Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hi everyone and welcome to almost-Spring! Vicki Brett sends along this photo, so we can “remember what Spring flowers look like”!


Our Department has exciting news: Jennifer Mensch will be joining our Department as Assistant Professor in January 2015.


Our newest colleague, Jennifer Mensch

Professor Mensch specializes in 17th- and 18th-century Metaphysics and Epistemology, Kant, German Idealism, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, and Theoretical and Applied Ethics. Her most recent book is Kant’s Organicism: Epigenesis and the Development of Critical Philosophy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013). Welcome, Jennifer!

Carla Fehr also has some exciting news: “We have just announced a new feminist philosophy journal!I along with three others are the founding editors.  We expect to make another announcement in a couple of months when the website is live and we actually start accepting submissions. Here is the link to the announcement on Feminist Philosophers.” They even have a cool logo, check it out:

fpq logoGraduate Student Ben Nelson says, “I recently published an article in The Philosopher’s Magazine called “Making Up Our Minds” (Winter 2014). The article lays out a few potential lessons that philosophers of mind can take away from realistic cognitive modelling techniques.” Nice work, Ben!

Heather Douglas writes, “I had a great time at AAAS talking about responsible innovationThe session was really interesting, with speakers from Denmark, Norway, the U.S., Brazil, and Japan. Issues addressed included appropriate laboratory standards, how embedded humanists help make science better and labs more productive, and the (dis-)functioning of scientific societies in times of crisis. I provided a commentary on it all. The AAAS session also generated this story on the UWaterloo homepage.Also, this past Friday (Feb. 28), I went to McMaster University to give a talk at the philosophy department, on ‘Responsible Innovation in a Democratic Society.’ It was great to meet the faculty and students there, to see the lovely campus, and to have a lively discussion on the topic.”
Also of interest: On February 28, the department hosted a excellent talk by Professor Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, from the University of British Columbia and the Northern Institute of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. Tim Kenyon says, “Professor Jenkins’ talk, co-authored with Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, was titled ‘On Putting Knowledge “First”‘, and focused on the various possible (and actual) interpretations of the idea that knowledge should be in some sense basic to epistemology. On this view, epistemology should not aim at providing an analysis or genealogy of knowledge into some more fundamental components or antecedents; but neither the negative nor positive theses of the view are entirely settled. There are various expressions of “knowledge-first” in the recent epistemological literature, including its main contemporary source in Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits (KaiL). Even within KaiL, however, there may be distinct forms of the view on offer. Professor Jenkins clearly separated some different strands of thought on the knowledge-first view, shedding light on the challenge of finding a univocal position that captures all or most of what its various proponents want. The talk launched an enthusiastic and detailed discussion in the question period, involving both faculty and graduate students, and which continued over dinner (which did not include KaiL salad, to steal John Turri’s term). Thanks to Professor Jenkins for a great paper and visit.”
I (Patricia Marino) am just back from the Central APA where I presented in a couple of sessions. First, graduate student Rosalind Abdool and I presented on the Main Program a paper we’ve co-authored together on “Utilitarianism, Intuitions, Rationality, and Neuroscience” – we had a great audience and lively discussion. I also presented on the Group Program for the North American Society for Social Philosophy. My talk was “Patterns of Objectification: Autonomy, Options, and the Value of Non-Conformity,” and was part of a  session on Autonomy, Sex, and Objectification. Other papers in the panel included discussions of the moral dimensions of Pick-Up Artists and the possibility of feminist female submisssives. Most interesting!
Finally, we’d like to call everyone’s attention to the upcoming Dept. grad conference, March 27-28! Ben Nelson, one of the conference organizers, writes, “The keynote for our upcoming graduate conference, Jamie Dreier, has given us the abstract of his upcoming talk, titled “The Normative Explanation of Normativity”. Here it is: ‘Expressivists think normativity is explained by a theory of what normative expressions mean, which in turn is explained by what state of mind we express by using them. Many philosophers think that meaning is normative, and also that the attribution of intentional states to people is normative. Is there a problem with combining these two views? Do expressivists get trapped in a circle of explanation if they accept the normativity of meaning?”
The conference event can be followed on Facebook here . Our PGSA FB page is here, and our website is here. Mark your calendars now, and save the date!

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

Best wishes to all, and thanks for reading!

— Patricia Marino

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