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The University of Connecticut Philosophy Department Newsletter Vol. III, No. 2 May 2000

General Editors: Margaret Gilbert and Anne Hiskes. This issue edited by Anne Hiskes.

Welcome to the ninth issue of Cogitamus! It reports on the period of April 1, 2000 through July 31, 2000.

The next issue will come out in September. All news for September should be sent to Margaret Gilbert at

News Highlights: The Philosophy Department says "Good-bye" to Richard Fyffe, and extends its best wishes to Garry Brodsky as he retires from teaching. Congratulations also to Elise Springer and Keya Maitra on completing the Ph.D.

Best Wishes to Garry Brodsky

On Tuesday May 9, 2000 Garry Brodsky taught his last philosophy class at the University of Connecticut. Garry joined UConn's department of philosophy in 1963 where he joined Joel Kupperman and his former graduate school friend Steve McGrade.

Born in Brooklyn, NY to Russian and Polish immigrant parents, Garry was fortunate to have high school buddies - including the now well-known philosopher Richard "Dick" Bernstein - with whom he could pursue his high cultural interests of attending opera and the cinema, and chasing girls. Garry earned his B.A. at Brooklyn College where he became enamored with philosophy under the influence of his teacher, Prof. Bill Gehardt, who impressed Garry with his bow tie and civilized demeanor in spite of his Midwestern origins.

After a two-year stint in Korea with the US Army, Garry joined his high school friend Dick Bernstein as a philosophy graduate student at Yale, where he pursued his love for Kant's philosophy during a year's seminar with John Smith. Loving Kant, yet wishing to be an empiricist (but not a logical positivist or an empiricist of the British type), Garry saw Dewey's philosophy as a way to combine the two. Thus when Smith suggested Dewey's essays on logical theory as a dissertation topic, Garry jumped at the opportunity, and so began a life-long relationship with the Pragmatists.

Two valued features of his experience at Uconn, says Garry, were the opportunities to teach Nietzsche, the Pragmatists, Heidegger, and Hegel to both graduate and undergraduate students, and the collegial interactions with his colleagues in the department. Of course, that bottle of Gevery Chanbertin which he and Steve McGrade shared over Thanksgiving dinner in 1963 was pretty good too. Of his professional achievements, Garry is most proud of his 1997 article "Nietzsche's Notion of Amor Fati." and an essay "Jewish Identity and Cultural Identity."

Now that he will no longer be teaching, Garry looks forward to spending his mornings working on Nietzsche, his afternoons contributing to community political projects, and his evenings relaxing with music and occasionally with one of his prized bottles of 1975 Chateau Lafitte. Garry lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island with his wife Sara Lee Silberman, a historian at Connecticut College. Garry has one daughter who teaches kindergarten in California, and two step-daughters. Live long and prosper, Garry.

Good-bye to Richard Fyffe

The department of philosophy reluctantly says "Good-bye" to Richard Fyffe who has served the Department and the entire UConn Community with intelligence, dedication, and enthusiasm in several positions at the University Library.

Richard is currently Head of Collections Services, and has served as the University Library's liason to the Philosophy Department for the past 10 years in addition to being a part-time philosophy graduate student since 1994. In July, Richard (UConn BA 1979, MA 1998) will be leaving the University of Connecticut for a new position as Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communication at the University of Kansas Libraries in Lawrence, Kansas.

In his new position at Kansas he will be overseeing collection development and related operations within the Libraries as well as working with faculty, administration, and librarians to encourage new models of scholarly publishing and copyright management. This will probably not leave him much time to continue formal studies. Richard says that he will remember the UConn Philosophy Department with affection and respect. The feeling is reciprocated.



  • Susan Anderson is finishing her book "On Dostoevsky," for the Wadsworth Philosophers Series. She reports that it has been "challenging but worthwhile" reading Dostoevsky's novels, many of which are 700-900 pages in length.

  • Don Baxter's article "Hume's Puzzle about Identity," has recently appeared in Philosophical Studies98 (2000), pp. 187-201.

  • JC Beall recently published "Is the Observable World Consistent?" in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 78 (2000), No. 1, pp. 13-18. His two papers "Fitch's Proof, Verificationism, and the Knower Paradox" and "On Truthmakers for Negative Truths" will appear in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, June 2000.

