Mary Gregg: APA Member Interview

Congratulations to Mary Gregg, a recent UConn Ph.D. Alumna, for being selected for an APA Member interview! This section of the APA Blog is designed to get to know our fellow philosophers a little better. Profiles of APA members spotlight what captures their interest not only inside the office, but also outside of it.


What excites you about philosophy? 

Its ability to reach, unite, and inspire persons from all backgrounds and disciplines. As a discipline characterized by critical reflection on the beliefs, assumptions, and principles we often leave unquestioned, philosophy encourages its participants to think carefully about why and how they think the way they do about the world around them in ways they might not have thought possible. In its aptitude for constant reflection and revision, philosophy provokes a useful humility in its thinkers, which cultivates a learning environment marked by openness and curiosity in such a way that even the often unflinching instructor-pupil power differential is usefully broken down, allowing each person to learn, with gratitude, from one another, both in the classroom and beyond it.

Hady Ba and Thomas Meagher: Blog of the APA

Please take a moment to check out two amazing pieces from members of our UConn community on the Blog of the APA: an essay written by visiting scholar Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba, and a piece by UConn Philosophy alumnus Thomas Meagher. Congratulations!

"Reports from Abroad: Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba"

African endogenous systems of knowledge—embedded inside a metaphysical explanation of life and the universe—were transmitted via secret societies and myths. I argue that our abandonment of that metaphysical framework used to produce and justify knowledge shouldn’t compel us to deem that knowledge irrational. Conversely, re-discovering this endogenous knowledge does not require us to uncritically accept its metaphysical or even epistemological underpinning. I am increasingly convinced that an epistemological study of local knowledge could uncover useful discoveries. For example, there is a wealth of knowledge being lost about the use of local plants like neem (azadirachta indica), niprisan, or aloe ferox to cure or prevent health conditions as serious as cancer or sickle cell disease. An epistemological study of endogenous knowledge could kickstart a movement that would greatly enrich scientific domains like pharmacology or ecology. Trying to make sense of local knowledge in discussions with colleagues who, on ideological bases, promoted all things African helped me see that, if we keep the right distance, we can bring these traditions and their contents into conversation with the scientific realm with a continued critical eye. I think I would never have become open to endogenous systems of knowledge if I hadn’t returned to Senegal where I have been able to participate in local epistemological and philosophical discussions.

Read the full blog post here


"Sylvia Wynter and the Concept of the Homocene" by Dr. Thomas Meagher

How do these categories of Anthropocene and Capitalocene relate to our initial categories of causal and existential responsibility? In implicating human agency as a causal factor in the destruction of the planet, each seems to evoke existential responsibility. Yet as plain statements of fact, these conceptions begin with the matter of causal responsibility. The Anthropocene is defined by human agency as cause of climatic transformation. The Capitalocene is put forth as an alternative naming of a particular human orientation, toward the functional rule of the owners of wealth that produces wealth, as the predominant cause of such transformation. It is only if one takes these terms as implicating oneself that they entail existential responsibility.

Read the full blog post here


Alumna Keya Maitra: “Feminist Philosophy of Mind”

Check out alumna Keya Maitra's (Ph.D. 2000) co-edited book, Feminist Philosophy of Mind, out September 27, 2022 with Oxford University Press.

This is the first collection of essays to focus on feminist philosophy of mind. It brings the theoretical insights from feminist philosophy to issues in philosophy of mind and vice versa. Feminist Philosophy of Mind thus promises to challenge and inform dominant theories in both of its parent fields, thereby enlarging their rigor, scope, and implications. In addition to engaging analytic and feminist philosophical traditions, essays draw upon resources in phenomenology, cross-cultural philosophy, philosophy of race, disability studies, embodied cognition theory, neuroscience, and psychology.

The book's methods center on the collective consideration of three questions: What is the mind? Whose mind is the model for the theory? To whom is mind attributed? Topics considered with this lens include mental content, artificial intelligence, the first-person perspective, personal identity, other minds, mental illness, perception, memory, attention, desire, trauma, agency, empathy, grief, love, gender, race, sexual orientation, materialism, panpsychism, enactivism, and others.

Each of the book's twenty chapters are organized according to five core themes: Mind and Gender and Race; Self and Selves; Naturalism and Normativity; Body and Mind; and Memory and Emotion. The introduction traces the development of these themes with reference to the respective literatures in feminist philosophy and philosophy of mind. This context not only helps the reader see how the essays fit into existing disciplinary landscapes, but also facilitates their use in teaching. Feminist Philosophy of Mind is designed to be used as a core text for courses in contemporary disciplines, and as a supplemental text that facilitates the ready integration of diverse perspectives and women's voices.

