Department of Philosophy
314 Moses Hall #2390
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2390

Phone: 510-642-2722
Fax: 510-642-4164

Events this week

Mon Jan 26, 2015
Howison Library — 4 pm
Philosophy Colloquium
Shamik Dasgupta (Princeton University)
Structuralism and the Limits of Possibility
Thu Jan 29, 2015
Howison Library — 4 pm
Philosophy Colloquium
Selim Berker (Harvard University)
The Unity of Grounding
Sat Jan 31, 2015
Howison Library (305 Moses) — 10 am
Pranav Anand, Cleo Condoravdi, John Searle, Friederike Moltmann
Workshop on Speech Acts and Propositions


Joshua Cohen to join the faculty

Joshua Cohen will be joining Berkeley as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the School of Law, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Political Science in the College of Letters and Science, commencing on July 1, 2015. Cohen is on the faculty at Apple University. He was previously Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society and Professor of Philosophy and of Law at Stanford University, and Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cohen will spend one day a week at Berkeley, running a workshop that will bring in outside speakers to present works-in-progress in legal, moral and political philosophy. The workshop will alternate between the School of Law’s Kadish Center and the Social Sciences Matrix in the College of Letters and Science. In addition, Cohen will be able to serve as a member of dissertation committees in all three units with which he is associated.

Cohen is one of the leading political theorists in the Anglophone world, with a breadth that ranges from regulating sweatshop labor to the proper interpretation of Rousseau’s political philosophy. He has written extensively on issues of democratic theory, particularly deliberative democracy and its implications for personal liberty, freedom of expression, religious freedom, and political equality. He has also written on issues of global justice, including the foundations of human rights, distributive fairness, supranational democratic governance, and labor standards in supply chains.

Cohen’s recent books include Philosophy, Politics, Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2009); Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals (Oxford University Press, 2010); and The Arc of the Moral Universe and Other Essays (Harvard University Press, 2011). He is co-editor of The Norton Introduction to Philosophy (forthcoming 2015). And he has co-authored four books with Joel Rogers: On Democracy (Penguin Books, 1983), Inequity and Intervention: The Federal Budget and Central America (South End Press, 1986), Rules of the Game (South End Press, 1986), and Associations and Democracy (Verso, 1995).

Since 1991, Cohen has also served as Editor-in-Chief and later Co-Editor-in-Chief of Boston Review, a bimonthly magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas. In this capacity, he has invited academic scholars from a wide range of disciplines to contribute essays addressing some of the most pressing social, political, and legal issues of our day.

Cohen has given numerous named lectures, including the 1996 Wesson Lectures at Stanford, the 1999 Carlyle classes at Oxford, the 2002 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Lectures at MIT, the 2007 Tanner Lectures at Berkeley, the 2011 Dewey Lecture at the University of Chicago Law School, and the 2012 Comte Lectures at the London School of Economics.

Cohen’s appointment has been a community-building moment for Berkeley across disciplines, and has generated enormous excitement. I wish to thank the many colleagues who have worked hard to persuade Cohen to join our intellectual community. Please join me in welcoming him when he arrives on campus next summer.

New Crop Prize 2015

UC Berkeley undergraduate philosophy majors and minors are invited to submit essays for consideration for the 2015 New Crop Philosophy Prize:

new crop poster 2105

  • First prize: $3,000
  • Second prize: $2,000
  • Third prize: $1,000

Essays can be on any philosophical topic, and should not be more than ten pages in length. They should be submitted by electronic attachment to Janet Groome ( by February 1, 2015.

Like all philosophical essays, submissions should aim to be clear, cogent, and critically aware of existing debates. However, a premium will be placed on submissions that strive for originality: that perceptively challenge existing assumptions and positions. One aim of the New Crop Prize is to identify “outliers”: innovative voices and outlooks. All undergraduate majors and minors are encouraged to apply. You need not be a straight-A student to have something new to say!

The top five submissions, as determined by a committee of three graduate students, will be sent our Distinguished New Crop Visitor, who will select the first-, second-, and third-prize, winner. Our 2015 Distinguished New Crop Visitor, who was selected by members of Phil Forum, our undergraduate philosophy club, is Professor Daniel Dennett of Tufts University. On April 20, Professor Dennett will give a seminar on his work in philosophy, exclusively for undergraduates. Students will have a chance to ask questions and contribute, as well as bring up other related philosophical questions to be discussed. On April 21, Professor Dennett will present the awards and comment on the essays, with time left for student responses and broader discussion.