Welcome Back Everyone!
And Special Welcome to Professor Jennifer Saul!
The Department’s biggest news this Fall 2019 term is the welcoming of a brand new, very distinguished colleague, faculty member, author, and mentor: Professor Jenny Saul. Jenny works in philosophy of language, feminism, philosophy of race, and philosophy of psychology; she will be joining us as the Waterloo Chair in Social and Political Philosophy of Language and will be teaching courses in the Philosophy Department and the new Gender and Social Justice Program, which has just launched this term.
Professor Saul is the author of several books and many articles, including her most recent book Lying, Misleading and What is Said: An Exploration in Philosophy of Language and in Ethics(Oxford University Press 2012):
Dr. Saul has supervised PhD students working on names, indexicals, implicature, gender, sexual objectification, vagueness, indexicals, reference, justice, cosmopolitanism and feminism, epistemic/communicative injustice, semantic minimalism, lying, feminist philosophy of science, the family, philosophy of sex, and autonomy. She is the President of the Mind Association for 2019-2020, and was the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Woman Philosopher Award in Washington, DC. You can read more about Jenny at her personal website: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/philosophy/staff/profiles/saul
When asked about the big move from Sheffield in the UK to Canada, Dr. Saul said: “The move has been both chaotic and lovely. The chaos is due to unfortunate complications which have meant that since late July my family and I have had no home and just a couple suitcases’ worth of possessions. The loveliness is due to the really wonderful people in Waterloo who are, successively, taking us in. We are amazed by the kindness and generosity of folks here. So far, we are having a great time in Canada — we went to an astounding Syrian Flamenco concert and we love (perhaps a bit too much!) the butter tarts. And we are realizing that we have a lot to learn about barbecuing after our many years on the soggy British isles.”
About some of her professional plans during her first year here in the Department, Jenny comments that: “I’ll be teaching Social Justice and Philosophy of Language in the Fall, and Philosophy of Sex in the Winter. I’m also hoping to start a feminist philosophy reading group. One of the big attractions of this department for me is the large number of people working feminist philosophy.” We are honoured to welcome Professor Saul as a faculty member in our Department!
Doreen Fraser also has huge news to report. Doreen won a SSHRC Insight Grant for a new five-year project, “How Mid-Level Frameworks are Used to Develop New Theories in Physics.” She reports: “This project will build on my research on analogies by characterizing related strategies used to transfer theoretical frameworks from one physical theory to another. The ultimate goal is to determine how these heuristics could be fruitfully applied right now in particle physics and quantum gravity. Also, I just returned from Salzburg, Austria where I gave a talk on spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum statistical mechanics and quantum field theory at the Symmetries and Equivalence workshop put on by the Irvine-London-Munich-Polimi-Salzburg network in philosophy of physics.”
Katy Fulfer’s conference travel took her out West this summer. She began in Vancouver at Congress in early June. At the Canadian Philosophical Association, Katy discussed commodification critiques and their relevance to Canada’s approach to regulating surrogacy.
Katy also organized and moderated a panel discussion on Jackie Feke‘s recent book, Ptolemy’s Philosophy: Mathematics as a Way of Life. “This was one of the best book panels I’ve ever attended”, Katy reports. “The conversation ranged from focused discussions about Jackie’s arguments, to considering unexplored implications of the arguments, to asking new questions generated by Jackie’s work. The entire panel engaged in the conversation with each other, and their excitement for Jackie’s work reconstructing Ptolemy’s philosophical system was evident.”
In July, Katy traveled to San Francisco for the North American Society for Social Philosophy annual conference. There, she presented a paper which drew on Hannah Arendt’s conception of the public/private distinction and responsibility to analyze Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. For the fall, Katy will be headed eastward, where she will be a Visiting Scholar at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, continuing her research on Arendt and refugees.
Since the last blog post, Shannon Dea informs us that: “I’ve had three scholarly publications come out, two of them pieces I co-authored with former PhD supervisees of mine”:
- Shannon Dea and Matthew Silk, “Sympathetic Knowledge and the Scientific Attitude: Classic Pragmatist Resources for Feminist Social Epistemology” in Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson and Nikolaj Pedersen, Eds. The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology (New York and London: Routledge, 2019).
- Shannon Dea and Nathan Haydon, “From the Experimentalist Disposition to the Absolute: Peirce’s Pragmatic Naturalism” in Paul Giladi, Ed. Responses to Naturalism: Critical Perspectives From Idealism and Pragmatism (New York: Routledge, 2019).
- Shannon Dea, “Electronics in the Classroom. Time to Hit the Escape Key?” in Chris MacDonald and Lewis Vaughn, The Power of Critical Thinking, 5th Canadian Edition. (Don Mills, Oxford University Press Canada: 2019).
Shannon has also been awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project “Academic Freedom in a Non-Ideal World.”
