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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol XII, Vol. 2: December 2009

This issue edited by: Marcus Rossberg

Designer: Shelly Burelle

Welcome to the 30th issue of Cogitamus! This issue covers news for the period of June 10, 2009 to November 30, 2009.


Department News:

Tom Bontly is part of a team of UConn cognitive scientists which in September received a $1.3 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant for a project entitled “Emergence, Structure and Neurobiological Basis of Typical and Atypical Language”. The grant, which is funded by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD, part of NIH), allows UConn to hire two new faculty members and funds their research and graduate students for the next two years. The two new faculty members, who will start at UConn in January of 2010, are Marie Coppola (Psychology/Linguistics) and Emily Myers (Communication Disorders/Psychology). The investigators on the grant, in addition to the two new hires, are Diane Lillo-Martin (PI, LING), Tom Bontly (PHIL), Carl Coelho (CDIS), Jim Magnuson (PSYC), and Whit Tabor (PSYC).

In these difficult times for the academic job market, we are pleased to report that over the summer, and too late to include in the last Cogitamus, a further three of our graduate students found academic jobs:

Congratulations to all of you!

This not only brings the number of our successful job seekers up to seven, but also means that the Department’s placement success for last year was 100%.

The Logic Group ( continues to thrive. Jc Beall is the current Director, and Marcus Rossberg is the Acting Secretary. This year, many of the mathematicians are away (on sabbatical, etc.), and the group has concentrated heavily on Linguistics for the Fall ‘09 semester. In the Spring 2010 semester, the annual speaker is the (linguistically able) philosopher Michael Glanzberg (UC Davis).

In one fell swoop, the Northern Institute of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, has invited Jc Beall, Michael Lynch and Marcus Rossberg to become associate fellows of the institute. The fellowship entails regular visits to the institute and collaborative philosophical research with the members and fellows of the institute.

Comings and Goings:

Tim Elder writes: “Last August the department lost to retirement two valued and long-serving members of the department. Susan Anderson was for thirty-seven years the sole member of this department at the Stamford campus, and the courses she offered ranged across so many areas of philosophy as to amount to an entire curriculum in themselves. Though the majority of her published pages deal with historical figures in philosophy (Mill, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky), Susan now figures as a central figure in a cutting-edge area of inquiry into the moral proficiency that computers can achieve. John Troyer has, over his thirty-nine years in the department, taught a range of courses just about equally diverse. He served as Acting Head twice and as Director of Undergraduate Studies for well over a decade. Many members of this department have made it a habit to ask for John's comments on early drafts of papers. That is because John understands papers in every area of philosophy whatsoever, and because he exercises an unerring (and unnerving) ability of spotting exactly what the weak spot of a paper is.”  

Jc Beall reports about his visit to Australasia: “One reason I was in Melbourne was for a major collaborative effort on the longstanding problem of the Routley-Meyer ternary semantics — and, in particular, making good, philosophical sense of the ternary relation. This effort was a rousing success, and is resulting in a ten-authored paper (depending on how one counts). Capping off the trip — and the main reason for going to Australasia — was the trip to the wonderful University of Otago, where I was the 2009 Daniel Taylor Fellow in Philosophy. I gave a few seminars, a public lecture, and was even interviewed by the local Otago TV news.” (However, Jc refuses to show anyone the video of the interview.)  

Anne Hiskes is at the College of New Jersey working in the office of the Provost this year in connection with my American Council on Education Fellowship. She assures us, “I'm having a blast.”  

Joel Kupperman has been on sabbatical for this semester, and reports that he has been “attempting to finish various writing projects”.  

Michael Lynch began his National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. He is working on his new book for MIT Press, called Faith in Reason.  

Lionel Shapiro writes from down under: “I remain on leave through the (northern) summer of 2010, on a research fellowship at the University of Sydney, where I have been testing that institution’s motto ‘sidere mens eadem mutato’ (though the constellation is changed, the mind remains the same). It has also been good to see three Storrs philosophers under the Southern Cross: Jc Beall and Michael Lynch at the AAP in Melbourne, and Michael Lynch and Ruth Millikan in Sydney.”

Personal News:

Austen Clark reports: “My wife and I acquired a standard poodle puppy, named ‘Yofi’ (Hebrew for ‘awesome’) on 12 June 2009. He has quadrupled in mass and received two degrees since then (‘Puppy Kindergarten’ and ‘Family Dog II’). Yofi has his own page on Dogbook. Major new works in progress include concentrated study on ‘stay’.”  

