Author: Baxter, Donald

In Memoriam: John Troyer

John Gordon Troyer (1943-2020)

With great sorrow we report the death of Associate Professor Emeritus John G. Troyer, who died on August 11, 2020 surrounded by family. He was a beloved colleague, generous with his time, who took great interest in the work of the rest of the department members. He was always willing to read and give helpful comments on one’s latest essay.

John received his B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1965, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1967 and 1971. He was brought to the University of Connecticut in 1970 by then Department Head Jerome Shaffer as part of an initiative to build up the research profile of the Philosophy Department, spending his entire teaching career here. He spent the 1969-70 academic year at Oxford on a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship from Harvard. He received a National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Humanist Fellowship in 1974 and became an inaugural Member of Common Room at Wolfson College, Oxford in 1977.

Most notable among his publications were a special issue of Sythese in 1974, Intentionality, Language, and Translation jointly edited with Samuel C. Wheeler, III, that included papers from a widely acclaimed international conference they hosted at UConn; an essay “Locke on the Names of Substances,” first published in 1975 and reprinted in 1992 in a volume on Locke edited by Vere Chappell; and a 1997 collection entitled In Defense of Radical Empiricism: Essays and Lectures by Roderick Firth, on whose work John was a world expert.

Troyer was a superb chess player. Once after winning the New Mexico state championship he was accosted by the great George Koltanowski as well as the then champion of California and told not to go into chess because there was no future in it. He was an indefatigable squash player who beat almost everyone he played, clearly manifesting genes from his father who broke the University of Michigan 50-yard dash record in a gym class and who became a golden gloves boxer in the Navy. Among other quirks, John was a beekeeper who produced a peerless dark honey and an expert on the Shroud of Turin.

In Memoriam: Joel J. Kupperman

[This memorial notice is an abridgement of a memorial minute by Professor Emerita Diana Tietjens Meyers on the American Philosophical Association website.]

Joel J. Kupperman (1936-2020)

With deep sadness we report the death of Joel J. Kupperman, University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He died in Brooklyn NY on April 8, 2020.

Joel received both his AB and MA from the University of Chicago and his PhD from Cambridge University.  He joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut in 1960.  Except for visiting Trinity College as a lecturer in 1970, two years supported by NEH fellowships, and fellowships at Clare Hall, Cambridge and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he remained at UConn until his retirement from teaching in 2013. In addition to these major national and international awards, Joel received the Faculty Excellence in Research award from the UConn Foundation in 2004.

A widely recognized and influential scholar, Joel specialized in ethics, aesthetics, and Asian philosophy.  He published numerous journal articles and chapters in all three fields. Two early books resist subjectivism in ethics (Ethical Knowledge. London:  Geo. Allen & Unwin, 1970, reprint Routledge, 2002 and The Foundations of Morality. London and Boston: Geo. Allen & Unwin, 1983, reissue from Routledge, forthcoming, 2022). In his monographs, Joel’s longstanding interest in Chinese philosophy first became prominent in Character (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) and Value… And What Follows (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999).

Joel’s scholarship in Asian philosophy long predated the recent professional awakening to non-Western philosophical traditions. Initially, he studied Chinese philosophy with H. G. Creel at the University of Chicago; in 1967, he traveled to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan to continue his studies; no later than 1985 Joel was offering an introductory course on Asian philosophy; and sometime thereafter, he originated an upper-level undergraduate course on Chinese philosophy and a graduate seminar that covered Indian, Chinese, and Japanese philosophy.  His scholarship and pedagogical initiatives were visionary.  Before long, universities everywhere were scrambling to develop “multicultural” courses, and comparative philosophy conferences grew in frequency.

Regarded as a classic by many in the field, Learning From Asian Philosophy nimbly integrates insights from classical Chinese and Indian philosophy as well as Western philosophy into nuanced accounts of the self, choice, moral psychology, moral requirements, and interpersonal communication (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999; Chinese translation, Renmin Press, Beijing, 2009). That Joel was invited to give the keynote lecture at a conference honoring the ninetieth anniversary of the Peking University Philosophy Department is but one measure of the importance of this book.

