PHILOSOPHY NEWSLETTER

 

A Newsletter Published by the Department of Philosophy
The University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma  73019-2006

                      (405) 325-6324

                     http://www.ou.edu/ouphil

 

 

Number 6: Spring 2000


GREETINGS FROM THE CHAIR

 

Let me begin with the recent changes to our newsletter. As you may suspect, we have changed the publication date of our newsletter to accommodate various stresses and strains in the department. In recent years we have struggled mightily to get the newsletter out by Thanksgiving each fall. Sometimes we have failed miserably in meeting this deadline, because of the number of other things that must be completed in the fall semester. Consequently, we have moved the publication of the newsletter to the spring semester. This has meant that a somewhat longer period of time has elapsed since our last newsletter. But in the long run, we believe that the newsletter will benefit from its production during a less stressful time of the year. I should also note that Neera Badhwar has assumed the editorial responsibilities of the newsletter. Ken Merrill has performed these duties over the past few years, and has done a superb job, thereby earning himself a well-deserved reprieve. Neera has graciously offered to pick up where Ken left off. Thanks to both of them for their hard work on behalf of the department.

As you will see, we have had an enormously busy and successful year and a half. Linda Zagzebski, formerly chair of the Department of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, joined our department this fall as the third Kingfisher Chair in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Her undergraduate courses in philosophy of religion have been overflowing, and she has already made significant contributions to virtually every aspect of the department. We look forward to her contributions for many more years to come. In addition, I am happy to announce that Andrew Cohen joined our department this fall as an assistant professor. Andrew left a tenure track position at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point to join our department. He works in social and political philosophy and ethics; his current interests are in Hobbesian political theory, the intrinsic value of democratic political institutions, and friendship. Andrew and his fiance, Jennifer Samp, who joined the Communication Department this year, will be getting married this summer and honeymooning in Europe. Unfortunately, they have not invited any of us along.... We were also able to attract Charles (Chip) Bolyard, who completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University, as a visiting assistant professor. Chip works primarily in Medieval epistemology and I was fortunate enough to benefit from his seminar last fall.

Another exciting development this year has been the opportunity to conduct two national searches for junior positions. The first position was created by a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Institutional Enhancement Grant to fund the first three years of a new assistant professor of Chinese philosophy. The University has committed itself to making the position permanent. We interviewed some of the best junior people in the country in Chinese philosophy. The other position was created by Edward Sankowski's appointment as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in spring of 1999. (Congratulations Ed!)  This position was advertised as an “open” search and received over 400 applications. We believe we have interviewed the best young philosophers in the country and are excited about the opportunity this search has presented to us. By the time you read this, we hope to have filled both of these new positions.

In addition, we continue to sponsor an active colloquia series, which in 1999, included Professors David Braybrooke of the University of Texas, John Etchemendy of Stanford University, Emily Grosholz of Pennsylvania State University, and James Joyce of the University of Michigan. Judith Little, who is currently an assistant professor of Philosophy at the SUNY at Potsdam, returned to campus for a talk associated with the first annual FOCAS on Arts and Sciences Week. The department also hosted its Fourth Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, attracting participants from Hendrix College, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Southwest Missouri State University, as well as the University of Oklahoma, and featuring Professor Gareth Matthews from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as the keynote speaker. In the fall of 1998 we hosted the fifth David Ross Boyd Lecture series featuring Professor Jaegwon Kim, the William Herbert Perry Faunce Professor at Brown University. Professors Jerry Fodor of Rutgers University and Robert Nozick of Harvard have accepted our invitations as the sixth and seventh David Ross Boyd lecturers for fall 2000 and fall 2001, respectively. In the fall of 1999, we hosted the Central States Philosophical Association meetings here in Norman with our own Ray Elugardo delivering the Association's Presidential Address.