Tom Meagher: “Existential Psychoanalysis and Sociogeny”

Check out alumnus Tom Meagher’s recent article in Sarte Studies International, “Existential Psychoanalysis and Sociogeny.”

This article explores Sartre’s existential psychoanalysis as a phenomenological method for apprehending the fundamental project of the existent through an examination of the anonymous features of human desire. In grasping the anonymity underlying the “I want,” existential psychoanalysis seeks the meaning of freedom from a standpoint of alterity. I then analyze Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks as a work of existential psychoanalysis which hinges on his use of “sociogeny” to diagnose the alienation of Black existents. Finally, I conclude by examining the implications of a Fanonian existential psychoanalysis for anti-racism through a discussion of Michael Monahan’s critical reflections on the notion of being nonracist.

Junyeol Kim – Winner of the 2021 APA Routledge Taylor & Francis Prize

Congratulations to alumni Junyeol Kim, who has been awarded the 2021 APA Routledge Taylor & Francis Prize for the article “The Horizontal in Frege’s Begriffsschrift” (Synthese, 2020). This prize is awarded for the two best philosophical articles written by adjunct professors.

***Abstract from article***

This paper addresses an issue with the sign ‘’ in Frege’s mature version of Begriffsschrift, i.e., the version in ‘Function and Concept’ and Grundgesetze. The sign is a performative for asserting in that writing down ‘’ is equivalent to asserting that p. Frege further says that writing ‘’ is also equivalent to identifying the reference of ‘p’ with the truth-value True. It looks as if he holds that asserting that p consists in identifying the True with the reference of ‘p’. Frege’s commitment to it, however, seems to encounter a number of tensions. This paper aims to show that these tensions can be avoided by endorsing a non-assertive conception of identification under which making an identification is not making an identity assertion. The suggested reading leads to an entirely different understanding of the compositionality of the sign ‘’ as well as Frege’s conception of assertion and judgment.

Colena Sesanker-“Concerns raised over Community Colleges”

Check out alumna Colena Sesanker (2017), quoted in a recent article titled “Concerns raised over community colleges” in the Willimantic Chronicle about the consolidation of the community colleges.

***Excerpt from article***

Colena Sesanker, a philosophy professor at Gateway Community College and chairwoman of the faculty advisory committee to the Board of Regents, challenged Gov. Ned Lamont’s and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system’s assertion the consolidation is “mostly a streamlining of back office functions.”

“There is a lot of misinformation and it is not by accident,” she said. “Consolidation means the elimination of all 12 community colleges and what that means is that among other things legislators will not be able to take for granted that they will have a full service college.”

Kensuke Ito: “Truth and Falsity in Communication: Assertion, Denial, and Interpretation”

Check out alum Kensuke Ito's forthcoming article in Erkenntnis, "Truth and Falsity in Communication: Assertion, Denial, and Interpretation." The abstract may be found here.


Our linguistic communication is, in part, the exchange of truths. It is an empirical fact that in daily conversation we aim at truths, not falsehoods. This fact may lead us to assume that ordinary, assertion-based communication is the only possible communicative system for truth-apt information exchange, or at least has priority over any alternatives. This assumption is underwritten in three traditional doctrines: that assertion is a basic notion, in terms of which we define denial; that to predicate truth of a sentence is to assert the content it expresses; and that one should, in the context of radical interpretation, try to maximize the truth of what foreigners believe or utter. However, I challenge this assumption via a thought experiment: imagine a language game in which everyone aims to exchange only falsehoods. I argue that information exchange is possible in this game, and so truth-guided communication and falsity-guided communication are conceptually on a par. As a consequence, we should reject the three doctrines, based as they are on the conceptual priority of assertion-based communication.

Alumna Emma Bjorngard-Basayne: From a Doctoral Student in Philosophy to a Higher Ed Professional

UConn alumna Dr. Emma Bjorngard-Basayne18 Ph.D. Philosophy is currently an Academic Advisor at the Office of Undergraduate Advising, UConn School of Business. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Philosophy at the Stamford Campus, UConn. Her career journey suggests that in addition to the academic skills and training gained from one’s degree program, doctoral students should step outside of their department and take a test drive in the field of their interest through internships or career-related experiences that might help expand their career choices and may eventually lead them to their future career.

Read the full profile here.