In addition, Joel published books that not only would be valuable to professional philosophers, but that also would reach college students and the larger educated public.  Notable among these are Theories of Human Nature  (Indianapolis:  Hackett, 2010), Ethics and Qualities of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), Six Myths About the Good Life: Thinking About What Has Value  (Indianapolis:  Hackett, 2006), Classic Asian Philosophy: A Guide to the Essential Texts (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001; second edition, 2006).

Joel received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching award from the UConn Foundation in 1973.  Upon his retirement, two of his PhD students, Li Chenyang and Ni Peimin, celebrated his career by publishing a festschrift containing chapters by leading scholars (Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character:  Engaging Joel J. Kupperman. Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2014).

Among his many contributions, Joel regularized the department’s weekly brown bag seminar in which we present work in progress to each other. The tradition has continued for over 50 years. Joel also had an early and steadfast commitment to gender equity and diversity in general. For quite a while late in the twentieth century, our faculty included an unusually high percentage of women for a philosophy department in those days.

Joel is survived by his wife, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, his two children, Michael Kupperman and Charlie Kupperman, and a grandchild, Ulysses Kupperman Dougherty, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.



Ryo Tanaka: Millikan Fellowship

The Department is pleased to announce that Ryo Tanaka is the 2020 recipient of the Ruth Garrett Millikan Graduate Research Fellowship. The Fellowship will enable Ryo to devote the summer to completing two chapters of his dissertation, which is entitled, ‘Semantic Knowledge as Expressive Know-How’. His major advisor is Dorit Bar-On. For more information about the Ruth Garrett Millikan Fellowship, please visit here.

Recent Publications by some Graduate Alumni

Levente Szentkirályi

 The Ethics of Precaution: Uncertain Environmental Health Threats and Duties of Due Care (New York: Routledge 2019)


Stephen Lahey

The Hussites in the Past Imperfect Series, ARC Humanities Press, Amsterdam University Press, 2019. First book in English on the topic in over 50 years!


Tom Meagher

“Theorizing the Ideally Non-Ideal: Sanín-Restrepo’s Decolonizing Democracy and Political Philosophy.” The GCAS Review

Darkwater‘s Existentialist Socialism,” Socialism and Democracy 32:3 (2018).


Dana Miranda

“Within the Shadow of Monuments.” Blog of the APA (March 26, 2019).

“Africana Philosophy and Depression,” The APA Blog: Black Issues in Philosophy (November 19, 2018).

“Marx: The Historical Necessity of Slavery & Agriculture,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 13:1 (2017).


Ricardo Rozzi

“Overcoming Biocultural Homogenization in Modern Philosophy: Hume’s Noble Oyster”, in R. Rozzi et al. (eds.), From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation, Ecology and Ethics 3,


Asha Bhandary

Freedom to Care: Liberalism, Dependency Care, and Culture, Routledge, 2019.

Peimin Ni: MLA prize winner

Peimin Ni’s Understanding the Analects of Confucius, A New Translation of Lunyu with Annotations. SUNY Press, 2017 has just won the 2019 Modern Language Association (MLA) Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature. Peimin received his PhD in Philosophy from UConn in 1991. The citation of the award reads:

Peimin Ni’s new translations in Understanding the Analects of Confucius build on and challenge a wide array of previous translations, which, at times, seem to contradict one another because of important transactional issues in translation that reveal how translation is both a product and a process. While comparing his solutions to those of other translators and employing commentary with extensive annotations of the text, Ni demonstrates his deep understanding of Confucius and various strands of Confucianism. This monumental work features a detailed and informative introduction as well as a presentation of the key terms in the Analects that have led to conflicting interpretations or additions of words to clarify the context. Ni has produced a scholarly yet surprisingly readable text for a nonspecialized audience.

Susan Schneider: Artificial You

Susan Schneider’s new book is Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind.

“AI, metaphysics, and the future of life in the universe―Schneider writes about the biggest issues of our time with an engagingly light touch, and enviable insight and clarity. Highly recommended.”―Huw Price, academic director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk