Professor Jennifer Baker will be delivering a speech on Visible Hands: Virtue and the Market at James Madison University on September 16 at 5:30 in the evening.
Professor Thomas Nadelhoffer will be speaking at the Buffalo Annual Experimental Philosophy Conference at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY on September 11th & 12th.
Professor Sheridan Hough’s book Kierkegaard’s The Dancing Tax Collector: Faith, Finitude, and Silence has been published by Oxford University Press.
From the Publisher:
Kierkegaard’s account of the life of faith turns on an astonishing claim: a person living faithfully continually enjoys, and takes part in, everything. What can this assertion actually mean? The pseudonymous author of Fear and Trembling, Johannes de silentio, imagines what such a human being might look like; indeed, as de silentio puts it, “He looks just like a tax collector.” This seemingly ordinary person, in his “movements” of faith, finds infinite significance and an absorbing joy in his environment, from moment to moment. How does he do it? This characterization of faithful comportment is unique in the Kierkegaardian corpus, and becomes the tantalizing centerpiece of an exploration of the Kierkegaardian self.
Sheridan Hough embarks on a groundbreaking “existential/ phenomenological” investigation of the uncanny abilities of the faithful life through an analysis of Kierkegaard’s “spheres of existence”; each sphere reveals a specific kind of significance, and indeed a way of “being in the world.” Hough employs a distinctively original narrative voice, one that examines Kierkegaard’s ontology from the perspective of his pseudonymous voices, and from the characters that they create. This approach is both descriptive and diagnostic: by understanding what someone living out an aesthetic, ethical, or a religious existence seeks to achieve, the phenomenon of the faithful life, and its demands, comes into sharper focus. This faith is not simply some thought about God’s greatness-indeed, the “propositional content” of faith is a central issue of the book. Instead, Hough argues that Kierkegaardian faith is the hallmark of the fullest flowering of a human life, one achieved in ways only hinted at in the demeanor of the cheerful and enigmatic “tax collector,” an existential task in which “temporality, finitude is what it is all about.”
Professor Rachel McKinnon’s book The Norms of Assertion: Truth, Lies, and Warrant has been published by Palgrave MacMillan Press.
From the publisher:
Suppose that you ask me what time an upcoming meeting starts, and I say, ‘4 p.m.’ Whenever we make claims like this, we’re asserting. If the meeting is really at 3:30 p.m., you’ll be late, and probably rather upset that I told you the wrong time. In some sense, it seems like I’m on the hook for having said something false. This sense that I’ve done something wrong suggests that there are certain standards of evaluating assertions: a way of distinguishing between good and bad, appropriate and inappropriate. We call these standards norms.
This book is about the norms of assertion. Various philosophers have typically attempted to articulate the level of epistemic support required for properly asserting. Some argue, for example, that one must know what one asserts. Others argue that one merely needs to justifiably believe what one asserts–an epistemic standing weaker than knowledge. The purpose of this book is to defend what I propose as the central norm governing our practice of assertion, which I call the Supportive Reasons Norm (SRN).
In rough outline, the standards for warrantedly asserting shift with changes in context, although knowledge is never required for warrantedly asserting. In fact, in some special contexts, speakers may warrantedly lie. This latter feature particularly sets apart my view from others in the debate.
On a beautiful spring day (May 16), nine philosophy majors walked across the Cistern to receive their diplomas and join the ranks of CofC alumni. (Four additional students completed their degrees, but chose not to attend the commencement ceremonies). It is a privilege to be able to teach such fine young men and women. Congratulations to our 2015 graduates and award winners!
2015 Graduates: (double major noted in parentheses)
Chris Carron (Psychology)
William Price (Political Science)
Rebecca Stanley (Political Science)
Jordan van Horn
Jake Webb (Math; Honors College)
2015 Award Winners: The following award winners were recognized at a departmental luncheon.
Outstanding Students: Jordan van Horn, Chris Carron
Departmental Honors: Jake Webb
HSS Scholars: Rebecca Stanley and Jake Webb
Career Plans: Gabriel Davidson and Jake Webb have accepted teaching positions (in Baltimore, MD and France, respectively). William Price will attend the University of Connecticut Law School. Chris Carron, Patrick Ferri, Thomas Garrison Rebecca Stanley, Jordan van Horn, and Jake Webb all plan to apply to graduate or professional schools, with interests in philosophy, psychology, law school, and the ministry.
