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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. II, No. 3 May 1999

Edited by Margaret Gilbert, Anne Hiskes

Welcome to the fifth issue of Cogitamus! It reports on the period of March 25, 1999 to August 28, 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.

Highlights: Congratulations to the graduating Ph.D's and a Profile of Rob Grover.

Proposed items for inclusion in the next issue (expected publication date September 15, 1999) should be given or (preferably) emailed to



Crawford Elder (Aka "Tim") is publishing his paper "What Sensory Signals are About" in the so-called "October 1998" issue of Analysis, which will in fact come out in early June, 1999.

Margaret Gilbert has three forthcoming journal articles. Her article "Social Rules: Some Problems for Hart's Account, and an Alternative Proposal" will be the lead article in Law and Philosophy. "Obligation and Joint Commitment" will appear shortly in Utilitas, and her "Critical Study of Harman and Thomson's Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity" will appear in Nous. In addition she has written a review of Annette Baier's The Commons of the Mind for Ethics, Vol. 109, No. 4, July 1999.

Margaret also reports that Rowman and Littlefield has agreed to publish a second collection of her essays, tentatively titled Sociality and Responsibility: New Essays in Plural Subject Theory.

Congratulations to Joel Kupperman on the anticipated August publication of his new book Learning From Asian Philosophy (New York: Oxford) In addition, Joel's paper "Virtues, Character, and Moral Dispositions" will appear sometime this summer in Virtue Ethics and Moral Education, eds. David Carr and Jan Steutel (London: Routledge), pp. 199-209.

Ruth Millikan's paper "Wings, Spoons, Quills and Pills; A Pluralist Theory of Functions" appeared in the April issue of Journal of Philosophy, pp. 191-206. In addition, her "Biosemantics" was reprinted in J. Crumley ed., Problems in Mind: Readings in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind (Mayfield Publishing 1999).

Diana Meyers published "Miroir, Memoire, Mirage: Appearance, Aging, and Women," in Mother Time, edited by Margaret Urban Walker, Rowman and Littlefield.

Robert Phillips published "Deconstructing the Mass: the Hidden Agenda by the Liturgical Reform", Latin Mass Quarterly, Winter, 1999.

"Arms as Insurance" by Sam C. Wheeler III was the lead article in Public Affairs Quarterly, April 1999.


Susan Anderson participated in the Pacific Division Meeting of the APA as commentator on the paper "Freedom, Foreknowledge, and the Principle of Alternate Possibilities" by Kadri Vihvelin of USC.

Thomas Bontly will present his paper "In Defense of Naturalizing" at the Naturalism, Evolution, and Mind conference in Edinburgh, Scotland July 14-17. The conference is sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.

Margaret Gilbert has numerous talks scheduled for this summer. She has been invited to give the opening talk at the International Workshop on Collective Intentionality in Munich June 11-13. Then she zips over to Finland to give an invited lecture at the International Conference on Social Institutions and Social Reality (June 17-19) to be held in Jyvaskala. Also in June she is scheduled to present her paper "Collective Remorse" at the University of Turku in Finland. Margaret plans to end her summer speaking tour by giving an invited talk at the International Congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science in Cracow, Poland in late August.

Rob Grover will give a paper "Hobbes and Globalization" at Pace University in June.

Anne Hiskes will participate in a panel discussion of Barbara Katz Rothman's book Genetic Maps and Human Imaginations: The Limits of Science in Understanding Who we Are (1998, W.W. Norton & Co.) at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Chicago, August 3-9.

Ruth Millikan is scheduled to give a series of talks abroad. May 24-29 she will give four days of faculty seminars for the cognitive science group at University of Bologna, using her almost completed book on concepts along with some material on language. Later Ruth travels to Maribor, Slovenia where she will deliver her paper "Abilities" as the invited plenary speaker for the European Society for Analytic Philosophy, June 30-July 4. She is also an invited speaker at the Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference (July 14-17) on Naturalism, Evolution and Mind, in Edinburgh, where she will present "What has Natural Information to do with Intentional Representation?" Ruth has also recently completed an impressive stint of talks in the U.S.A. She devoted 10 hours to discussing her work through talks, seminars, and informal meetings with philosophers and psychologists at Rice University, Houston, TX in April. On April 27 she presented her paper "Why There are no Rules of Language" at the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science series (platform with Robert Brandom, U.Pittsburgh).

