Congratulations to the recipients of the Fink and Shwayder Prizes:
The Fink Prize goes to James Evershed for “Sometimes the Only Way is Down.”
The Shwayder Prize goes to Scott Cowan for “Aesthetic Reflection and Philosophical Reflection: Kant, Husserl, and Beyond.”
Well done, James and Scott!
May 11, 2022
Congratulations to the winners of the 2021-22 Outstanding GSI Award in Philosophy:
- Mike Arsenault
- Mathias Boehm
- Elek Lane
Well done, Mike, Mathias, and Elek!
May 10, 2022
We are delighted to announce that Verónica Gómez Sánchez will join our faculty as Assistant Professor on July 1, 2023, following a Bersoff Fellowship at NYU, and that Ezra Rubenstein will join us as Assistant Professor on January 1, 2023. Gómez Sánchez, who earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers this summer, works mainly in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, and Metaphysics. Rubenstein, who expects his Ph.D. from Rutgers in 2022, works mainly in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Physics, and Metaphysics.
August 23, 2021
Although the chair writes, “Welcome back,” at the start of every academic year, the words have special meaning at the start of this academic year, as almost all of us gather together again on our almost completely reopened campus.
We are equally delighted to welcome this year’s entering class of Philosophy graduate students:
- Scott Blomgren (UCLA)
- Katie Coyne (Yale, Cambridge)
- James Evershed (Oxford, St Andrews)
- Emily Massey (Yale, Oxford, Harvard)
- Coleman Solis (Pomona, NIH)
- Aglaia von Götz (Zürich, Oxford)
And likewise delighted to welcome our new students in the Group in Logic and Methodology of Science:
- Alexander Burka (Chicago)
- Robert Schütz (Heidelberg, Amsterdam)
Even many of us who have been part of the department since Fall 2020 will nevertheless be meeting the rest of us in person for the first time Fall 2021. So it seems fitting to give a renewed welcome to Olivia Bailey, who is starting her second year on the faculty, and to Bill Dellinger, who is starting his second year as our Graduate Student Affairs Officer. A renewed welcome as well to the second-year class of Philosophy graduate students:
- Micah Dubreuil (SF State, Berkeley)
- Hannah DeBrine (Wisconsin, Berkeley)
- Virginia Foggo (UCLA, Berkeley)
- Anhui Huang (Williams, Berkeley)
- Russell McIntosh (UNC, Berkeley)
- Milan Mossé (Stanford, Berkeley)
And a renewed welcome to the second-year class in Group in Logic and Methodology of Science:
- Jordan Brown (Washington, Berkeley)
- Ronan O’Gorman (Oxford, Berkeley)
- Shoshana Simons (Brown, Berkeley)
Congratulations to our most recent Ph.D. graduates:
- Sophia Dandelet, “Deciding What You Know: Ethical Norms in Epistemic Inquiry,” New York University, Bersoff Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Yifeng Ding, “Propositional Quantification and Comparison in Modal Logic,” Peking University, Assistant Professor
- Caitlin Dolan, “Looking and Learning: Pictorial Representation and Visual Skill,” San Francisco State University, Lecturer
- Ravit Dotan, “The Social View of Evidence,” University of Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science, Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Omar Fakhri, “How to Stand Your Ground in the Face of Moral Disagreement,” Bethel University, Assistant Professor
- Nick French, “Moral Obligation, Mutual Recognition, and Our Reasons to be Moral,” Jacobin, Assistant Editor
- Kirsten Pickering, “Why Answer the Epistemic Challenge?” Mount Tamalpais College operating in San Quentin State Prison, Research and Program Fellow
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.
In-person talks will resume this year, with Howison Lectures by Robert Stalnaker and Steve Yablo, a GALA Lecture by Susan Wolf, Departmental Colloquia by Quill Kukla and Samantha Matherne, and (invariably superb) Graduate Research Colloquia by our placement candidates. We look forward to our first event of the year, a week-long Townsend Visit via Zoom from Susanne Bobzien. You can find out about our events by going to our list 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 donations to honor several late members of our philosophical community: Barry Stroud, Hubert Dreyfus, Griffin Sean Madden, and Carol Lee Price. Work on the Stroud Room is completed and ready for use; it awaits only the display case for Barry’s library. The Howison Library pantheon is expecting portraits of Barry and Bert, along with portraits of Hans Sluga and Kwong-loi Shun, who continue to captivate undergraduates in their recall teaching. We are delighted that among the grad students we welcome are our first and second Carol Lee Price Fellows, Anhui Huang and Aglaia von Götz. We are deeply grateful to all of our many contributors.
Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to get started. If we were able to keep the flame of philosophical inquiry and conversation alive in the stale air of Zoom, just imagine how brightly it will shine with the fresh oxygen of what we now know as the “in-person modality of instruction.”