Despite all of this activity, the faculty remain active in all aspects of the profession. Among other notable achievements, Neera Badhwar served as Distinguished NEH Visiting Professor for the fall of 1999 at SUNY at Potsdam; Ray Elugardo (as I mentioned) became the president of the CSPA; Ed Sankowski became president of the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies; I have nearly completed my service as chair of the Faculty Senate; and Linda Zagzebski was the Senior Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University in 1998-1999, and in May 2000 will be a Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. In addition, the faculty has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and even a book over this period, with Chris Swoyer’s “Complex Predicates and Conversion Principles” appearing in Philosophers Annual as one of the 10 best philosophy papers published in 1997. The faculty have been traveling the globe delivering a variety of regional, national and international talks. We were also fortunate to retain the exceptional services of Mark Thomas (Ph.D., Rice University) and Jeffrey Purinton (Ph.D., Princeton University) over this period. Our students have also been active. We graduated several philosophy and ethics and religion majors, and our graduate students completed nine M.A.s and five Ph.D.s. Our OU Philosophical Society continues to be active and various students (undergraduate and graduate) gave professional presentations.

We have had an extremely busy and productive year, and this year promises to be even better.

I would like to thank all our alumni who have responded to our previous newsletters and various questionnaires. A special “thank you” goes to those of you who have contributed financially to the department. It is important, however, to hear from all of you, especially as we try continually to improve our program. The Philosophy Department has a Web site at

http://www.ou.edu/ouphil

Among other things, the site has an on-line form alumni can fill out to provide information about themselves. Let us know how you are doing!

Hugh H. Benson, Chair

 

 

GREETINGS FROM THE DEAN

 

At the University of Oklahoma and in the College of Arts and Sciences, we are making great strides toward achieving our goal of becoming one of this nation's preeminent public universities. Our approach is simple - to bring together outstanding students and outstanding faculty in an environment that supports learning. The quality of our students is apparent everywhere you look. This past fall, for the first time, the College of Arts and Sciences attracted the largest number of National Scholars of any college at OU. This year, one of our students, Jason Sanders, was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar, the first Rhodes Scholar from OU in several years. Our ability to retain and graduate talented students will be further enhanced by a bequest to the College of $625,000 to establish the Corrine Price Scholarship Fund, which will provide approximately 35 scholarships of $1,000 each year. The quality of our new faculty is also impressive and we are successfully competing with other outstanding universities in hiring the best candidates. An important part of our strategy to recruit talented senior faculty is the endowed chair program, which includes the Kingfisher College chair that enabled us to recruit Professor Linda Zagzebski to the Philosophy Department this year. To enrich the intellectual life of the college, we are bringing increasing numbers of well-known scholars to the campus each year to give seminars and to participate in symposia, all made possible by funding from the Friends of the College of Arts and Sciences (FOCAS).  This year we have also begun making videos of these presentations available on the college's video Web server at: http://casweb.cas.ou.edu/video/. One of the first talks to be Webcast was "The Ethical Challenges of Genetic Revolution," by the distinguished philosopher, Allen Buchanan, who was hosted by the Philosophy Department. We have also begun a tradition of organizing symposia in honor of our new endowed chairs. In approximately one year, the college will be hosting an international symposium organized by Professor Zagzebski. Students, faculty, alumni and friends of the college will all be invited to attend. I hope that you will be able to attend this symposium, as well as the many other events that the college will be sponsoring. If not, I hope you will visit our Web site to experience for yourself the intellectual excitement that makes OU such a stimulating environment for scholarship, teaching, and learning.

Paul B. Bell Jr., Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

 

 

NEWS ABOUT OUR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

 

The following philosophy majors earned bachelor’s degrees during fall 1998 and calendar year 1999: Gloria Lee Hammond-Sarver, Steven F. Johnson, Fredric T. Morriss, Kevin Daniel Motes, James D. Brown, Gypsy S. Denton, Ursula M. Dunlap, Christopher M. Kneifl, Stoakley Roger Lloyd, Brian Richard Martin, Michael P. Milburn, Sean M. Pullen, Jason A. Slay, Angela D. Taylor, Keiichiro Yamamoto, and Christopher Douglas Jones.  Motes graduated with distinction, Kneifl graduated summa cum laude and Yamamoto graduated magna cum laude.

Earning bachelor’s degrees in ethics and religion were Genevieve M. Bertone, Stephen E. Harris, Christopher J. Froude, Ryan C. Jordan, Amy D. Beher, and Brad J. Jack.  Harris and Jordan graduated magna cum laude.

Of our continuing majors, 19 were on the Dean’s Honor Roll and five were on the President’s Honor Roll for at least one semester.

Sommer Anyong is a member of the National Golden Key Society. Donald Everett was invited to join Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Stacy Dean was nominated for Outstanding Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rodney Yance is a member of Crimson Club.