Rik Hine ran (and completed) the Washington DC Marine Corps Marathon with his wife, Sarah, in October 2009. Rik writes: “Visitors welcome, fruit and flowers will be gratefully received.”

Marcus Rossberg moved from Manchester to Tolland and is enjoying the tranquility as well as the relative proximity to campus.  

Jeffrey Wisdom's second son, Trent Corban Wisdom, was born November 21, 2009, at 10:12pm. At birth he weighed nine pounds, one ounce. Jeff reports: “He’s a pretty content baby, so we’re adjusting well, all things considered.”



A symposium on Don Baxter’s book has appeared in Philosophical Studies 146 (2009), with critics John Perry, Lorne Falkenstein, and Don Garrett. Don’s contributions are “Précis of Hume’s Difficulty: Time and Identity in the TREATISE” and “Replies to Perry, Falkenstein, and Garrett,” pp. 407-411 & pp. 445-455.

Paul Bloomfield has published two papers: “Archimedeanism and Why Metaethics Matters”, in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 4, R. Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009; and “Mini-Symposium on Program Explanation”, with Alex Miller, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 87, no 2: 343-4 (June 2009).

Joel Kupperman’s Learning from Asian Philosophy has appeared in Chinese translation: Renmin University Press, Beijing, 2009.

Serena Parekh published two papers: “Reframing Violence Against Women as a Human Rights Violation: Evan Stark’s Coercive Control”, co-written with Kathy Libal, in Violence Against Women. Lisa Brush, editor. December 2009, Volume 15, Number 12; and “Gender and Human Rights” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Ethics and International Relations. Patrick Hayden, editor. London: Ashgate, September 2009.

Marcus Rossberg has published two papers together with Philip A. Ebert: “Cantor on Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic” in History and Philosophy of Logic 30 (2009); and “ ‘Dear Ed’: Edward Zalta’s Version of Neo-Logicism – a friendly letter of complaint”, in A. Hieke and H. Leitgeb (eds.): Reduction – Abstraction – Analysis. Frankfurt: Ontos, 2009.

Sam Wheeler published a review of Hans-Johann Glock’s What is Analytic Philosophy? in The European Legacy 14, no 6, pages 768-770, October 2009. Sam also remarks, “there’s some old stuff that I didn’t submit in time to previous Cogitami.” The four publications are: “Davidson as Derridean: Analytic Philosophy as Deconstruction,” Cardozo Law Review, Volume 27, Number 2, November 2005, pp. 567-585; his “Wittgenstein mit Davidson über Metaphern,” in Wittgenstein und die Metapher, ed. Arnswald, Kertscher, Kross. Parerga Verlag, Berlin, 2004 was reprinted in English as “Wittgenstein as Davidson on Metaphor,” Analysis and Metaphysics 6, December 2007, pp. 102-120; “Wahrheit, Metapher und Unbestimmheit,” in Zur Metapher, ed. Czernin and Eder, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007: this was reprinted in English as “Truth, Metaphor, and Indeterminability,” Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, January 2008; “Quine’s ‘Web of Belief’, ausgedehnt und erweitert. Eine Davidson’sche Theorie für Dichterinnen,” in Zur Metapher, ed. Czernin and Eder, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007.

Forthcoming Publications:


Don Baxter gave a colloquium at UNC Chapel Hill in September entitled “Further Thoughts on Three Topics in Hume: Identity, Consciousness, Skepticism”.

Jc Beall was keynote speaker at Logica 2009 (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) in June; he presented his paper, “Truth, Abnormal Worlds and Necessity”. Moreover, he presented “Necessity and Actuality in Abnormal-Worlds Frameworks” at AAP in Melbourne; and “An Overspill Result: Normality” at AAL in Melbourne. Jc reports: “I al so presented some of my work at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and at the longstanding bastion of logic, Victoria University of Wellington (NZ).”

Tim Elder gave the Scott and Heather Klener Lecture at the University of Georgia. He presented his paper “Sparse Realism about Two Forms of Sameness”, 16 October 2009.

Joel Kupperman was invited to discuss the psychological implications of Indian religious systems with the University of Pennsylvania psychologists, Philadelphia, October 28 th.