August 19, 2021
We invite you to watch our 2021 Department Graduation Ceremony!
You’ll need Berkeley credentials to access it. But you should feel free to download it and share it personally with people without Berkeley credentials. However, please don’t post anything to social media other than parts where you yourself appear.
May 15, 2021
Congratulations to the winners of the 2020-21 Outstanding GSI Award in Philosophy:
- Jennifer Marsh
- Patrick Ryan
- Pia Schneider
Well done, Jenny, Patrick, and Pia!
May 04, 2021
Please join us in congratulating
Greyson Abid, who was awarded the new Shwayder Prize for “The Irreducibility of Recognition.”
Patrick Ryan, who was awarded the Fink Prize for “Szemerédi’s Theorem.”
May 03, 2021
Please join us in congratulating R. Jay Wallace, Professor of Philosophy and Judy Chandler Webb Distinguished Chair for Innovative Teaching and Research, who was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences! Here’s the Berkeley News story.
April 22, 2021
We are delighted to announce that Johann Frick will join our faculty as Associate Professor on July 1, 2021. Frick received his Ph.D. from Harvard and is currently Associate Professor at Princeton. His research spans a range of topics in moral and political philosophy, practical reason, and applied ethics. His current work focuses on population ethics, the ethics of risk, moral dilemmas and moral luck, the notion of interpersonal justification, and the ethics of immigration and national partiality.
March 15, 2021
We are delighted to announce that Xueyin (Snow) Zhang will join our faculty as Assistant Professor on July 1, 2023, following a Bersoff Fellowship at NYU. Zhang, who expects her Ph.D. from Princeton later this year, works mainly in Formal Epistemology and Decision Theory. However, she also has substantial interests in Chinese Philosophy, on which she plans further research in the coming years.
March 10, 2021
Two new Domain Emphases in Philosophical Foundations have been incorporated into the Data Science Major:
February 16, 2021
Paolo Mancosu, Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of Philosophy, has been recognized with a Chaire d’excellence internationale Blaise Pascal. Only four scholars annually, from all areas of knowledge, win this highly prestigious award. Past recipients include several Nobel laureates. The public announcement can be found here. Congratulations, Paolo!
December 07, 2020
The Public Philosophy Decal course, designed by undergraduate Claire Michael and graduate student Ravit Dotan, has been selected for the APA’s Syllabus Showcase! You can read the blog post here. The course will be offered again this spring.
October 22, 2020
Prospective applicants to the graduate program in philosophy at Berkeley are warmly invited to join us at the Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair!
To register, click here.
October 20, 2020
(Thanks to Mike Martin for thinking to take some screenshots and to Eddie Kolodny for some instruction in Photoshop.)
September 04, 2020
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.
August 20, 2020
We are delighted to welcome Olivia Bailey, who joins us as Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Olivia works on questions in moral psychology and the history of moral philosophy (particularly the British moralists). Her current research is concerned with the ethical and epistemic significance of empathy. She earned her PhD at Harvard University and was most recently Assistant Professor at Tulane University.
July 18, 2020
Congratulations to Sven Neth who has been awarded the 2020 Fink Prize for an essay written by a graduate student. Neth received the prize for his essay “Better Foundations for Subjective Probability.”
July 18, 2020
Although the purpose of this forum is to communicate news items about our department, such as prizes, publications, and hires, in this singular historical moment, it seems appropriate to post these exceptional statements.
Statement Composed by Graduate Students of UC Berkeley Philosophy Condemning Racism and Committing to Change
Without any qualification or hesitation, we affirm that Black Lives Matter. As members of the U.C. Berkeley Department of Philosophy, we resoundingly condemn the ongoing police brutality against Black people in our country. This untempered violence has led to the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others. This violence has been made all the more salient by the ongoing pandemic, which disproportionately affects communities of color. The racist status quo in the United States is unacceptable and must change.
We realize that a statement of solidarity is not enough. As academics and educators, we must use our positions of power and influence to work towards racial justice and equity. We cannot shy away from responsibility at this critical time.
We call on U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ to begin an effort to defund and demilitarize the U.C. Police Department and reallocate funds to community-based organizations that help better the lives of students and other peoples of color, in line with the proposal endorsed by our graduate-student workers union, UAW Local 2865, and those which are being considered at a citywide level in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition, we stand with U.C. Berkeley’s Law Students of African Descent in the demand that U.C. Berkeley immediately cut ties with the Berkeley Police Department.