Donald Everett presented a paper at the Southwestern Conference for Undergraduate Philosophers. Ryan Jordan and Chris Kneifl presented papers at the OU Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.

Congratulations to Beau Branson for his acceptance into the philosophy graduate program at the University of Notre Dame with full financial support!

Chris Kneifl received the 1998-99 J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship Award, the Commercial Services Scholarship and the Patti Johnson Wilson Scholarship. Chris expects to attend graduate school at Colorado or Arizona, starting in fall 2000. He will be working on both a PhD in Philosophy and a J.D in Law. His non-academic accomplishments include finishing in the top 20 percent in his first mountain bike race in February. More significantly, he is expecting to become a father within a matter of weeks.

 

 

NEWS ABOUT OUR GRADUATE STUDENTS

 

The Department congratulates John Duncan (Sankowski) for receiving his doctoral degree in December 1998 and Rick Chew (Hawthorne), Lee Hester (Sankowski), and Barry Vaughan (Benson) for receiving their doctoral degrees during 1999.

The Department also congratulates the following students for receiving their M.A. degrees during this same period: Frank Giles, Sean Heaton (Elugardo), Chris Springer, Stephen Brown, Neal Hampton, Brian Lamberson, John O’Neal, Rob Thompson, Cameron Farrier (Merrill), and Fuchuan Yao.

The Department also congratulates the following students who have been offered tenure-track jobs while still working on their dissertations: Brint Montgomery, Southern Nazarene University (fall 1999), Rob Thompson, Northwest Nazarene University (fall 1999), Kevin Durand, Henderson State University (fall 2000), and Randy Ridenour, Oklahoma Baptist University (fall 2000).

Susan Alvarado-Boyd expects to complete her M.A. thesis, “Democracy, Education, and Culture: Some Observations,” in fall 2000. She states that studying philosophy at OU has greatly enhanced her ability to engage with texts and ideas in a critical manner and will help her in her future studies in the Higher Education and Administration Program, where she intends to focus on the ethics of education. Her goal is to get a Ph.D. and become a teaching dean at a college or university. Her husband, Michael, back from Oxford, plans to apply to law school.

C. E. (Clint) Barrett presented “St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument” at the annual meeting of the St. Anselm Society, at St. Anselm College, Manchester, N.H., spring 2000. The paper will be published in the Society’s annual Proceedings. Clint has been awarded a travel grant by the Graduate College for the purpose.

Ed Cox is visiting assistant professor at West Virginia University.

Kathleen Poorman Dougherty is teaching as a visiting lecturer in the Philosophy Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will continue there next year as a faculty research associate after completing her dissertation.

Kevin Durand, who has been teaching at Henderson State University since fall 1999, has a paper, “The Language of Alice: Lewis Carroll (‘Alice in Wonderland’), Arlo Guthrie (‘Alice’s Restaurant’), and Noam Chomsky’s View of Language Development,” forthcoming in Academic Journal (spring 2000), Henderson State University. He also has been busy presenting papers at conferences: “Self-Knowledge and Sophrosune in Plato’s Charmides” (Arkansas Philosophical Association and the Mid-South Philosophy Conference, 1999); and “Variations on a Theme: The Art of Rhetoric and Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Phaedrus” (Mid-South Philosophy Conference, 2000). In addition, Kevin commented on Michael Patzia’s “Platonic Piety: A Non-Metaphysical Reading” (Mid-South Philosophy Conference, 1999) and on Roderick Long’s “Justice among the Virtues” (Mid-South Philosophy Conference, 2000). Kevin received the 1998-1999 Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award.

Scott Jones presented “Racism and Tolerance: A Philosophical Perspective” at the University of Oklahoma Race Awareness Program, and “An Introduction to Whitehead” to the Oklahoma Baptist University Philosophy Club. He presented “A Proper View of Humility” at the Mid-South Philosophy Conference, Memphis, 2000.

Randall (Randy) Ridenour presented “Theism, Naturalism, and Bayesian Probability” at the Mid-South Philosophy Conference, Memphis, February 2000.

T. J. Singleton is teaching seniors and sophomores morality, social justice, church history, and sacraments at McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile, Ala., while working on his dissertation. He also coordinates the Adult Education Program of St. Ignatius Church and has taught courses for the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education.