Diana Meyers gave the Irving Thalberg Memorial Lecture at the University of Illinois, Chicago on April 23, presenting her paper "Decentralizing Autonomy: Five Faces of Selfhood". In addition, she presented "Intersectional Identity and the Authentic Self? Opposites Attract" at a session sponsored by the Society for Women in Philosophy at the Pacific APA meetings in Berkeley. Diana's summer plans include delivering an invited lecture on female genital cutting, culture, and women's autonomy at the World Congress on Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy sponsored by the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, June 24-30 in New York City.

John Troyer read his paper "Matter and Occult Qualities" at a conference held by the International Berkeley Society in Newport April 22-25.


Susan Anderson recently refereed a paper "The Conceptual Distinction between Suicide and Death Management" for the Journal of Ethics.

Don Baxter proxied for Steve McGrade in an M.A. oral defense and a Ph.D. qualifying exam oral for the Medieval Studies program.

June 9 and 10 Anne Hiskes will conduct several seminars on "Ethical Issues in Scientific Research" for the UConn Department of Chemistry's National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. She also served on the AAUP negotiating team in the recent rounds of negotiations over merit pay.

Based on his recent book Humanitarian Interventions, Robert Phillips spoke on both ABC radio news and CBS radio news about the situation in Kosovo



Erik Anderson's paper "Liberal Neutrality, Public Reason, and the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment" has been accepted for publication in a collection of essays entitled Civility and Its Discontents to be published by the University of Kansas Press. He has also written a review of Amy Gutmann's new book, Freedom of Association which will appear later this year in a journal called Philosophy in Review.


Gordon Stevenson will present his paper "Naturalizing Intentional Kinds: A Beginner's Guide" at the Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference on Naturalism, Evolution and Mind, to be held Edinburgh, Scotland, July 14-17.

Jessica Prata Miller delivered a paper "The Moral Value of Trust", at the 27th Conference on Value Inquiry on April 23.


Erik Anderson has been accepted for a summer graduate seminar with Professor Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale Divinity School entitled "Foundationalism in Politics: Liberalism, Natural Law Theory, and the Pluralist Alternative." The seminar, which is being sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, runs for two weeks in June at St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. Each participant receives a stipend as well as money for all travel expenses.

Jessica Prata Miller has been named University of Northern Florida's Interim Director of Women's Studies. She has also been appointed to the Advisory Board for UNF's new Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions.


Departmental Events

The first UConn Cognitive Science Conference was held on April 30- May 1 with several members of the philosophy department participating. Tom Bontly ("Reductionism"), Ruth Millikan ("Empirical Concepts") and Austen Clark ("Perception and the Explanatory Gap") presented brief talks. Virgil Whitmyer presented his research "Against the Use of Isomorphism in Psychology" in a poster session. This conference represents the first major collaboration between the members of the Cognitive Science Research Focus Group which includes members from five departments (Anthropology, computer Science and Engineering, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology). For more information on Cognitive Science at Uconn see the Web site

Congratulations to all the new Philosophy Ph.D.s. This spring the department had an unprecedented number of Ph.D. dissertation defenses.

On April 23, 1999 Xinli Wang defended his dissertation "Truth-Value Gaps, Ontological Commitments, and Incommensurability" (Advisor: Hiskes). Xinli has accepted a tenure track position at Juniata College in Huntington, PA. Juniata College is a small, private liberal arts college (1400 students). Xinli, his wife Ling, and daughter Jenny will be moving to Pennsylvania this summer.

Andy Aavatsmark defended his dissertation "Individualism and Explanation in Cognitive Psychology" (Advisor: Millikan) on April 29, 1999.

Jessica Prata Miller defended her Ph.D. dissertation "Trust, Moral Ties, and Social Responsibility" on May 3. (Advisor: Meyers). Jessica has completed her first year in a tenure-track position at Northern Florida State University.