Also at Congress, at UBC in June, Shannon was one of three University Affairs columnists who took part in a well-attended panel celebrating that magazine’s 60th anniversary. The topic was “Looking Ahead in Higher Ed: What Keeps You Up at Night?” Here is a University Affairs article about that panel: https://www.universityaffairs.ca/news/news-article/looking-ahead-in-higher-ed-what-keeps-university-affairs-columnists-up-at-night/. She also organized a CPA panel called “Pragmatism on the Darkest Timeline,” at which I gave the talk, “Viewpoint Diversity and the Final Opinion.” The participants are depicted here, on a Vancouver city bus:
Dr. Dea also details a whole bunch of recent media engagement and public scholarship, on a wide range of topics:
- “I was one of the discussants in the two-part “What is Love?” symposium hosted by Rob Faucher’s and Paul Fairfield’s Philosophy Crush podcast. The symposium was a kind of mini UW Philosophy reunion. Faucher and Fairfield are UW alumni, as am I and fellow symposium participant Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray.”
- “An interview I did with John Semley made its way into his story for The Walrus on campus free speech issues: https://thewalrus.ca/are-university-campuses-where-free-speech-goes-to-die/”
- “Three new columns in my University Affairs series, Dispatches on Academic Freedom”:
- “Sometimes Refraining From Speech is Good”
- “Academic Freedom, Scholarly Responsibility, and the New Gender Wars”
- “Three Ways Professors Can Support Academic Freedom as We Head Back to School”
- Lori Campbell, Shannon Dea, and Laura McDonald, “The Role of Faculty Associations Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Academic Matters.
- “The Uproar Over Taking ‘Man’ Out of ‘Manhole’,” The Conversation. [Reprinted in various Canadian and international publications.
“This last story,” Shannon explains, “actually evolved out of a series of 12 CBC Radio interviews I did about a new municipal ordinance in Berkeley, California to remove gendered language from the municipal code.” Here are CBC links about that story:
and 6. Shannon Dea and Ted McCormick, “Can ‘progress studies’ contribute to knowledge? History suggests caution,” The Conversation (August 2019) [reprinted in various Canadian and international publications.]
Shannon was also the moderator for “Creating Effective Activism and Change” Stratford Community Dialogues series, University of Waterloo Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business:
And Shannon informs us about two new initiatives. First: “I launched a local satellite of Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, and activist Pam Palmater’s new Reconciliation Book Club. The local meet-up, which launched Wed., Sept. 4 to a packed room, is a partnership between the new Gender and Social Justice program, which is housed in the Philosophy Department, and Wordsworth Books.”
And secondly: “Daniel Weinstock (McGill) and I formalized our ongoing collaboration on the philosophy of harm reduction by creating the Canadian Harm Reduction Theory Network, or CHaRT Network. The inaugural network includes philosophy, law, political theory, and public health scholars, and frontline harm reduction workers from Canada and the United Kingdom.”
Finally, since last Spring, the Dept has news about 3 books: one on sex and love by our Chair, Patricia Marino; another on business ethics edited by Greg Andres; and one on war by Brian Orend.
Patricia’s book, published by Routledge in late April, is Philosophy of Sex and Love: An Opinionated Introduction.
Patricia’s book explores vital issues surrounding sex and love in today’s world, among them consent, objectification, non-monogamy, racial stereotyping, and the need to reconcile contemporary expectations about gender equality with our beliefs about how love works. There are further, fascinating chapters about sex and love as viewed through the prisms of economics, medicine, disability, and the law. Patricia in general argues that we cannot fully understand these issues by focusing only on individual desires and choices. Instead, we need to examine the social contexts within which choices are made and acquire their meanings. That perspective, she argues, is especially needed today, when the values of individualism, self-expression, and self-interest permeate our lives. She asks, pointedly, how we can fit such values with the generosity, caring, and selflessness we expect in love and sex.
We’ll have more on Patricia’s book in this Fall’s issue of The Rational Enquirer, our online e-magazine for department alums. In the meantime, see Routledge’s website for the book: https://www.routledge.com/Philosophy-of-Sex-and-Love-An-Opinionated-Introduction/Marino/p/book/9781138391000. And watch this podcast interview with her about it: https://newbooksnetwork.com/patricia-marino-philosophy-of-sex-and-love-routledge-2019/
Greg Andres, who this summer completed a cross-country bike tour of Canada (!), reports that: “What started as a business ethics working group years ago with members in the department has evolved into a writer’s co-operative with a forthcoming business ethics text from Oxford University Press. Many people throughout the years have been involved in some way or another with shaping the vision of this text. Many thanks for support from colleagues who encouraged us to write a textbook that we would want to teach from. We deliver a complete manuscript to OUP this fall and we are looking forward to a publication date of January 2021. The contributors are Bill Abbott, Greg Andres, Vanessa Correia, Sandie DeVries, Jim Jordan, Dylon McChesney, Jamie Sewell, Andy Stumpf, Chris Wass, and Sara Weaver.”
And Brian Orend’s War and Polity Theory was published in May by Polity: http://politybooks.com/bookdetail/?isbn=9781509524969
Enjoy the start of the new academic year!