Rob Thompson, who has been teaching at Northwest Nazarene University since fall 1999, gave a paper on Derrida at the Wesleyan Theological Society in March 1999.

Stephen Wagner published an article in the American Archivist, and has one forthcoming in The Acquisitions Librarian. He also presented a talk on science and literature at the Society for Literature and Science meeting; it has been submitted with the other session presentations to Science as Culture. He continues his position as bibliographer and associate editor of Isis for the History of Science Society and is on the staff of the Department of Philosophy.

 

 

NEWS ABOUT THE FACULTY

                                                                       

Neera Badhwar spent an enjoyable semester as NEH Visiting Professor at SUNY at Potsdam, in the beautiful Village of Potsdam. In between teaching, trying to define True Happiness, presenting several papers on happiness, virtue and friendship, and commenting on a play, she visited her alma mater, University of Toronto, and made brief excursions to Quebec City and Montreal to see for herself if they were all they were touted to be (they were).

Hugh Benson completed his analysis of Plato’s Charmides for Project Archelogos, as well as two papers on the early Platonic dialogues that will appear in two different anthologies. He also delivered “Problems with Socratic Method” at the University of Arizona Colloquium on Plato. All this while performing his duties as chair of the Philosophy Department with his usual diligence and good cheer, serving in the time-consuming position of chair of the Faculty Senate, and hanging out in the lounge with colleagues and students solving age-old philosophical problems (less time-consuming).

Andrew Cohen is writing papers on friendship and Hobbesian political theory, and will present a paper at a symposium on property rights and public policy at Edmonton and Calgary in March. As the newest member of our department, he was awarded the signal honor of taking the minutes at department meetings, a task he executes concisely and elegantly. In his spare time Andrew indulges in his favorite pasttime: wrestling bears in the Oklahoma wilderness. But in May, he will take a break from bears and philosophy to get married to Jennifer Samp, assistant professor of Communication, who has promised to take him to Italy after the wedding.

Monte Cook read “Getting Clear on the Two-Envelope Paradox” at the 1999 Central Meetings of the APA (he wants to thank alumnus Herbie Snitz for penetrating comments that helped him get clear on the paradox). He also read “Pierre-Sylvain Régis’ Proof of an External World” at the 1999 meetings of the Central States Philosophical Association. Next fall he’ll take a sabbatical to work on Pierre-Sylvain Régis and Robert Desgabets, two radical Cartesians of the late 17th century.

Reinaldo Elugardo delivered the Presidential Address, “Idiolectic Meaning,” at the Central States Philosophical Association Meeting in October 1999. The address was notable not only for its Dialectic Meaning, but also for its Idiolectic Wit. In June 1999, Ray and Rob Stainton (Carleton University), presented their paper, “Logical Form and the Vernacular,” to the Canadian Philosophical Association.  This article is forthcoming in Mind and Language. At the same conference Ray commented on a paper by Andrew Hunter, “Semantic Indeterminacy and Definite Descriptions.” Two other papers are slated to appear in anthologies: “Brains with An Attitude” and “The Predicate View of Proper Names.” Ray and Rob also received a three-year, U.S.$53,200 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to work on their joint projects, as well as some internal grants. Ray continued his work as chair of a university task force on Minority and Women Faculty Retention.

James Hawthorne completed “Voting in Search of the Public Good” for a journal, and is now working on “Logical Probability and Bayesian Inference.” He also commented on Jonathan Schaffer’s “Causation by Disconnection” at the Central States Philosophical Association in October 1999. Jim graciously agreed to serve as Director of Graduate Studies for another year, and continued to administer generous doses of free emergency care to casualties of computer crashes.

Jeffrey Purinton delivered a talk at Trinity University titled “Epicurus on the Nature of the Gods and the Truth of All Impressions,” and submitted a paper to Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy entitled “Epicurus on the Nature of the Gods.”

Wayne Riggs’s “Reliability and the Value of Knowledge” is forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research in 2000. He commented on “Epistemic Akrasia, Virtues & Epistemic Rationality,” by Christopher Hookway at the conference on virtue and duty in epistemology held in Santa Barbara, and on “Establishing the Credentials of Perception,” by Evan Fales at the Central States Philosophical Association Meeting, October 1999. Wayne continues as treasurer of the Philosophy Department Coffee Drinkers’ Club.