We also recognize that now is the time to hold ourselves accountable and change our own practices. As a department, we have not done enough to support our Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, along with all other students of color, who face additional stressors on a daily basis both in and out of the classroom. For example, as teachers of philosophy, we have not done enough to critically interrogate stereotypes, particularly about “natural talent” for philosophy, that favor students in the dominant cultural group. We have also not done enough to recognize and challenge microaggressions. Moreover, we have not paid enough attention to the effects of a canon that is overwhelmingly white, and of passing over in complicit silence the racism voiced by some of its main figures. All of these inadequacies can alienate students from underrepresented groups and burden them with draining and distracting psychic work of overcoming alienation. This is made all the more salient by the fact that the racial diversity among our faculty and graduate students is unsatisfactory. We feel a profound sense of regret and responsibility at the thought of how these failures may have turned off or driven out students who would otherwise have excelled in our discipline.
Further, we have failed to properly intellectually engage with the work of philosophers of color and with work that is especially relevant to communities of color. Our course offerings and invited speaker lists rarely include this valuable work. This has been a disservice to our students and to philosophy as a whole, and has left us with a parochial understanding of our own discipline.
We must do better. The signatories of this letter are committed to doing the work to understand the role that we have played in perpetuating this status quo, and what steps we can take to change it.
In particular, we will take active steps to promote the following goals:
- Restructuring our syllabi to include a larger number of philosophers of color
- Inviting philosophers of color as colloquium speakers every academic year
- Improving racial diversity in faculty hiring and graduate admissions by employing practices that increase equity.
- Cross-listing courses from other departments, introducing new courses, and using other means to make room for discussions of racism and intersecting social justice issues
- Engaging in conversations on philosophical pedagogy that critically interrogate our own assumptions, and those of our colleagues (e.g. about “natural talent” in philosophy) and that help us to recognize and foster the diverse kinds of excellence that characterize a healthy intellectual community
We recognize that these changes will not come easily, and that this list is not exhaustive. Nevertheless, we commit to finding solutions and will not create excuses to justify our failure to act. We also commit to ongoing dialogue about these issues with people of color in our community.
Greyson Abid, Jes Heppler, Madeleine Levac, Teague Morris, Ravit Dotan, Nick French, Ahmee Marshall-Christensen, Elek Lane, Isabella Carlsson, Monika Chao, Patrick Ryan, Alina Wang, Pia Schneider, Edward Schwartz, Sophie Dandelet, Evan Washington, Michael Arsenault, Alex Kerr, Jennifer Marsh, Tyler Haddow, Daniel Khokhar, Scott Casleton, Caitlin Dolan, Sven Neth, Klaus Strelau, SJ Cowan, Sarah Vernallis, Randall Amano, Urte Laukaityte, Christian Nakazawa, Russell Helder, Mathias Boehm, Kirsten Pickering, Adam Paris, Virginia Foggo, Daniel Proske, Joseph Kassman-Tod, Luke Jensen, Micah Dubreuil, Milan Mossé, Russ McIntosh, John Abughattas, Valentin Beck (visitor), B Scot Rousse (visitor)
Statement by the Faculty of UC Berkeley Philosophy
As faculty of the UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy, we state unequivocally that Black lives matter. We condemn the acts of police brutality we have witnessed around the country and the racial inequalities they reflect and perpetuate.
In addition, we are moved to confront issues of racism closer to home. We call on the University of California, and the Berkeley campus in particular, to perform a thorough examination of its policing, in public discussion with all of the relevant stakeholders, and with the security and sense of security of students, faculty, staff, and visitors of color as its paramount consideration.
We acknowledge the many ways in which our discipline has been discouraging, unwelcoming, or alienating to people of color, and members of other historically disadvantaged groups. There have been overt acts of hostility, exclusion, and disregard by prominent figures in the history of our subject. There are continuing patterns of negligence that, as difficult as it may be to face, help to perpetuate structures of racism and exclusion.
A painful example of that negligence is the fact that the building that houses our department is named after Bernard Moses. Some of us vaguely knew that Moses was a man of less than enlightened views. But none of us who did know bothered to look into the details, until recently when a graduate student, who had read some of his papers, called our attention to several troubling passages. Among these is a passage in which Moses appears casually to describe the extra-legal terror inflicted on African-Americans in the post-war South as an emergency measure which was necessitated by the threat those Americans posed to civilization and which met “the crimes of barbarism with a method and a punishment that might be supposed to impress and deter the barbarian,” (“New Problems in the Study of Society,” University Chronicle, Vol. 3 (1900), p. 25). We have been remiss in failing to investigate and confront this history.
Among other steps, we commit:
- To initiate a process to address the naming of our shared home.
- To do our part in public discussion of UC policing.
- To renew and amplify our efforts to attract the most diverse pool of applicants for faculty and staff positions, and for our graduate program, and to follow practices that counteract the documented biases that undermine fair assessment of applicants’ future contributions.
- To remind ourselves that our very profession presupposes that philosophy is a learned skill, not something innate, and that research indicates that the view that it is innate discourages people who don’t fit the demographic stereotype of the academic philosopher.
