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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol XII, Vol. I.: June 2009

This issue edited by: Steven Wall

Designer: Shelly Burelle

Welcome to the 29th issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of October 9, 2008 to June 9, 2009.


Department News:

This past May the Department hosted a workshop on “Truth,” with a special emphasis on pluralism and deflationism. Speakers included Max Kolbel, Crispin Wright, Van McGee, Marian David, Patrick Greenough, Pascal Engel, Gila Sher and our own JC Beall and Michael Lynch. The event was made possible by a grant from an anonymous donor. Thanks to this person and also to all who helped to make the workshop a success, and especially to Michael Lynch, JC Beall, Marcus Rossberg, Cory Wright and Nikolaj Pedersen for organizing it.

In a difficult academic job market, we are pleased to report that the Department had a strong year placing its graduate students.

The annual Yale/UConn graduate philosophy conference took place this past April at Yale University. Thanks to Jeffrey Wisdom for helping to organize this event.


Comings and Goings:

After many years of service at the University of Connecticut ( Stamford campus), Susan Anderson is retiring. She will be missed. To celebrate her retirement she has planned a trip to Egypt and to Petra, Jordan. Then she plans to focus her time on her research and other academic projects. Susan has generously donated her books to the Philosophy Department graduate library.

Ruth Millikan was a Visiting Professor at Carleton College, Northfield Minnesota from October 25 to November 7, 2008. She gave two public lectures, conducted two faculty seminars and met with students.

After being with us for two years as a visiting assistant professor, Adam Podlaskowski is leaving to accept a tenure-track position at Fairmont State University in West Virginia. He begins his new job in the Fall.

Lionel Shapiro spent the Spring term at the Centre for Time in 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 continue to be at the Centre for the 2009-10 academic year.


Personal News:

Asha Bhandary gave birth to a baby girl, Alma Kalyani Bhandary-Narayanan, on January 11, 2009.


Honors and Awards:


Susan Anderson published three papers with M. Anderson: “Ethical Healthcare Agents” in Advanced Computational Intelligence Paradigms in Healthcare-3, Springer, late 2008; “How Machines Can Advance Ethics,” special issue of Philosophy Now on Moral Machines (March/April, 2009); and “EthEl: Toward a Principled Ethical Eldercare Robot” in the Proceedings of the AAAI Fall 2008 Symposium on AI in Eldercare: New Solutions to Old Problems, Arlington, VA, Nov. 2008.

Don Baxter’s essay “Hume’s Theory of Space and Time in its Skeptical Context” is included in the new Cambridge Companion to Hume, 2nd edition, edited by David Fate Norton and Jacqueline Taylor (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

JC Beall published Spandrels of Truth (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Austen Clark published two papers: "Phenomenal Properties: Some models from Psychology and Philosophy,” Philosophical Issues, 18: 404-423. (Interdisciplinary Core Philosophy. Section editors Alex Byrne and David Hilbert.); and "Location, location, location" in Lana Trick & Don Dedrick (eds.), Computation, Cognition, and Pylyshyn. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pages 281-302. 

Two papers by Tim Elder appeared: “Against Universal Mereological Composition” in Dialectica 62 (2008): 433-54 and “Biological Species are Natural Kinds,” in the Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2008): 339-92. Tim also published a review of David S. Oderberg’s book Real Essentialism in Analysis 69 (2008): 376-78.

Michael Lynch’s newest book Truth as One and Many was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. The book is a statement and defense of his functionalist theory of truth. Michael also published two papers: “Truth, Value and Epistemic Expressivism” in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2009): 76-97 and “Deception and the Nature of Truth” in The Philosophy of Deception, C. Martin (ed.). ( Oxford University Press, 2009).

Anne Hiskes (with Audrey Chapman) published “Unscrambling the Eggs: Cybrid Research through an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO) Lens,” in the American Journal of Bioethics.

With co-editor David Sobel, Steven Wall published Reasons for Action (Cambridge University Press, 2009). His essay “Perfectionism in Politics: A Defense” also appeared in Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy , ed. by J. Christman and T. Christiano, Blackwell Publishing (2009).

Forthcoming Publications:


Susan Anderson organized a session, and presented a paper, on Ethics and Eldercare Technology for the AAAI Fall 2008 Symposium on AI in Eldercare in November. She also gave two lectures – one on “Ethical Robots” and one on “Nietzsche and Kierkegaard” – to an honors seminar at UConn at Stamford.

The Hume Society hosted an author-meets-critic session on Don Baxter’s book at the Eastern Division APA meeting in December. The critics were Martha Bolton ( Rutgers University) and Lorne Falkenstein ( University of Western Ontario).

JC Beall gave a keynote talk at Logica (Henjice CZ) on abnormal worlds and necessity (in the context of transparent truth theories), and also participated in the Non-Classical Mathematics conference (also Henjice, CZ).

Paul Bloomfield commented on Carla Bagnoli’s paper “Practical Necessity and Agential Autonomy” at the third annual Northwestern Conference on Ethical Theory and Political Philosophy in April.

Austen Clark presented two papers at a workshop on Cognitive and Developmental Factors in Perceptual Constancy organized by Gary Hatfield and Sarah Allred, University of Pennsylvania, Departments of Philosophy and Cognitive Science 20-22 February 2009: "Spatial organization and the appearances thereof in early vision" and "Comments on Mark Wagner's Century of Size Constancy Research.” The first of these papers ("Spatial organization and the appearances thereof in early vision") corresponds to a chapter in a book ms. that has been submitted to Oxford University Press (UK) for referee review by Gary Hatfield ( University of Pennsylvania).

On April 25 th, Tim Elder presented “Do ID Phenomena Pose a Threat to Realism?” at the University of Buffalo at a conference on “The Metaphysics of Lynne Rudder Baker.” He also commented on James Paton, “The Varieties of Explosivism” at the APA Central Division Meeting in February.

Anne Hiskes presented the following papers: “Stem Cell Research: The Co-Evolution of Biomedical Research and Ethics,” which was the keynote address at the Research Day at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington CT; “Stem Cell Research: Medical Promises and Ethical Challenges,” at St. Joseph College, West Hartford CT; “The Ethical of Human-Animal Chimera Research: Fact or Fiction,” at the Hartford Ethics Group, Trinity College, Hartford CT. She also gave a public talk at the Phi Beta Kappa initiation on “Unpacking Venture Smith’s Story: Slavery, Freedom and the Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

Joel Kupperman gave a talk at Kennesaw State University on “Comparative Philosophy and its Problems.” He also gave a talk at North Florida State University on “Ethics in Asian and Recent Western Philosophy.”

Michael Lynch presented papers at the University of St. Andrews, the University of Edinburgh, Rice University, The APA (Pacific), the University of Alabama, (2 endowed lectures), the University of Rhode Island, and here at UCONN. Over the summer he will give three lectures in Australia.

Ruth Millikan gave a number of talks at different universities. These included: A debate with Ray Jackendoff on the semantic "Internalism-Externalism" question, at Northwestern University (Cognitive Science) October 23, 2008; “The evolution of perception and cognition from pushmipullyu signs to inner representations," University of Jena, for the workshop, “The Evolutionary Genesis of PreForms 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; "Language Without a Theory of Mind” for the Susan Hurley Memorial Conference, Bristol, England, March 22; and "The Tangle of Biological Purposes that is Us," which was The William D. Hamilton Memorial Lecture, University of New England, April 1. She also gave a public lecture to the Philosophy Club at California State University at Northridge on February 12.

Marcus Rossberg presented “On Validity” at the Foundations of Logical Consequence Workshop in Saint Andrews, Scotland in January. He also was a commentator on Gila Sher’s paper “Is Logic in the Mind or in the World?” at the APA Pacific Division meeting in Vancouver in April.

Lionel Shapiro gave three professional talks at the University of Sydney, Australia: “A Dogma about Naturalized Representation;” "Locke on 'Ideas of' Features and Sorts"; and “Revenge and Expressibility.” He also presented "Deflating Logical Consequence" at Logica 2009 in Hejnice, Czech Republic.

Steven Wall gave a commentary on Linda Radzik’s Making Amends: Atonement in Morality, Law and Politics at a workshop on her work at the University of Arizona in February. He also presented a paper on “Neutralism for Perfectionists” at Cornell University in April and a paper on “Self-Ownership and Paternalism” at Tulane University in May.