Edward Sankowski’s “South African Democracy, Multi-Culturalism, Rights, and Community” is forthcoming in a refereed volume on the problems of democracy, to be published by Rodopi, Amsterdam. He presented papers at national and regional meetings on topics in political philosophy, philosophy of education, and environmental policy: “Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Moral Education,” Philosophy of Education Society meeting, New Orleans; “Film, Crime Stories, and the State,” Society for the Philosophic Study of the Contemporary Visual Arts, American Philosophical Association meeting, New Orleans; “Environmental Policy, Stakeholder Processes, and Democratic Community Legitimacy,” American Political Science Association meeting, Atlanta; “How New Is the New South Africa?--Human Rights and Democratization,” Mid-America Alliance for African Studies meeting, Lawrence, Kan. and the American Anthropological Association meeting, Chicago; and “Environmental Management and Democratic Legitimacy,” Oklahoma Political Science Association meeting, El Reno. He served as vice president, and then president, of the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies. At OU, Ed continued as administrative fellow in the Provost's Office in spring 1999, and assumed his new position as associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences. He served on the Environmental Biology Task Force, was a member of the Global Environmental Studies Initiative Committee, and attended various seminar type meetings of the Educators Leadership Academy for Higher Education (sponsored by, among others, the State Regents and the Sarkeys Foundation). Ed also received a grant as co-principal investigator on a continuing multi-year, interdisciplinary, multi-campus project, “Ecological Risks, Stakeholder Values, and River Basins: Testing Management Alternatives for the Illinois River,” National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency, with about $850,000 total funding.

Chris Swoyer’s “Relativism” will appear in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in 2000. Also forthcoming is a paper, “Judgment and Decision Making: Extrapolations and Applications,” in Judgments, Decisions, and Public Policy, Cambridge University Press (53 pages in typescript), and book reviews in Journal of Symbolic Logic and in The Philosophical Review. He has also written an introductory text for critical thinking, Critical Reasoning: A User's Manual, which has been used by five or six instructors thus far. The full text is available on the Net; anyone interested in using it, or any of its modules in their course can check it out at

http://www.ou.edu/ouphil/faculty/chris/critreas.html

Chris will be on sabbatical next year and will be working on philosophical issues involving the nature of descriptive models of human reasoning and decision-making (e.g., MINERVA-DM, the ABC Research Group's fast and frugal heuristics), and on the relationships between such models and various normative models (e.g., familiar logical systems, evidential and causal decision theories, and various satisficing algorithms). He was also on the program of a several meetings and is currently on the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Philosophical Society.

Zev Trachtenberg had a productive sabbatical in spring 1999, resisting the call of Miami's beaches to complete three projects. The first, “Generality, Efficiency, and Neutrality: Must Laws Be General To Be Legitimate,” will appear in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. He also presented this paper at the University of Miami Philosophy Department and at the UM School of Law Legal Theory Workshop. His second paper was on Plato’s influence on Rousseau’s political theory, “Rousseau’s Platonic Rejection of Politics,” which he delivered to the Rousseau Association. It will appear in the Association's journal, Pensée Libre. Finally, as part of his participation on a federally funded team of researchers from OU and OSU, which is developing a policy-making protocol for the Illinois River in northeastern Oklahoma, he wrote a paper that considers the respective roles of scientific experts and lay stakeholders in formulating environmental policy. He presented this paper at a conference on Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice at Oxford University. On his return to OU in the fall, Zev continued his work as coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment Program. But his biggest, best, and most important news is that his wife, Tina, gave birth to their son, Isaac Michael, on Nov. 6, 1999 (welcome, Isaac Michael!).