Women continue to be under-represented in the discipline of philosophy; for example, only about 30% of PhDs in philosophy are awarded to women. To address this problem at the local level, students and faculty decided to create a new student organization – Women in Philosophy (WiP). According to the Rebecca Stanley, president of WiP, the group was founded to create a safe space for undergraduates to discuss current issues in Philosophy, including feminism. The group includes both male and female students. Although only in its first year as a recognized student group, WiP has hit the ground running. Under the leadership of Stanley and Professor Sheridan Hough (faculty advisor), WiP already has dedicated group of students who meet twice a month. Topics this year ranged from scholarly discussions of Simone de Beauvoir and Edith Stein, to films and TV shows (from Agora and Hannah Arendt to Archer). When Sally Haslanger (an eminent philosopher at MIT and founder of WiP at the University of California, Berkeley – pictured left) recently visited the College, WiP students had a wonderful opportunity to meet Haslanger and discuss her work over lunch.
The faculty in the department believe it is crucial to insure that we reach out to all of our students. We hope that the creation of WiP will make the department a more inviting place for all of our students to explore the rich world of philosophical ideas.
Because philosophy is excellent preparation for graduate school, quite a few of our alums attend graduate school – some in philosophy, some in other fields. Here is the latest news on alumni pursuing graduate work.
Adam Briskin-Limehouse (‘06) served in the Peace Corps in Suriname and is now working toward a Masters in Public Policy at John’s Hopkins, focusing on health care policy.
Daniel Threet (‘06) received an MA from the University of Houston and is now pursuing a PhD at Georgetown University, focusing on political philosophy.
Andrew Aghapour (‘07) received an M.Phil in history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University and is a doctoral candidate studying religion and science at University of North Carolina. Andrew recently gave a lecture at CofC, entitled “The Religion of Homo Nexus: Neuroplasticity and the Age of Enhancement.”
Damon Hansen (‘07) is studying particle physics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Laura Pustarfi Reddick (‘07), received an MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion at California Institute of Integral Studies.
Greg Trotter (‘10) received an MA in philosophy from Loyola University (Chicago) and is now pursuing a PhD at Marquette, focusing on 20th century continental philosophers such as Sartre and Lacan.
Daniel Weissglass (‘11) is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the City University of New York, focusing on the foundations of cognitive science.
Javier Gomez-Lavin (‘12) is in the PhD program in philosophy at the City University of New York.
Amberjade Mwekali Taylor (12) is studying international development at George Washington University.
If you’re in graduate school and were inadvertently omitted from this list, we apologize. Please send us your information and we’ll include you in a future newsletter!
On January 16th -17th, the department hosted our first “PhilosoFest” – a mini-conference to present faculty research to the College community. Valerie Tiberius (University of Minnesota, pictured) gave a keynote lecture entitled “Well-Being, Virtues, and Personal Projects.” The two-day conference included lectures by six College faculty and lots of philosophical discussion!
“Students usually see professors as teachers” notes department chair, Todd Grantham. “This conference gave them a chance to see their professors as researchers, too.” Throughout the weekend, there were many opportunities for students, faculty, and the keynote speaker to discuss philosophy over meals and between sessions. Six faculty presented their research:
• Jennifer Baker, “White Privilege and Virtue”
• Christian Coseru, “Reflexive Sensibility: The Bedrock of Consciousness”
• Daniela Goya-Tocchetto & Thomas Nadelhoffer, “The Lottery of Life and Moral Desert: An Interdisciplinary Investigation”
• Ned Hettinger, “Prospects for Aesthetic Protectionism”
• Glenn Lesses, “Socrates the Stoic: Agency and Rational eros in the Symposium”
• Rachel McKinnon, “Troll or Truth: On the Norms of Anonymous Assertions”
Our second “PhilosoFest” (October 9th-10th) will include presentations by professors Boyle, Grantham, Hough, Krasnoff, Neufeld, and Nunan, with keynote lectures from Susan Wolf and Kristi Dotson. Alumni are welcome to join us for PhilosoFest 2!