Upcoming Presentations:

JC Beall is currently in Australasia giving various talks -- first in Melbourne, then in NZ (Otago, Auckland, Wellington). He is also engaged in a ternary-relation-semantics workshop in Melbourne. The main impetus for his trip is to work with philosophers in Dunedin NZ (at University of Otago), where JC is the 2009 Daniel Taylor Fellow. JC is giving a series of talks there (and, as above, also in Auckland and Wellington). Updates on resulting papers will appear in Cogitamus (either when JC returns in the Fall or in the next issue).

Tim Elder will give a talk at the University of Georgia in the upcoming year.

Anne Hiskes will give a presentation on “Stem Cell Research Ethics and Science: What’s Next?” at the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals, Hope College, Holland MI.

Michael Lynch will give three lectures in Australia this summer.

 Ruth Millikan’s upcoming talks include: "Language without a Theory of Mind," Society for Philosophy and Psychology, June 12 (the opening plenary lecture for the meeting); "Adequate concepts are far more puzzling than empty ones," for the conference "Reference and Non-existence," University of Barcelona, June 17; and Lectures for the National Swedish Research School for Cognitive Science Summer School, Marston Hill, Mullsjö, August 9-14.

Marcus Rossberg will present “How to Destroy an Artwork” as part of the symposium “Art and Abstract Objects” at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Lionel Shapiro will present "Deflating Logical Consequence" at the AAP meeting in Melbourne in July.


Responses to our work:

As mentioned above, in December, the International Hume Society hosted an author-meets-critics session on Don Baxter’s book Hume’s Difficulty: Time and Identity in the Treatise. The critics were Martha Brandt Bolton of Rutgers University and Lorne Falkenstein of the University of Western Ontario.

Serena Parekh’s book Hannah Arendt and the Challenge of Modernity: A Phenomenology of Human Rights (Routledge 2008) was reviewed by Patchen Markell in the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Morton Winston in the Human Rights Quarterly, and Andrew Schaap in the Political Studies Review.

Notable Service:

Don Baxter is program committee co-chair along with Livia Guimaraes (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil) for the 36 th International Hume Conference to be held August 2-6 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Thomas Bontly served as President of the University of Connecticut chapter of the AAUP.

Anne Hiskes has received a legislative appointment to the State of Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, which is charged with administering the State’s stem cell research program. Her appointments as Director of Research Ethics and Education for Stem Cell Research and Chair of the University’s Stem Cell Ethics Oversight Committee end June 30, 2009.

Michael Lynch served 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’s book manuscript “The Ethics of Human Imperfection” is tentatively finished and is under review at a publisher.

Michael Lynch has begun work on a new book tentatively titled Faith in Reason.


Graduate Program News

Job Market News:

As mentioned above, Colin Caret won a three year postdoc research fellowship at the Arche Research Centre, University of Saint Andrews; Alexus McLeod accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Dayton; Steven Todd accepted a tenure-track position at Kingwood College; and Qiong Wang accepted a one year visiting position at the University of Oklahoma. Brian Leahy will be an adjunct professor at Connecticut College and URI.



Forthcoming Publications:

Asha Bhandary’s paper “Dependency in Justice: Can Rawlsian Liberalism Accommodate Kittay’s Dependency Critique?” will be published in the FEAST special issue of Hypatia, forthcoming in January-March 2010.

Aaron Cotnoir’s “Antisymmetry and Non-Extensional Mereology,” has been accepted for publication in The Philosophical Quarterly.

Steven Todd has a paper, “A Difference that Makes a Difference: Passing Through Dennett’s Stalinesque / Orwellian Impasse,” forthcoming in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.


Asha Bhandary gave a commentary on Julianna Oxley’s paper on Michael Slote’s new book The Ethics of Care and Empathy at the April 2009 Central APA session for the Society of Analytic Feminism in Chicago.

Colin Caret presented a paper on “Non-Normality and Logical Laws” to the Arche Philosophical Logic Seminar at the University of Saint Andrews in November 2008.

David Lambie delivered a paper on “Goodness is a Homeostatic Property Cluster: A Response to Rubin” at the Texas Tech Graduate Conference on Metaethics on April 4 th, 2009.

