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Welcome Lynne Tirrell

We are delighted to announce that Professor Lynne Tirrell will be joining our department in the fall of 2017 and will also be affiliated with the UConn Human Rights Institute. Lynne is a leading researcher in the area of socially applied yet technically adept philosophy of language. Indeed, she may be said to have founded this burgeoning sub-field. Her pathbreaking paper, “Genocidal Language Games” is taught all over the U.S. in philosophy graduate programs, undergraduate programs, and even in prisons. In an unprecedented way she has combined detailed, theoretical work on language with the human reality of monstrous events. She has related work on transitional justice and apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation, as well as work on metaphor, storytelling, pornography, and feminist theory. Tirrell has done extensive service as the chair of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Public Philosophy. She is also an Associate Editor for the newly revitalized Journal of Philosophical Research.

Robillard and Strawser: Winners in Op-Ed contest

Grad alums Michael Robillard and BJ Strawser were among the winners in the American Philosophical Association’s 2017 Public Philosophy Op-Ed contest for their co-authored essay, “Are Soldiers Morally Exploited?” Ethical War Blog (Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace). See the announcement and bios of the two here.

Welcome Heather Battaly

We are delighted to announce that Professor Heather Battaly will be joining our department in the fall of 2017. Heather specializes in epistemology, ethics, and virtue theory, is one of the leading researchers in the world on the concept of intellectual humility, and is a pioneer on the topic of epistemic vice. Her work influences research in philosophy, psychology and education on intellectual humility and the teaching of intellectual character traits. She has been co-Investigator for a Templeton grant and Principal Investigator for a Spencer grant, has received various awards from Cal State Fullerton for research and teaching, and is editor in chief of the Journal of Philosophical Research as well as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

Ruth Millikan: 2017 Rolf Shock Prize in Logic and Philosophy

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emerita Ruth Garrett Millikan has been awarded the 2017 Rolf Shock Prize in Logic and Philosophy–the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for analytic philosophy–“for her groundbreaking theories about biological functions and the biological foundations of thought and language, where the representational properties of the latter are explained in terms of these functions.” Winners are decided by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. Past Shock Prize Laureates are W. Quine, M. Dummett, D. Scott, J. Rawls, S. Kripke, S. Feferman, J. Hintikka, T. Nagel, H. Putnam, and D. Parfit.

Ruth Millikan: Rescher Prize winner for 2017

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Emerita Ruth Garrett Millikan is the 2017 winner of The Nicholas Rescher Prize for Systematic Philosophy. The Pitt department made the announcement on Brian Leiter’s blog here.

Lionel Shapiro: Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Potsdam

Lionel Shapiro has been awarded a fellowship by the Humboldt Foundation which will take him to the University of Potsdam (Germany) for a total of 14 months, including Spring 2017 and Spring 2018. He will be working on topics related to Wilfrid Sellars’s views on meaning, truth and representation.

In Memoriam: Jerome A. Shaffer

With sorrow the department announces that Emeritus Professor Jerome A. Shaffer, age 87, died on November 17, 2016. There was a memorial in the Storrs area on December 3.

Jerry majored in philosophy at Cornell, earning a B.A. in 1950. He completed a PhD at Princeton in 1952 in just two years. In 1953 he was a Fulbright scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, then went into the Army. After teaching at Swarthmore College starting in 1955, Jerry was hired at UConn in 1967. He became Department Head in 1976, serving until 1994 when he retired. After that he earned a degree in Marital and Family Therapy and started a therapy practice which he continued until just before his death.

Jerry built our reputation as a serious research department and his avuncular manner helped set our collegial atmosphere. Everyone in the profession knew his 1968 book with Prentice-Hall, The Philosophy of Mind, which was followed by his 1971 Reality, Knowledge, and Value.

Video of Jerry reading Descartes:

Michael Robillard: Fellowship at Oxford

New PhD Michael Robillard has been selected for a four year Research Fellowship in Philosophy at Oxford University in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. The project is the ERC Advanced Grant Research Project Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility: Redesigning Military, Police and Intelligence Institutions in Liberal Democracies.

Duncan Pritchard visiting Fall 2016

The department is delighted to welcome Duncan Pritchard as a visiting professor for the fall semester of 2016. Among other things he will teach a graduate seminar related to his new book Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, and will participate in Michael Lynch’s Public Discourse Project.

Margaret Gilbert: American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Emerita Margaret Gilbert, currently Abraham I. Melden Chair in Moral Philosophy at University of California Irvine, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Margaret did much of the work she is being honored for during her 23 years in our department.