Michael Lynch was invited to a roundtable on exressivism and pluralism. (With C. Wright, B. Brandom, S. Blackburn, M. Williams, H. Price. R. Kraut) at the Expressivism, Pluralism, Pragmatism Conference, University of Sydney. He presented his papers: “Expressivism and Plural Truth.” Expressivism, Pluralism, Pragmatism Conference, University of Sydney, Centre of Time, July 2009; “Epistemic Disagreement”, Australian Association of Philosophy, July 2009; and also followed the invitation to speak on “Wright on Truth” at the ANU conference on Crispin Wright, July 15, 2009.

Ruth Millikan gave nine invited lectures: “Learning Language without a Theory of Mind,” Keynote lecture, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, June 13; “Adequate concepts are far more puzzling than empty ones”, University of Barcelona, Conference on Reference and Non-existence, June 18; National Swedish Research School for Cognitive Science (SweCog) Summer School in Cognitive Science at Marston Hill, Mullsjö, two lectures: “On a general theory of concepts (both animals and humans)” and “On how concepts are learned (both animals and humans)”; “Finally implementing the eviction notices: Throwing meaning out of the head”, conference on Meaning, Erfurt, Germany, September 4; “Finally implementing the eviction notices: Throwing meaning out of the head,” Keynote Lecture, New York State Philosophical Association (“Creighton Club”) October 24, at Hobart and William Smith, Geneva, New York; “Fads and Fallacies in Philosophy of Mind and Language,” for the debate called “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Cognitive Science” with Peter Hacker, for The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), November 2, Utrecht, The Netherlands; “Understanding language as direct perception, or how children learn language without having a theory of mind,” University of Vienna Philosophy Department, November 5; “A theory of empirical concepts implying that all higher animals must have them” for the Department of Neurobiology and Cognition Research, University of Vienna, November 6.

Serena Parekh presented “Structural Injustice, Gender Violence, and Iris Young’s ‘Political Responsibility’” at FEAST (Feminist Ethics and Social Theory), Clearwater Beach, FL, September 24-27, 2009; and “Women’s Human Rights and Structural Injustice” at CSWIP (Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy), University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, October 2-4, 2009.

Marcus Rossberg presented “Inferentialism and Conservativeness” at the Annual Meeting of the Alabama Philosophical Society, Orange Beach, Alabama, October 2-3, 2009; and “ Destroying Artworks”, as part of the symposium on Art and Abstract Objects at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics, Denver, Colorado, October 21-24, 2009.

Lionel Shapiro presented three papers: “Deflating Logical Consequence,” Logica 2009 (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), June; “Deflating Logical Consequence,” Australasian Association of Philosophy, Melbourne, July; and “Bifurcating Intentionality: Case Studies in Descartes and Locke,” Philosophy Program seminar, ANU (Canberra), September 2009.

Steven Wall presented “Market Democracy and Economic Justice”, which was an invited commentary on John Tomasi’s book manuscript Market Democracy and Social Justice, at the Political Theory Research Project, Brown University in June 2009.


Upcoming Presentations:

Don Baxter will be presenting “Hume’s Account of Duration: An Empiricist Successor to Descartes’s” at the Central APA in February 2010, as part of a Symposium on Early Modern Philosophy of Time. He has been invited to present a paper to the Society for Early Modern Philosophy at Yale in early 2010. Also, the Hume Society has scheduled an author-meets-critics session on his book for the International Hume Conference in Antwerp, July 2010.

Paul Bloomfield is invited to speak in the colloquium at Union College on January 21 st, 2010, and is also invited speaker at The Fifteenth Annual Arizona Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy: The Work of Julia Annas, February 5 th, 2010. Moreover, he will be commenting on a symposium paper by Charles Kurth, entitled “Fashion Models and Moral Realism”, at the Central APA, February 18 th, 2010.

Austen Clark is invited to comment on papers on crossmodal perception by Casey O’Callahan and Susanna Siegel, to be presented at the Pacific APA meeting this spring 2010.

Tim Elder has three upcoming presentations: “Mental Causation, Invariance, and Teleofunctional Content”, UC Irvine, 29 January 10; “Sparse Realism about Two Forms of Sameness”, Auburn University (Conference on the Ontology of Ordinary Objects), 26 February 10; “Mental Causation, Invariance, and Teleofunctional Content”, University of Calgary, 19 March 10.

Joel Kupperman will be giving an invited talk at the APA Eastern Division, December 28th: “Chinese Philosophy and Processes of Self-Fashioning”.

Marcus Rossberg will be presenting papers at the Northern Institute of Philosophy of University of Aberdeen and at the Arché Research Centre of the University of St Andrews in January 2010.

Lionel Shapiro will present “How Central are ‘That’ Clauses to the Theory of Content?” at the workshop on Propositionsand Same-Saying at Macquarie University (Sydney) in January.