Linda Zagzebski was Senior Fellow in the Lilly Fellows Program at Valparaiso University, Indiana for fall 1998 and spring 1999, and continued to write at dizzying speed between moves from Indiana to Los Angeles to Norman and starting a new job at OU. She worked on her book, Divine Motivation Theory, which is an original virtue theory with a theological foundation, and signed a contract to write an introductory book in philosophy of religion for Rowman and Littlefield (Robert Audi, series editor), as well as a book on virtues and vices for an Oxford University Press series edited by John Perry and John Fischer. In November, she obtained a contract with Oxford University Press to publish a book from a conference she helped organize in Santa Barbara on virtue and duty in epistemology. The book, to be co-edited with Abrol Fairweather, a Ph.D. candidate at UCSB, will be called Virtue Epistemology: Essays on Epistemic Virtue and Responsibility. Linda also gave nine talks: “Emotion and Moral Judgment,” at SUNY at Buffalo, Notre Dame, University of Genoa, Valparaiso University, and University of Arkansas-Little Rock; “Phronesis and Religious Belief,” at SUNY at Buffalo and the Religious Studies Department at Stanford; “Must Knowers Be Agents?” at a conference on virtue and duty in epistemology, Santa Barbara; and “Divine Motivation Theory.” As if this weren't impressive enough, she also did some sleuthing in her first semester at OU, when she took her husband, Ken, to hunt for the Kingfisher College, and discovered that she, Linda Zagzebski--our own Kingfisher Fellow--is the College! Thus, she found both the College--and her own true identity--in one brilliant Sherlockian “deduction.” Nevertheless, she says that her most important activity for the year was moving to Norman from LA with Ken and their dog, Burt, and lavishing attention on their new home

 

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PUBLICATIONS

                                                                       

Neera Badhwar. “Is Virtue Only a Means to Happiness?” Reason Papers, 24 (Dec. 1999): 27-44.

Hugh Benson's Socratic Wisdom: The Model of Knowledge in Plato's Early Dialogues (Oxford University Press) was published in December 1999 (congratulations Hugh!). His “Natures, Capacities, and Final Causes” appeared in Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie, 2 (1998): 242-258.

Andrew Cohen. “Retained Liberties and Absolute Hobbesian Authorization,” Hobbes Studies, XI (1998) appeared in 1999.

Ray Elugardo. “Samesaying,” in Discussions with Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning, and Epistemology, edited by U. Zeglen (London: Routledge, 1999); and critical review of Lynne Rudder Baker’s book, Explaining Attitudes, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LIX (1999): 513-524.

Jim Hawthorne. “The Preface, the Lottery, and the Logic of Belief,” Mind, 108 (Apr. 1999): 241-264.

Ken Merrill. “Hume on Suicide,” History of Philosophy Quarterly, 16 (Oct. 1999): 395-412.

Jeff Purinton. “Epicurus on ‘Free Volition’ and the Atomic Swerve,” Phronesis, 44 (1999): 253-299.

Ed Sankowski. “Autonomy, Education, and Politics,” Philosophy of Education (1998): 323-331; “Film and the Politics of Culture,” Journal of Aesthetic Education, 33 (spring 1999): 81-94; “Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Moral Education,” Philosophy of Education (1999); and “Ecological Risks, Stakeholder Values, and River Basins: Testing Management Alternatives for the Illinois River,” M. Meo, B. Vieux, J. Sipes, E. Sankowski, R. Lynch, W. Focht, K. Willett, L. Caneday, Proceedings--1999 Water and Watersheds Program Review.

Chris Swoyer’s “Complex Predicates and Conversion Principles” was selected one of 1997’s ten best papers in philosophy by Philosopher's Annual, 20 (1999). The other papers selected for the annual were by Robert Adams (Yale), G. A. Cohen (Oxford), Janice Daurio (Moorpark College ), J. Gerbrandy & W Groeneve (University of Amsterdam), Raymond Geuss (Cambridge), Jean Hampton (University of Arizona), David Lewis (Princeton), Derek Parfit (Oxford), and Achille Varzi (Columbia). Chris’s article originally appeared in Philosophical Studies, 87 (1997): 1-32. He also published “How Ontology Might be Possible: Explanation and Inference in Metaphysics,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 23 (1999): 100-131; “Review of Benacerraf and his Critics,” in International Philosophical Quarterly, 38 (1998): 451-454; and "Properties," in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1999): 63 pages.

Linda Zagzebski. “The Virtues of God and the Foundations of Ethics,” Faith and Philosophy (Oct. 1998), appeared in early 1999. This was a special issue for which Linda was guest editor. Her other publications last year included a book chapter, “Phronesis and Christian Belief,” which appeared in The Rationality of Theism,” ed. by Godehard Bruntrop and Ron Tacelli (Kluwer Press, 1999).It will be reprinted in a revised form as “Phronesis and Religious Belief” in Knowledge, Belief, and Character, ed. by Guy Axtell (forthcoming, Oxford University Press). Her comment on John Haldane's paper, “Thomism and the Future of Catholic Philosophy,” appeared in New Blackfriars (Jan. 1999), a British periodical for educated Catholics (this issue was devoted to the question of whether analytic philosophy and the Catholic philosophical tradition can be brought together); and a review of John Hare’s book, The Moral Gap, appeared in Philosophical Review (Apr. 1999).