Micah Newman will be presenting “Emergence, Supervenience, and Chemical Education” in August at the 2009 Summer Symposium of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry in Philadelphia. Micah also commented on Andreas Elpidorou, “The Epistemological Role of the Body: A Lesson from Neuropsychology,” at the Yale-UConn Graduate Philosophy Conference, April 4

BJ Strawser presented three papers: “Can Love Be Alien? Frankfurtian Volitional Necessity and Identity,” at the “Future(s) of Critical Theory Conference” held at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 19-21 st March, 2009; “Lake Wobegone Syndrome: Logical Problems with ‘Specialness’ and Omniscience,” at the Society of Christian Philosophers Annual Conference held at Assumption College, Worcester, MA, 27-28 th March, 2009; and “Who is Responsible for Human Rights? A Critical Account of Pogge’s Institutional Model for Correlative Duties,” as a panelist at the University of Connecticut’s Annual Graduate Conference on Human Rights, April 4 th, 2009.

Steven Todd presented “Slow Down, You Move too Fast: A Problem for ‘Neutral Definitions’ of Consciousness” at the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology in Savannah, GA on April 10 th, 2009. He also presented the paper at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington in June.

Dissertation Topics:

Aaron Cotnoir finalized his dissertation plans. The topic is formal mereologies and their applications. The purpose is to develop new formal treatments of parthood/composition to address particular metaphysical problems. The dissertation will be focused on mereologies which are weaker than complete Boolean algebras.

David Lambie submitted a new dissertation prospectus in April. The plan is to develop an analogy between non-moral talk of goodness and moral talk of goodness.

BJ Strawser reports that he plans to write a dissertation in ethics. The focus will be on the intersection between the theoretical foundations of just war theory and human rights theory.


Dissertation Defenses:

Brian Leahy (advisor: John Troyer) successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Fantasy, Fiction, Forecast” in March.

Alexus Gustavus McLeod (advisor: Joel Kupperman) successfully defended his dissertation “Moral Personhood in Confucius and Aristotle.”

Franklin Scott (advisor: Austen Clark) successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Teleosemantics and Color” in May.

Steven Todd (advisor: Austen Clark)successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Unmasking Consciousness: A Case Study Demonstrating the Impact of Empirical Data on Theories of Consciousness” in April.

Qiong Wang's dissertation defense is tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 20, 2009.  The title (tentatively) is "The Ethics of Family Relationships".


Notable Service:

Asha Bhandary, in collaboration with Serena Parekh and Anne Hiskes, started and coordinated a Society for Women in Philosophy at UConn this year. Asha reports that they had a very successful first meeting, which included graduate students and faculty members. Anne Hiskes will coordinate the next meeting and the plan is to include undergraduate philosophy majors.

Aaron Cotnoir referred a paper for The Review of Symbolic Logic.

BJ Strawser served as a panelist on UConn at Avery Point’s Academic Integrity Awareness Week on the Academic Ethics Panel.


Other News:

Joel Marks, former UConn alumnus, and now Professor Emeritus at the University of New Haven, has published Ought Implies Kant: A Reply to the Consequentialist Critique (Lexington Books). The book offers an original defense of the ethical theory of Immanuel Kant, and develops an extension of that theory's account of moral duty to include direct duties to nonhuman animals.

Margaret Gilbert, formerly Professor of Philosophy at UConn and now Professor in the Department of Philosophy ( Abraham I. Melden Chair in Moral Philosophy) at the University of California at Irvine, has published A Theory of Political Obligation (Oxford University Press). She has also published: “Social Convention Revisited,” 2008, Topoi, special issue on the topic of convention; “Collective Moral Responsibility and Its Implications” (in French translation) (2008) Review Francaise de Science Politique; and an interview in Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Five Questions (2008) eds. Diego Rios and Christoph Schmidt-Petri. She has a number of papers forthcoming as well: ‘”Shared Intention and Personal Intentions,” forthcoming in Philosophical Studies, in a volume devoted to a selection of papers from the Pacific Division APA meetings in Pasadena in April 2008; “Two Perspectives on Shared Intention: An Essay in the Philosophy of Social Phenomena,” in press, invited contribution to a special anniversary edition of Analyse und Kritik; “Pro Patria: an Essay on Patriotism,” in press, Journal of Ethics, invited contribution to a special issue on patriotism; “A Real Unity of them All?” in press, The Monist, special issue on Europe; and “Joint or Collective Intention,” forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of the Mind, Sage Publications.


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