Steven Wall has two upcoming talks: one a colloquium talk at Brown in April, the other a conference paper for the New Orleans Invitational Seminar on Ethics in March.

Responses to our work:

In addition to the symposium in Philosophical Studies mentioned above, Don Baxter’s book, Hume’s Difficulty: Time and Identity in the Treatise, is reviewed in Hume Studies 33 (2007), which despite the publication date has only recently appeared.

A review of Paul Bloomfield’s Morality and Self-Interest is appearing in Mind, written by John Lemos.

A book review by Stewart Shapiro of Michael Lynch’s Truth as One and Many appeared in the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Notable Service:

Paul Bloomfield is now the faculty advisor for the student organization of the UConn chapter of Invisible Children (see

Major Work in Progress:

Joel Kupperman now has a draft of a new book, The Ethics of Human Imperfection, and rough drafts of two papers: “Varieties of Rightness” and “Half Truths”.


Graduate Program News

Incoming Graduate Students:

We are pleased to welcome sevennew graduate students into our program:

Honors and Awards:

Asha Bhandary received the President Hogan Dissertation Summer Award of $5000, which was awarded to one promising PhD student at the University of Connecticut for summer 2009. Asha writes: “I owe many thanks to Serena Parekh for nominating me for the award.”

Aaron Cotnoir won the competition for a place in the UConn–St Andrews graduate student exchange to visit the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Aaron visited St Andrews in October 2009.


Jeffrey Wisdom published “A Defense of Descriptive Moral Content” in the Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 47, no. 3, (September 2009), pp. 285-300.

Forthcoming Publications:

Rik Hine has his paper “Attention as experience: Through ‘thick’ and ‘thin’” forthcoming in Journal of Consciousness Studies.

Bradley Jay Strawser's“The Normative Structure of Human Rights: A Review of James Griffin’s On Human Rights” is forthcoming in the Journal of Human Rights.


Aaron Cotnoir gave “Whose Boundary Line is it Anyway?” at the Mereology workshop at the University of St Andrews, October 26 th, 2009.

Rik Hine presented “Attention as phenomenal experience: For ‘richer’ for ‘poorer’” at the Second Annual Interdisciplinary Approach to Philosophical and Psychological Issues Conference: Perception, Action, and Consciousness, University of South Alabama, September 25-26, 2009.

Micah Newman presented his paper “Emergence, Supervenience, and Introductory Chemical Education,” at the Summer Symposium of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, August 15, 2009.

Bradley Jay Strawser presented two talks: “A Paradox of Rule-breaking in Sport” at the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport annual conference in Seattle, Washington, August 28 th, 2009; and “Human Rights and Correlative Duties” at the International Development Ethics Association Conference in Valencia, Spain, December 4 th, 2009.

Upcoming Presentations:

David Lambie will be presenting his papers “Intuitions on Moral Twin Earth” at SUNY-Oswego, February 3, 2010; and “Functionalism and Morality” at SUNY-Oswego, March 24, 2010.

Bradley Jay Strawser is invited to address the International Society of Military Ethics annual conference in San Diego, California, January 28th, 2010. His talk is entitled “UAVs as Ethically Obligatory”.

Responses to our Work:

Douglas Edwards published a reply (Analysis 64(4) 684-688, 2009) to Aaron Cotnoir’s “Generic Truth and Mixed Conjunctions”.

Teaching Innovations:

David Lambie reports: “I have incorporated Team-Based Learning techniques into my Problems of Philosophy course.”

Dissertation Defenses:

Colin Caret (advisor: Jc Beall) successfully defended his dissertation entitled “The Interpretation of Partitioned Frame Semantics” on September 18th, 2009. He has accepted and started a prestigious three-year post-doctoral research fellowship in the Foundations of Logical Consequence Project at the Arché Research Centre at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Dissertation Topics:

Asha Bhandary writes: “I am arguing for two values: care and autonomy — as foundational to a political theory, and I evaluate Rawls’s political liberalism and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach against this framework.”

Bradley Jay Strawser reports his dissertation topic: “On War and Ethics and Rights”.


Notable Service:

Asha Bhandary organized the third meeting of the UConn Society for Women in Philosophy. Attendance was excellent. Asha also has been elected to serve as an officer for the Eastern Society for Women in Philosophy as a program committee member.


Please visit our website at: for miscellaneous links and colloquium updates.

Any questions or comments should be directed to Shelly Burelle at