  • Crawford Elder is the author of "Physicalism and the Fallacy of Composition," forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly, July 2000.

  • Joel Kupperman has published "Xunzi: Morality as Psychological Constraint", in Virtue, Nature, and Moral Agency in the Xunzi, eds. T.C. Kline III and Philip J. Ivanhoe (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000), 37-53; and "Feminism as Radical Confucianism: Self and Tradition", in The Sage and the Second Sex, ed. Chenyang Li (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 2000), 43-56.

  • Robert Luyster's "The Meaning of Peace in the Bhagavad Gita and the New Testament" appeared in The International Journal of Humanities and Peace, Vol. 15 (1999), pp. 39-41.

  • Steve McGrade (emeritus) has published "Natural Law and Moral Omnipotence" in the recent Cambridge Companion to Ockham. As this edition of Cogitamus goes to press, Steve has just finished reviewing page proofs of the 654 page Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts, Volume II: Ethics and Political Philosophy, ed. A.S. McGrade, John Kilcullen, and Matthew Kempshall, Cambridge University Press. Steve is the general editor, and translator of over 50% of the material. In addition, his paper "What Aquinas Should have Said? Finnis's Reconstruction of Social and Political Thomism" is forthcoming in American Journal of Jurisprudence.

  • Diana Tietjens Meyers recently published two papers: "Feminist Perspectives on the Self" is on line in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and "Intersectional Identity and the Authentic Self? Opposites Attract!" in Relational Autonomy, ed., by Catriona Mackenzie and Natalie Stoljar. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2000].
  • Ruth Millikan will soon finish a paper "Purposes and Crosspurposes: On the Evolution of Language and Languages," for The Monist, Vol. 84, No. 3 (July 2001), in a Special Issue The Epidemiology of Ideas, Dan Sperber, ed.


  • Susan Anderson will present a paper, "Pressures in Contemporary Society Discouraging People from Examining their Values," at a conference on "Modernity and Moral Identity" in Helsinki, Finland in August, 2000.

  • Don Baxter is slated to present "Hume on Steadfast Objects and Time" at the 27th Hume Conference in Williamsburg, VA, in July,

  • J.C. Beall will be giving two talks at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). The first paper is "Speaking of Gluts", to be given in May, and the second paper is "Priest's Recipe for Explosive Curry", to be given in July.

  • Margaret Gilbert will be on a European "lecture tour" between June 15th and July 15th. She will be a guest of the Technische Universitat, Dresden, Germany, for the last two weeks of June, where she will present two talks "Social Ontology and Political Obligation" and "Values, Social Unity, and Liberty", and conduct a weekend graduate and undergraduate class on political obligation. Then she goes to the University of Leipzig to give a lecture "Acting Together", and to participate in a debate and a one-day conference-workshop on her 1989 book, On Social Facts. As a grand finale, Margaret travels to Rotterdam in the Netherlands where she will be an invited main speaker at a workshop on social ontology.

  • Anne Hiskes will present a paper "Van Fraassen's Constructive Empiricism and Religious Belief: Prospects for a Unified Epistemology" on May 27 as part of the conference "Realism and AntiRealism" at Calvin College.

  • On May 25 Joel Kupperman will give the William O. Douglas lecture, "Character and Virtue Ethics", at Central Washington University; and on May 26 he will give a Philosophy Colloquium, "The Structures of Ethics".

  • In April Gary Levvis (Lecturer), presented a paper "Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomena: A View from Linguistics" at the APA Pacific Division Meetings in Albuquerque. The paper was part of a discussion of what phenomenology can contribute to cognitive science, and Gary represented the "not much" position.

  • Diana Tietjens Meyers heads off to England to present "Culture, Autonomy, and Female Genital Cutting," at the conference Gendering Ethics/The Ethics of Gender at the University of Leeds, June 23-25.