 

 

NEWS FROM ALUMNI

 

Lee Basham (Ph.D., 1998), adjunct assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, presented “Satanic Epistemology” at the 1999 meetings of The Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference, Colorado State University.

John Duncan (Ph.D., 1998) was appointed as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where he will be working with the Clinical Dependency Fellowship Program. He is still a full-time employee of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, where his title is chief agent, Pharmaceutical Diversion Division. In addition, he continues to work as a private consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Bar Association, and the international law enforcement community. In his spare time, he plays jazz guitar in the Joe Whitecotton Jazz Band.

Ann Edwards (Ph.D., 1993), assistant professor at Austin Peay State University, was awarded the Socrates Award for Excellence in Teaching for untenured faculty. She is also planning to teach an online course next month (assuming enough students enroll). Her book, Writing to Learn: An Introduction to Writing Philosophical Essays (McGraw-Hill, November 1999), is selling well--indeed, so well, that she expects a contract for a similar book for political science, and her editor wants her to write books for history and possibly some other fields as well. In between all this writing and a heavy teaching load, she also finds time to work on an ethics anthology. And last but not least, her book, Educational Theory as Political Theory, was nominated for the APA Book Award for Younger Scholars.

Bill Ferraiolo (Ph.D., 1997) presented “The Heaven Problem” at the Southwest Philosophical Society annual meeting in November 1999. It will be published in the Southwest Philosophy Review. He also published “Antiabortionism and the Rape Proviso” in Delta Views. He also won an Alpha Gamma Sigma (an OU honor society) teaching award last year, and presented “Intellectual Autonomy, Intellectual Opacity, and Intellectual Transparency” at the Central Valley Philosophical Association meeting in fall 1999. Finally, Bill is proud to report that he has successfully house-trained his dog--one of his (and his dog's) most impressive achievements.

Lee Hester’s (Ph.D., 1999) dissertation won Dissertation of the Year 1999 Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. He has four papers forthcoming: “Assimilation Redux: Indigenous Worlds meet Post(?)Modern Evolutionary-Ecological Environmental Ethics,” co-authored with Jim Cheney, Annie Booth and Dennis McPherson, Environmental Ethics (vol. 22, 2000); “Ceremonial Worlds and Environmental Sanity,” co-authored with Jim Cheney in Strategies; “Callicott’s Last Stand,” co-authored with Jim Cheney, Annie Booth and Dennis McPherson, in Land Value Community: Callicott and Environmental Philosophy, ed. by Wayne Ouderkirk (SUNY); and “Choctaw Education and Excellence,” in American Indian Thought: A Philosophy Anthology, eds. Anne Waters and John Dufours (Blackwell). He also gave two talks at The University of North Texas, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies in November 1999: “The Bible and the Feather” and “Ethical Pluralism or Assimilation Redux? Callicott’s Earth’s Insights.” He is co-founder and co-editor with Dennis McPherson of Ayaangwaamizin: The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy. In addition to serving as a cultural researcher for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, he also serves on the governing boards of the Oklahoma Choctaw Tribal Alliance, the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and the Oklahoma Association for Healthcare Ethics. Lee is an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University.

Chris Herrera (Ph.D., 1997) is now assistant professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Montclair State University.

Walter Hoenig, senior data analyst, Management Information and Analysis Texas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund in Austin, and proud father of three, enjoys developing database and intranet Web applications for his department. But when his home computer crashes, he often seeks the help of his oldest son, Will, 7. Walter is quite comfortable in Texas, except on OU/Texas weekends (or Texas/OU, as they are called down there), when he feels bipolar.

