Department News

Welcome Back

As we start this unusual academic year, we are thrilled that Olivia Bailey joins as part of our faculty, and heartened to have Tim Clark, Hannah Ginsborg, Kristin Primus, and Daniel Warren back with us after sabbatical leaves. We congratulate Hans Sluga on his “retirement,” while looking forward to his continued teaching in the department. We are delighted that Bill Dellinger will be our new Graduate Student Affairs Officer.

We are eager to welcome this year’s entering class of Philosophy graduate students:

  • John Abughattas (UCLA)
  • Micah Dubreuil (SF State)
  • Hannah DeBrine (Wisconsin)
  • Virginia Foggo (UCLA)
  • Anhui Huang (Williams)
  • Russell McIntosh (UNC)
  • Milan Mossé (Stanford)

And likewise eager to welcome our new students in the Group in Logic and Methodology of Science:

  • Jordan Brown (Washington)
  • Ronan O’Gorman (Oxford)
  • Shoshana Simons (Brown)

Congratulations also to our new Ph.D. graduates:

  • Russell Ahmed-Buehler, “A Logical Theory of Confirmation”
  • Nick French, “Moral Obligation, Mutual Recognition, and Our Reasons to be Moral”
  • Nicholas Gooding, “The Social Achievement of Self-Understanding: Aristotle on Loving Oneself and Others”
  • Alex Kerr, “Ways of Perceiving: Beat, Perspective, and Color”
  • James Walsh, “Reflecting on the Consistency Strength Hierarchy”

Although some other post-Ph.D. plans have been put on hold by the pandemic, Alex and Nick will be Berkeley Connect Fellows, Nicholas will be visiting faculty at Outer Coast College, and James will be a Klarman Fellow at Cornell University.

Philosophy continues to be a popular major at Berkeley and to grow in its appeal to students of all majors. 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.

Although major lecture series, such as the Townsend, Howison, and Tanner, have been postponed, we keep the flame alive with some remote events. Olivia Bailey and Gillian Russell will be giving colloquia in the fall, as will our placement candidates. 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. 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 outpouring of donations to honor several late members of our philosophical community: Barry Stroud, Hubert Dreyfus, Carol Lee Price, and Griffin Sean Madden. Work on the Stroud Room is completed; it awaits only furniture and occupants freed from quarantine. We are delighted to welcome our first Carol Lee Price Fellow, Anhui Huang. We are deeply grateful to all of our many contributors.

In closing, there is no denying how much, as a result of the pandemic, is missing from our philosophical community. No rubbing shoulders in the first meetings of seminars in the Dennes Room, no first-year reception in the Women’s Faculty Club in the late August heat, no visiting scholars converging at Berkeley from the four corners. At the same time, we see with fresh eyes so much that we took for granted and that we have to look forward to when all this passes. Despite the challenges, I wish everyone a productive and enjoyable year, with lots of philosophical dialogue. Our philosophical community is irrepressible, and so long as we can share ideas one way or another, the questions, proposals, objections, and replies will keep coming.

Niko Kolodny

August 20, 2020