Department News

Welcome Back!

As the new academic year begins, we’re delighted that Andreja Novakovic is now part of our faculty, that Lara Buchak, Geoff Lee, and Seth Yalcin are back with us after sabbatical leaves, and that Jason Winning is joining us for the year to teach several courses. We are also very pleased that Sandy Orozco will be starting soon as our new Graduate Student Affairs Officer.

We welcome this year’s entering class of Philosophy PhD students: Russell Helder (BA, Gettysburg; MA, Georgia State), Christian Nakazawa (BA, Dartmouth), Teague Morris (BA Williams), Daniel Proske (BA, U Texas, Austin), Edward Schwartz (BA, Berkeley, formerly in PhD program at U Pittsburgh), Sarah Vernallis (BA, Stanford), and Alina Wang (BA, Smith). And likewise to our new student in the Group in Logic and Methodology: Ahmee Marshall-Christensen (AB Harvard; MSc Toronto).

Congratulations also to our 2019 Ph.D. graduates. Adam Bradley, who wrote “Sensitive Subjects: Bodily Awareness, Pain, and the Self,” will be spending the year as a postdoc at the Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp, Belgium. Ethan Jerzak, who wrote “Paradox in Thought and Natural Language,” will be starting a tenure-track position at the National University of Singapore. Jackson Kernion, who plans to file a dissertation entitled “Constraining Consciousness,” will be a postdoc this spring at MIT. Rachel Rudolph, who wrote “Talking about Appearances: Experience, Evaluation, and Evidence in Discourse,” will be starting a tenure-track position at Auburn University. We wish our new graduates (and soon-to-be graduates) all the best in their new endeavors.

We are lucky at Berkeley to have the stimulus of so many visiting scholars and visiting student researchers from all over the world, and we’d like to extend a warm welcome to them. This year’s new visitors include Eva Lucia Backhaus (Goethe-University Frankfurt), Anna Bellomo (Amsterdam), Robert de Meel (Leiden) Ayako Horiuchi (Tokyo), Marius Jakstas (Central European University), Sang Mu Oh (Korea University), Franziska Poprawe (Oxford), Robert Reimer (Leipzig), Jochen Schuff (Goethe University Frankfurt), Henry Shiller (UT Austin), Melanie Tate (Washington), Giovana Temple (Federal University of the Reconcavo of Bahia), and Veronica Valle (Macau).

Philosophy continues to be a popular major at Berkeley, with 245 majors last fall. And philosophy continues to grow in its appeal to students of all majors. Enrollments in our courses have risen from under 2,400 in 2014-15 to over 2,900 last year.

Not least of the attractions of the major is our vibrant undergraduate community, which pursues philosophy far beyond the limits of the classroom. Among many thriving student-led initiatives are the Peer Tutoring Program, our Minorities and Philosophy chapter, the Phil Forum club, and a rechristened undergraduate journal, The Idealist.

As always we have a packed program of events, including conferences, department colloquia, working group talks, work-in-progress lunches (lunch provided!), and a week of talks and seminars with our Townsend Visitor, Mark Johnston (Princeton), who will be here during the week of October 21. Steve Yablo (MIT) will be coming on April 22 to deliver the Howison Lecture, sponsored by the University’s Graduate Division. You can find out about our events by going to our listing of upcoming events. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find instructions for adding our events calendar to your bCal or other online calendar. If you are a faculty member, graduate student or visiting scholar you will automatically receive announcements of events in your email. For everyone else, instructions on how to get informed of events by email can be found at the bottom of Upcoming Events. Please join us!

Little of this would be possible without the generous support of friends of the department. It has been particularly moving to witness the upswell of donations to honor two late members of our philosophical community, Professor Hubert Dreyfus and undergraduate major Griffin Sean Madden. We are grateful to their families and to all of the many contributors.

I wish everyone a productive and enjoyable year, with lots of philosophical (and other) conversation. We have a great philosophical community here, and I encourage everyone to get involved in it as much as possible.

Niko Kolodny

August 24, 2019