Judith Little (Ph.D., 1994), assistant professor, SUNY at Potsdam, was the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Southwestern Conference for Undergraduate Philosophers, University of Central Oklahoma, 1999, where she presented “Selective Separatism in Recent Feminist Science Fiction: A Dystopian Prescription for Utopia? or Where Have All the Separatists Gone?” She was also our featured speaker for the 1999 FOCAS week, where she revealed the wonders of philosophy with wit and wisdom in her talk, “The Weird and Wonderful World of Philosophy.” Judith was also session chair and panelist at a conference held in Madison, Wisc. She received the Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Award in spring 1999 to work on an anthology, Feminist Utopias and Dystopias: Experiments in Moral and Political Philosophy, an accessible and provocative collection of science fiction focusing on gender controversies in moral and political philosophy. Despite a heavy teaching load, she continues to serve on a zillion University and community committees.

Karen Mizell (Ph.D., 1997) accepted a position as assistant professor in the Humanities and Philosophy Department at Utah Valley State College.

Arthur Prince (Ph.D., 1996) received the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from Dyersburg State Community College.

Murali Ramachandran (M.A., 1985) is now lecturer in Philosophy; sub-dean, School of English & American Studies; and Philosophy graduate coordinator in the humanities at Sussex University, England. Although he is still working on his dissertation, he has a long list of publications in excellent journals such as Mind and Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Doren Recker (Ph.D. 1983) is now head of the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater). He is also director of Ancient Life in Oklahoma for High School Teachers Program, and director of the Summer Paleontology Academy for High School Students. His philosophical interests are in the philosophy and history of science. He was our featured speaker for the February 2000 FOCAS week, giving a lively talk, illustrated with fossils and photographs, on how to present the theory of evolution to students who are suspicious of it on religious grounds.

Jack Safarik (Ph.D., 1998) received the 1998 Provost’s Dissertation Prize in Fine Arts, Humanities, and Education for his dissertation “Social Identity and Ethnic Formation: Some Epistemological Questions for Political Philosophy” (Merrill).

Christopher Michael Schultz (B.A., summa cum laude, 1994) is the proud father of little Allison Katherine Schultz who entered the world at 5:41 a.m. on Friday, April 16, 1999.

Michael Silberstein (Ph.D., 1995), assistant professor, Elizabethtown College, was on a junior research leave in spring 1999 to work on several projects. He published “The Search for Ontological Emergence,” The Philosophical Quarterly, 49 (1999), and is co-editing the Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Science with Peter Machamer (University of Pittsburgh). The Guide contains 14 newly commisioned articles from newer philosophers of science on topics of future interest, including Michael’s article on emergence, reduction and explanation (forthcoming fall 2001). He also has forthcoming “Reductive Physicalism Versus the Explanatory Gap,” Journal of Consciousness Studies. Michael gave several talks last year: “The Dilemma of Reductive Physicalism: a New No-go Argument,” University of Hong Kong; “Explaining Consciousness: Convergence on Emergence,” The Science of Consciousness Conference Tucson 2000, University of Arizona. Finally, he is short-listed for a $20K grant from the University of Arizona at Tucson’s Center for Consciousness Studies, and for a $60K grant from the Templeton Foundation to put on a conference: “Cosmology in Crisis? The Future of Physics in the 21st Century.”

Barry Vaughan (Ph.D., 1999), Mesa Community College, received a grant for the spring term to redesign his internet PHI 101 course (Intro to Philosophy) to incorporate streaming audio and video. The demo version can be viewed at

http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/users/vaughan/ic/ip/frames/letter.html

In January, he gave a paper “The Maricopa Redemption” at the Maricopa Community College District Winter Convocation. He continues to work with the Mesa College Fencing Club as their faculty sponsor and “coach,” and leads an informal student philosophy discussion group each Sunday night at a local coffee house.


 

                                                                       OVERVIEW

The University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural and economic needs of the state, region and nation. Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the university has 18 colleges offering 134 bachelor's degrees, 82 master's degrees, 51 doctoral degrees, four graduate certificates, and one professional degree. OU enrolls almost 27,000 students on campuses in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa and has approximately 1,830 full-time faculty members. The university's annual operating budget is approximately $797 million. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.

This publication, printed by the Department of Philosophy, is issued by the University of Oklahoma and authorized by the chair of the Department of Philosophy.  It is prepared and distributed at a cost of $150 to the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma.


 

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We welcome your updates and comments. Please fill out this page and return it to Editor, OU Philosophy Newsletter, Department of Philosophy, 455 West Lindsey, Room 605, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-2006; or fax it to (405) 325-2660. You can also respond online at the department’s web site http://www.ou.edu/ouphil.   Thank you.

 

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