Wednesday April 17, 2013

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Another great campus photo by Vicki Brett.

Hi everyone, first we have a bit of sad news about a former member of our Department, J. Sayer Minas.  Professor Minas died recently at the age of 87; he  was a professor in the early days of the Department, and later served as Dean of Arts. You can read more about Professor Minas’s research interests and life at UW in today’s Bulletin.

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Ben Nelson, looking philosophical.

In graduate student news, Ben Nelson tells us he’s had a paper accepted for presentation at the World Philosophy Congress this summer in Greece, on “A Non-Standard View of Intuitions.”  Congratulations, Ben — sounds like it will be fun!

I have some news myself this week:  I just got back from presenting the keynote address at Northwestern’s annual graduate student conference Queertopia! 6.0.  The conference is interdisciplinary, and this year’s theme was “Philosophical Investigations into Sexuality.”  There were some great papers by students on topics like the nature and possibility of consent, Wittgensteinian theories of sexual identity, and depictions of queerness in the media.  In my talk, titled “Objectify Me:  Sexual Autonomy and the Utopia of Non-Conformity,” I discussed the possibility of positive sexual objectification, and connected sexual autonomy with the kinds of options a person has to choose from.  There are differences between the stripping and flaunting of a gay pride and the stripping and flaunting of Girls Gone Wild, and in part my talk aimed to analyze some of these.

Did you know Paul Thagard has a blog at Psychology Today’s website?  Paul’s most recent blog post, “What are Values,” touches on some themes raised by a conference he attended recently with UW people Carla Fehr, Heather Douglas, and Katie Plaisance.

Shannon Dea writes to share some news about Tim Kenyon’s presentation to the Faculty of Arts’ weekly “Pedagogy Picnics” series Tuesday.  Shannon says, “Tim talked about some cool teaching methods he used in his recent course on Testimony. For the course, he assigned some of his own work in progress as readings. Early in the term, he received a “revise and resubmit” on one of the articles they’d already read, an article about which the students hadn’t been very critical the first time out. So, he shared the referees’ reports with his class and they spent two weeks working through the reports, taking note of the main scholarly lessons to be gleaned from them — things like the merits of interpetive charity. For the rest of the course, the students’ critiques were more robust and more mature than before they’d examined the reports, and, on course evaluation forms at the end of term, many students listed the time with the referees’ reports as among their favourite parts of the course. While many of us would balk at sharing referees’ comments on our work, this approach was a great way to
expose students to important scholarly skills and some of what happens
“behind the curtain” of academe.”

Carla Fehr also shares some end-of-term thoughts about teaching:  I just finished teaching my first seminar class at Waterloo.  The topic was the social epistemology of science we focused on the work of Helen Longino and Miriam Solomon.  I had a really good time teaching the class.  I learned to look forward to going to class everyday because I could count on the students to share really thoughtful and interesting ideas.”

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Shannon Dea

Shannon Dea also says to tell everyone that tomorrow (April 18), the Department will hold its fourth annual student awards reception.  “We’ll be awarding class and essay prizes, celebrating recent grads, congratulating Professor Paul Thagard on his Killam Prize and posthumously naming a new “Friend of the Deprtment,” Dr. Brian Rudrick, who was delighted to learn he’d been selected as our newest Friend before his sudden death a couple of weeks ago. We’ll also be welcoming back our first two Friends, Bob Ewen and Gerry Remers. Do you have a connection with the Department? Join us for the celebration Thursday at 3:30 in HH 373.” We’ll share the details about the event and about the prize winners in next week’s blog post.

Thanks so much to Shannon and to our Department undergraduate coordinator Vicki Brett, for organizing tomorrow’s event!

Don’t forget, as always, you can see more news and check out upcoming events at our Department website.

Have a great week,

— Patricia Marino

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