  • On April 13 Ruth Millikan presented a paper "A Suggestion about Exaptations" at the Dubrovnik Conference on Philosophy of Science, and on April 15 she presented "Kantian Reflections on Animal Minds", at the Conference on the Evolution of the Intelligent Mind, Centre for Philosophical Studies, King's College, London. On June 17 Ruth will act as Chair for the Memorial session for Ullin Place, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, at Barnard-Columbia. And it is off to Italy at the end of June with three scheduled events: 1) Presentation of "On Language Conventions", Conference on Communication and Cognition: Towards a New Science of Communication, University of Bologna, June 29; 2)"Public Language and Internalized Language", a workshop by Ruth Millikan and Paul Bloom, University of Bologna, June 29; and 3) "Perception and Communication" (Speakers: Paolo Bozzi and Paolo Leonardi), Discussants: Ruth Millikan and Cristina Cacciari, University of Bologna, June 30.

  • Samuel C. Wheeler III is going to Prague for the conference "Pragmatism and Semantics" June 21-24, where he will read "Indeterminacy, Pragmatism, and Truth-Values".


In his role as Director of the Council on Peace Education Robert Luyster organized and acted as principal sponsor for a presentation by Denis J. Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General, United Nations, entitled "Genocide in Iraq," at the Thomas J. Dodd Center, May 1, 2000.

Diana Tietjens Meyers has been appointed to the APA Committee on the Status of Women and will begin her term in June 2000.


Congratulations to Margaret Gilbert for winning one of the two annual AAUP awards for Excellence in Research. The other award was given to Jerry Yang of cow-cloning fame. Margaret was honored at a ceremony at the State Capital, and enjoyed seeing state government in action.



Miscellaneous Items

Congratulations to Elise Springer who successfully defended her dissertation "Critical Virtues: Evaluative Moves and the Emergence of Moral Agency" (Advisor: Kupperman) on April 26. Elise has accepted a one-year appointment at Syracuse University for the year 2000/01.

Keya Maitra will defend her dissertation entitled "Our Knowledge About our Own Mental States: An Externalist Account" on May 22. Keya is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the College of Staten Island (CUNY).


Kevin Brodie (M.A. 1996) teaches high school in Lebanon, CT. This past year he conducted an independent study "Introduction to Philosophy" with 12 students, and the course has been approved as a year-long course for the coming year with 38 students already enrolled. Kevin plans to cover topics such as "Freedom and Determinism", "God and Religion", and "Mind and Body". In addition he will do a unit on peace and justice, which is inspired by the Peace Education classes that are part of the Japanese school curriculum. This past fall Kevin won a fullbright to study education in Japan. Kevin can be contacted at

Inna Kupreeva (M.A. 1995) presented two papers this past year. She presented "Greek Sources of Arabic Theories of Internal Senses" at the International Workshop on Medieval Philosphical Psychology at the University of Jyv.skul. (Finland) in November, and presented "Aristotle on Growth" ("On Generation and Corruption", bk. 1, ch. 5) at the Central APA in Chicago in the end of April. In addition Inna published a review in the online Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 99.10.18. on a recent volume in the Cornell-Duckworth "Aristotelian Commentators" series which contains translations of Priscian's paraphrase of Theophrastus' de sensu by P. Huby and a section on sense-perception from Ps.-Simplicius' de anima commentary by C. Steel (with J.O. Urmson, notes by P. Lautner)

Joel Marks (Ph.D.) is happy to announce that he will be a regular columnist for the magazine Philosophy NOW as of Issue No. 27. Joel has been an occasional columnist for the New Haven Register for many years, as well as their regular stargazing ("Star Notes") columnist since September. The new column in Philosophy NOW will be called "Moral and Other Moments" and will probably focus on ethical issues, but Joel is free to choose his topics as he pleases.

Chris Yalanis (M.A. 1998) continues to teach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He recently gave a talk "The Virtue? of Obedience" in which he explored the nature of obedience and the relationship between one's moral autonomy and positions of ignorance (lack of moral certainty). He plans to continue this research. Chris also hopes to run another marathon this summer, either the Denver marathon, or the Pike's Peak Ascent and Marathon, which spans 7500 vertical feet up and down.


Ruth Millikan plans to take scuba diving lessons and become PADI certified so that she can go diving with daughter Aino this summer in the Carribean and next summer at the Great Barrier Reef!! She is looking forward to spending time this July at her ancestral family's island in Voyageurs National Park, where she and daughters Aino and Tasha will introduce Swedish postdoc Gunnar Bjornsson and friend Jun to the former destination of many Swedish immigrants.

This newsletter is designed by the Philosophy Department's Program 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: 860-486-0387