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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. II, No. 2 March 1999

Edited by Margaret Gilbert, Anne Hiskes

Welcome to the fourth issue of Cogitamus! It reports on the period of February 15, 1999 to March 25, 1999.

Our aim is to provide summary information on the ongoing professional achievements and activities of members of our department, and to provide notice of upcoming events.

This issue has some important alumni news and profiles Professor Joel Kupperman.

Proposed items for inclusion in the next issue (expected publication date May 1) should be given or (preferably) emailed to



Tom Bontly

"Individualism and the Nature of Syntactic States." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49, pp. 557-574, December 1998.

Ruth Millikan

Ruth's essay "Biosemantics" has been reprinted in William Lycan's Mind and Cognition: An Anthology. (Oxford: Blackwell).


Joel Kupperman is a discussant of David Nivisan's book The Ways of Confucianism on an "Author meets Critics" panel at the Pacific Division meetings in April. Other members of the panel will be John Knoblock and Martha Nussbaum.

Diana Meyers delivered "Embodiment, Relationships, and Autonomy -- Decentralizing Self-Governance" at the St. Louis Autonomy Symposium, March 19-20. For more information about the program visit the conference website at

Ruth Millikan presented "Language and Thought" at the University of Texas at Arlington on March 13. She was also the Keynote Speaker at the Northern Texas Philosophical Association where she presented "Abilities" on March 15.

Honors and Awards

Anne Hiskes has been invited to participate in a 6 week Faculty Summer Seminar on "Realism and Antirealism" directed by Professor William Alston and funded by the Pew Trust at Calvin College. Participants in the seminar will be asked to contribute to a volume of published papers and to return to Calvin College Spring 2000 for a conference presentation.


Don Baxter served as a referee for the Twenty-Sixth Hume Society Conference, to be held at University College Cork, Ireland July 19-23, 1999.

Diana Meyers is serving on the Women's Studies/Art and Art History Search Committee. Studio and art history candidates with backgrounds in a wide range of visual arts will be visiting campus shortly after spring break.

Former Faculty

Susan James has published a high acclaimed book Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth Century Philosophy Clarenden Press, Oxford, 1997). It has received rave reviews from Ian Hacking, and also in the Time Literary Supplement (Jan. 29, 1999). Dr. James is currently the Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Cambridge University. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Connecticut from 1977 - 1979



Virgil Whitmyer will publish "Ecological Color" in the June issue of Philosophical Psychology.


Virgil Whitmyer presented "Isomorphism in Psychology" to the Psychology Department on March 22 in the "PAW Room" on the 3rd floor of the Psychology Building.

Alumni News

Chenyang Li (Ph.D. 1991) has published a book The Tao Encounters the West: Explorations in Comparative Philosophy (SUNY Press, 1998). Dr. Li is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Monmouth College in Illinois.

Steve Lahey has been offered a tenure-track position at Lemoyne College.

Mitchell Silver (Ph.D. 1980) has published a book Respecting the Wicked Child: A Philosophy of Secular Jewish Identity and Education (University of Massachusetts Press, 1998). Mitchell Silver teaches philosophy at The University of Massachusetts, Boston.

David Schejbal (Ph.D. 1991) has been appointed Associate Provost at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Prior to his new appointment he administered the summer school program at Northwestern University.

Captain Chris Yalanis (M.A.. 1998) is busy teaching four sections of an introductory ethics course each semester at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The course focuses on basic issues of war and morality. Chris will present a paper on Claudia Card's "The Unnatural Lottery" to his department this month. Chris and his wife Mohini have purchased a home and are enjoying skiing in real snow. They have plenty of room for guests, and hope people will stop by when in the area. (Chris & Mohini Yalanis, 3570 Pony Tracks Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80922. (Phone: H 719-591-4311, W 719-333-4070, E-mail at home


Wednesdays at noon: our regular Brown Bag Series of informal philosophy talks continues.

Departmental Events:

Xinli Wang will defend his Ph.D. dissertation "Truth- Value Status, Ontological Commitments, and Incommensurability" 4:00 Friday April 23 in Manchester Hall Rm. 227. Major Advisor: Anne L. Hiskes. Associate Advisors: Austen Clark, Scott Lehmann, Sam Wheeler.

