The Philosophy Department’s Climate Committee is pleased to announce that our inaugural Prize for Excellence for Diversity and Inclusivity in a Syllabus is awarded to Heather Muraviov’s syllabus for PHIL 1101, which demonstrated excellence in all three of these dimensions of diversity and inclusivity. Congratulations Heather! Thank you for designing an excellent syllabus.
Tune into Character, Vices, and Authority with UConn Professor of Philosophy Heather Battaly and UConn alumna Casey Johnson (now Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho) on Thursday, May 13th, at 2:00 PM!
When trying to make sense of the world, we rely on other people – for information, ideas, alternative perspectives, criticisms, and objections. We therefore need to be able to recognise authoritative people, ones worthy of the trust we put in them when we ask for intellectual help. But how do we identify authoritative people?
One answer: we assess their intellectual virtues and vices. We ask if someone is reflective and open-minded, or dogmatic and closed-minded. This conversation will explore the intellectual vices, what they are, where they come from, and how we should try and deal with intellectually vicious people.
UConn alumna Dr. Emma Bjorngard-Basayne’18 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.
Distinguished Visiting Professor Stewart Shapiro has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges. Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”
Listen to Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon's recent interview on Let's Go There with Shira & Ryan, "Racial Justice in America: Police Officers Need to be Subject to the Law and Not Above the Law."
"Minnesota is in a state of crisis. During the high profile trial of Derek Chauvin trial for the death of George Floyd, another black man, Daunte Wright, was shot over the weekend in Brooklyn. We talk to Dr. Lewis R. Gordon, Professor and Head of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs, about what America needs to ask about seeking racial justice in a court of law."
Read Professor and Department Head Lewis Gordon's recent article, "Derek Chauvin Trial: 3 Questions America Needs to Ask About Seeking Racial Justice in a Court of Law."
**Excerpt from the article**
There are three questions I find important to consider as the trial unfolds. These questions address the legal, moral and political legitimacy of any verdict in the trial. I offer them from my perspective as an Afro-Jewish philosopher and political thinker who studies oppression, justice and freedom. They also speak to the divergence between how a trial is conducted, what rules govern it – and the larger issue of racial justice raised by George Floyd’s death after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. They are questions that need to be asked.
Williamson's influential anti‐luminosity argument aims to show that our own mental states are not “luminous,” and that we are thus “cognitively homeless.” Among other things, this argument represents a significant challenge to the idea that we enjoy basic self‐knowledge of our own occurrent mental states. In this paper, I summarize Williamson's anti‐luminosity argument, and discuss the role that the notion of “epistemic basis” plays in it. I argue that the anti‐luminosity argument relies upon a particular version of the basis‐relative safety condition on knowledge. This commitment is significant because basic self‐knowledge seemingly lacks any kind of distinct epistemic basis, such as inference, observation, testimony, etc., despite representing a genuine kind of knowledge of contingent matters of fact. I consider a disjunctivist account (due to Bar‐On and Johnson), according to which true basic self‐beliefs indeed lack an epistemic basis in any kind of epistemic method (such as inference), yet are still epistemically grounded in the mental states they concern. I argue that this account of self‐knowledge is compatible with standard understandings of the basis relative safety condition on knowledge, but rejects the particular version required by the anti‐luminosity argument.
Read alumni Nathan Sheff’s (PhD 2017) recent essay in Psyche, titled “Wilfrid Sellars, sensory experience and the ‘Myth of the Given.'”
Psyche, a digital magazine run by Aeon Media Group that explores the human condition through mental health, the question of "how to live," and the arts and transcendent experience, has selected Associate Professor Alexus McLeod's 2020 essay as the editor's pick from the archive. Read "Chinese philosophy has long known that mental health is communal" via this link.