In her free time, she enjoys training her dogs, putting together educational programs for animal shelters, and playing fiddle in Whiskey For Breakfast, a Celtic and bluegrass band that also covers the odd Metallica tune.

Michael Hughes comes to us from the University of Maine at Farmington.

Joseph Lurie , having grown up in the suburbs of New York, and gone to school in  an urban environment--he got his BS in Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh--now comes to UConn to
experience life in the third possible setting, namely rural emptiness. His main academic interest is in philosophical logic, and particularly its application to natural language. Joseph is a bachelor (and thus analytically unmarried), and spends much of his free time in his dorm room, either reading or surfing the internet--activities which sometimes pertain to philosophy, but do not always do so. 

Micah Newman is from Westmont College. His primary interests are in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and philosophy of chemistry.

Curtis VonGunten comes to us from Akron, Ohio, the hometown he shares with W.V.O Quine. He received his B.A (2008) in philosophy from University of Akron. His philosophical interests include philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and psychology (in particular, concepts, intentionality, folk psychology, cognitive architecture, modularity, rationality, and perceptual content). Recently his commitment to naturalism has left him worried about the status of value theory. He also tells himself that he has a strong, yet entirely unexplored, interest in aesthetics. In his free time you can find him rabidly searching for new music, creating mixes based on ever more challenging criteria, and playing and recording guitar.

Jeremy Wyatt comes to us from Texas Christian University.


Honors and Awards:

Asha Bhandary won a graduate student travel award from the Society for Analytic Feminism.

With the assistance of the Department, Colin Carat will be traveling to the University of St. Andrew’s from November 8-29 th to visit the Arche research center.



Colin Caret and Aaron Cotnoir had their article “True, False, Paranormal, and ‘Designated?’ a reply to Jenkins” appear in print in Analysis 68(2): 238-44.

Aaron Cotnoir had his article “Generic Truth and Mixed Conjunctions: Some Alternatives” accepted for publication in Analysis. The paper is scheduled to appear in print in April 2009.

Micah Newman published “Chemical Supervenience,” in Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2008): 49-62.

Jeff Wisdom’s “Base Property Exemplification and Mixed Worlds: Remarks on the Shafer-Landeau/Mabrito Exchange” was published in Philosophical Studies, vol. 138, no. 3 (April 2008): 429-34.


Asha Bhandary presented “Dependency in Justice: Kittay’s Critique of Rawls,” at the April 2008 Central APA session for the Society of Analytic Feminism in Chicago.

Colin Carat delivered his paper “Not-So-Easy Knowledge” at the SUNY Albany Graduate Epistemology Conference on April 12 th.

Alexis McLeod will be presenting on “Rejection of Community and non-Persons in book 18 of the Analects” in a Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy group panel at the APA Pacific Division meeting in March.

BJ Strawser gave a talk on “Parental Consent for Abortion and Statutory Rape” at the Annual Society of Christian Philosophers Conference held at Niagara University in April 2008.

Levente Szentkiralyi presented “Justice as Fairness & Reinventing Direct Democracy,” at the Humane Studies Fellowship Finalist Research Colloquium in Arlington, Virginia in May 2008.

Dissertation Topics:

Asha Bhandary’s dissertation is on the role of autonomy in liberalism.

Daniel Massey reports: “I am looking at various ways that moral disagreements support and undermine moral relativism. On the one hand, the apparent existence of rationally irresolvable moral disagreements provides evidence for the position, but at the same time the moral relativist has difficulty explaining why these disagreements, given her construal of them, should count as disagreements at all. In the end, I will suggest routes available to the moral realist for strengthening her hand in these debates.

Alexis McLeod reports: “I’m a good way through a first draft of a dissertation on “Aristotle and Confucius on Moral Personhood.”

Brian Leahy's dissertation is becoming a diatribe against the indicative-subjunctive/counterfactual distinction, arguing that we should distinguish varieties of conditionals on syntactic bases rather than whatever ephemeral base it is that grounds the indicative-subjunctive/counterfactual distinction.

The topic of Jeffrey Wisdom’s dissertation will be a critical examination of moral fictionalism and moral error theory.



Lisa Cassidy was promoted and tenured last Fall.

William Cornwell was promoted to Associate Professor of Philosophy at Salem State College.

Paula Droege has a DAAD Teaching Fellowship for 2008-09 at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University.

Stephen Lahey , Ph.D. 1997, now Assistant Professor, Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Nebraska Lincoln, received the Medieval Academy of America’s John Nicholas Brown award for 2006 for Best First Book for Philosophy and Politics in the Thought of John Wyclif (Cambridge 2003).

Chenyang Li (1992) is a 2008-2009 American Council on Education Fellow. He has received the following awards from Central Washington University, where he has been teaching in the philosophy department since 1999: Distinguished University Research Professor Award (2008) Student Empowerment Center's Keys to Success Award (2008) Distinguished Department Chair Award (2008).

David Schejbal is now Dean, Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

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