Upcoming Colloquia:

David Armstrong (University of Sydney) will present "A Naturalist Program--Epistemology and Ontology" on Thursday, April 15, 1999, at 3:30. In the Class of 1947 Conference Room, Homer Babbidge Library.

To see the complete listing of colloquia scheduled for spring please go to our Colloqium Series page.

Recent Colloquia:

Margaret Simons, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Director of Women's Studies at Southern Illinois University, presented a paper "The Second Sex, Beauvoirean Existentialism, and Richard Wright," on March 9.

Dr. Simons is the author of a recent book BEAUVOIR AND THE SECOND SEX: FEMINISM, RACE, AND THE ORIGINS OF EXISTENTIALISM. During her visit Dr. Simons generously spent nearly 5 hours discussing her work in several gatherings with students.

Dr. Bryan Norton gave the 5th Teale Lecture for 1998/99 on "Sustainability & Obligations to Future Generations" on March 23, 4:00 at the Dodd Center. Dr. Norton is Professor of Philosophy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and author of two groundbreaking books in environmental ethics: Why Preserve Natural Variety and Towards Unity Among Invironmentalists.


Gunnar Bjornsson will be in residence in the Philosophy Department for the academic year 1999-2000 as a Visiting Research Scholar from the University of Stockholm where he is currently teaching. Dr. Bjornsson received his Ph.D summer 1998 under Professor Lars Bergstrom. His dissertation dealt with the relations between ethics and cognitive science.

Departmental Profile--Joel Kupperman

The current reputation, intellectual vitality, and collegial atmosphere of the Department of Philosophy owes much to the presence and hard work of Joel Kupperman, who joined the department in 1960. Not only does Joel have a distinguished record of scholarship with four published monographs, 2 forthcoming books, 2 textbooks, and over 40 articles ranging over the fields of ethics, Asian philosophy, applied ethics, aesthetics, and metaphysics, but he also has a reputation as a stimulating and effective teacher and a distinguished record of service to the University of Connecticut. Joel served occasionally as Acting Head of the department and as Director of Graduate Studies for over 10 years, stepping down in 1988. He served for two terms each on the Faculty Review Board and the Committee of Three, and too many terms to count on the University Senate.

Joel grew up in Chicago and received his B.A. from the University of Chicago. At the age of 20 Joel left the familiar world of the Midwest and red flannel shirts for the alien world of Kings College Cambridge where he says he first learned to knot a tie. At Cambridge he did not spend all his time studying philosophy with his tutor R.B. Braithwaite or his dissertation advisor Jonathan Bennett. Joel continued with his chess, playing "First Board" on the King's College team and occasional games with the noted economist Pigou who also had rooms there. He joined a play reading society which he enjoyed immensely (E. M. Forster was a member), and developed a close and lasting friendship with the now well-known author Martin Bernal (of Black Athena fame).

After leaving Cambridge Joel migrated to New England, first spending a year at Harvard and then joining the University of Connecticut's Department of Philosophy with two other brand new colleagues, Steve McGrade and Andy Oldenquist. At that time the department consisted of only 7 or 8 faculty and had no graduate program. Obviously Joel has seen many changes in the department since then. Faculty, for example, are now more specialized than they once were. But one constant feature of the department, as Joel notes, has been the tolerance and mutual respect of the faculty for one another.

Although Joel has published in a number of different areas in philosophy, the unifying theme throughout his work is a concern with basic issues about justification and meaning in ethics. Joel's approach to these issues is distinctive in that he examines judgments of value in areas traditionally outside the domain of standard ethics, and uses these cases to illuminate the nature of morality. One particular source of insight to questions about the values people attach to different kinds of experiences or ways of life has been Joel's on-going interest in Asian philosophy as evidenced by his forthcoming books (Oxford UP) Learning from Asian Philosophy and Guide to Essential Texts of Asian Philosophy.

Joel is married to Karen Ordahl Kupperman, who is Professor of History at New York University. They have two sons. Charles is a journalist in North Carolina, and Michael is an illustrator in New York City whose work can be seen occasionally in The New Yorker.

This newsletter was designed by the Philosophy Department's Administrative Assistant Shelly Burelle. Please visit our website at: where this Newsletter is located for miscellaneous links, including links to abstracts, and colloquium updates.

Any questions or comments should be directed to Shelly at

Department of Philosophy
U-2054, 344 Mansfield Rd.
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2054
Telephone: 860-486-4416
Fax: 960-486-0387