On May 14 Matt Berry defended his dissertation "Perception and Intention" (Advisor: Troyer). Matt is currently working in the computer industry.

Summer Fun

Philosophers also know how to have fun. Ruth Millikan plans to go scuba diving with daughter Aino and Aino's friend John on a tiny island off Honduras at the end of May.

John Troyer will spend at least part of the summer in his pumpkin patch raising gigantic mutant pumpkins. And if you leave home, be sure to wear sunglasses so that you aren't blinded by the brand new, bright red Ford 150 4x4-v8 pickup truck of Samuel C. Wheeler III. Sam said that he bought the truck in order to return to his roots.

Departmental Profile--Rob Grover (by Anne Hiskes)

Rob's favorite student joke: At the end of his final exam in an introductory ethics course, a student wrote "Thanks for a good course. I always wondered why Youth-in-Asia was philosophically important."

Robinson Grover, aka "Rob", will be retiring from the University of Connecticut's Philosophy Department on June 30 after 35 years of service. This past April Rob and Nancy Grover graciously invited the department to their photo studio in Hartford where many members of the department indulged their aesthetic senses while also enjoying food, drink, and conversation. Thank you Rob and Nancy.

Rob grew up on the East Side of New York City, attended Deerfield Academy, and received his B.A. in philosophy from Yale in 1958. Unlike many of his college friends who settled on a major only after years of drifting, Rob knew as a freshman that philosophy was his destiny after taking a philosophy course with Professor Chet Lieb. Rob describes the Yale Philosophy Department in those days as a "zoo" in the sense that the department tried to collect one of each (natural?) kind of philosopher. The result was a rich undergraduate experience, in which Rob could study logical positivism with Arthur Pap and idealism with the last living true idealist Brand Blanshard. In graduate school at Brown University, Rob studied logic with Wes Salmon and epistemology with Chisolm, and he is especially grateful for the guidance of Joel Feinberg in the areas of political philosophy and ethics. Rob completed his Ph.D. with the dissertation "The Notion of Coercion in Plato, Hobbes, and Marx" under the direction of John Ladd.

While Rob appreciates the fact that he enjoyed "as good an education as you could get " in the 1950's and early 1960's, he notes that the world of those elite, male educational institutions was a rather narrow world. Rob's first encounter in an educational context with the "Other", namely a live, human female, occurred in graduate school. . "Yale is now much the better because of the women", says Rob, comparing the Yale of 1958 to the Yale of 1976 when he returned to earn an M.A. in Legal Studies. Exposure to nonWestern ways of thinking in the 1950's was also limited. Going to college in the years between the Korean War and the Vietnam War meant that his cohort lived in blissful ignorance of the nonEuropean world. Rob's first job as an ABD in 1964 was on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut. After leaving Storrs to finish his dissertation, he accepted a job at UConn's Torrington campus as the only philosopher where for decades he has taught the full range of introductory philosophy courses, his specialties in philosophy of law and political theory, Science 240, and a seminar on Hobbes. Rob's record of service to the university is impressive. In addition to numerous terms on the University Senate, the AAUP executive committee, and other committees as the representative for the regional campuses, Rob served as the Director of the Torrington campus from 1983-86 when he successfully fought against attempts to close that campus. Most recently Rob has been Vice-President and President of the UConn AAUP.

Reflecting on his experiences as a teacher and sole philosopher at a regional campus, he is candid in recognizing the dangers of becoming out of date and losing touch with the profession as a result of lack of graduate students and colleagues. As an antidote to this danger, Rob participated for the past 20 years in the Yale "Legal Theory Workshop". Teaching returning students (making up more than 50% of his students by Rob's estimate) is also a mixed blessing. What they may lack in flexible thinking and courage to try new approaches, they make up in insights gained through life experience.

Rob's retirement plans include writing, study, travel, art collecting, and enjoying summers with Nancy at their home on Long Island. In June Rob will give a paper "Hobbes and Globalization" in which he argues that we are closer to Hobbes' state of nature now than we have been in the past 50 years. Thanks to Rob on behalf of his students, colleagues, and university for a job well done. Best wishes for a retirement that is not, as Hobbes would say, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".


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
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