- To renew and amplify the welcome that we extend to invited scholars of color, not only in philosophy colloquia, but also in venues decided by faculty, e.g., Tanner, Kadish, Howison, Townsend.
- To renew and amplify our efforts to diversify the authors on our syllabi, so that students from underrepresented groups don’t feel needlessly estranged or needlessly taxed by the mental effort of overcoming estrangement. Both as a practical step toward this end and signal of our commitment, we will, insofar as the department budget permits, hire graduate student researchers to develop resources for syllabus diversification.
- To be responsive to undergraduate demand for courses on issues involving race and social justice and to graduate student demand for seminars and supervision on issues involving race and social justice.
June 19, 2020
Charles Chihara’s family has donated to the Howison Library an almost finished book manuscript, The Fregean Assumption or Does Philosophy of Mathematics Rest on a Mistake? It can be downloaded from the In Memoriam page for Charles.
April 03, 2020
It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that we report that Charles Chihara, Professor Emeritus, has passed away.
For a beautiful and moving tribute, from Charles’s daughter, Michelle, please visit:
Her contact details can also be found there.
There will be a memorial service on March 21, in Los Angeles. Here is an announcement:
In lieu of flowers, etc., donations may be made in his name to the Chronicle Season of Sharing.
February 20, 2020
The Philosophy Department welcomes donations to help fund the renovation of the Stroud Room into a space for small seminars and discussion sections. For a “before” tour of the Stroud Room, please visit: https://www.barrystroud.com/memorial.
Donors will be acknowledged by a framed list or plaque in Stroud Room. To donate, please:
- Visit: https://give.berkeley.edu/browse/?u=213
- Under “4. Additional details about my support…” please check “I am giving in memory of someone.”
- In the text box that appears, please type “Barry Stroud.”
Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Should total donations exceed the roughly $50,000 we estimate for the project, they will go to our annual fund, about which you can learn more here: https://philosophy.berkeley.edu/page/Giving.
November 09, 2019
You are invited to visit a memorial website, https://www.barrystroud.com/memorial, that was set up by Barry’s family. It includes a video of the service, the welcome slide show, written remembrances, and a tour of the Stroud Room.
November 07, 2019
The latest issue of California, the magazine of the Cal Alumni Association, devotes its cover article to Alva Noë’s new book, Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark.
September 08, 2019
A memorial for Barry Stroud, who died on August 9, will be held at
Moses Hall Toll Room, Alumni House, on the Berkeley campus, Saturday, November 2, 2019, at 4pm. As part of the occasion, in recognition of Barry’s contributions to the department, we will dedicate a room in Moses as the Stroud Room. A reception with wine and cheese will follow.
Whether or not you can join us for the event itself, we would welcome any thoughts or reminiscences that you might be willing to share. Please send those to Niko and Janet as well.
There will also be a memorial session for Barry, organized by Seth Yalcin, at the Pacific APA in San Francisco, April 8–11, 2020.
August 27, 2019
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.
August 24, 2019
It is with great sadness that we announce that Barry Stroud died on August 9. He was diagnosed with brain cancer, at a very advanced stage, just two months ago.
His body of work, his influence on generations of students, his imprint on the character of our department, the example that he set of the purest philosophical inquiry — all of it is beyond reckoning. As hard as it is to imagine what philosophy at Berkeley will be like without him, it is even harder to imagine what it would have been.
Berkeley News Obituary (8/21/19)
Daily Californian Obituary (8/27/19)
August 12, 2019
Our late, missed colleague Bert Dreyfus continues to have a presence online. His webpage is still up. (The URL will change soon, but we will post the new URL here when it does.) The email address, for messages to his family, is: email@example.com.
August 22, 2019
Congratulations to Tim Clarke, who has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1 2017.
June 21, 2019
Congratulations to Janet Broughton, who has been appointed to a two-year term as Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, effective July 1. Janet’s previous campus service includes appointments as Vice Provost for the Faculty, Dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities, Chair of the Budget Committee, and Chair of the Philosophy Department. We’re delighted that she has agreed to take on this new role.
May 27, 2019
Congratulations to Ravit Dotan, who has been awarded the 2019 Fink Prize for an essay written by a graduate student. Ravit received the prize for her essay “Machine learning, theory choice, and non-epistemic values.”
May 09, 2019
I’m happy to announce that the first recipient of the Griffin Sean Madden Prize will be Angela Lee, who will be graduating this year with a double major in Philosophy and Chemistry. The Prize was established in memory of Griffin Madden, who graduated from Berkeley in 2015 with a double major in Philosophy and Slavic Languages and Literature, and who was tragically killed in the 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland.
May 09, 2019
Congratulations to Ravit Dotan, one of just 14 GSIs from across the whole campus to receive a Teaching Effectiveness Award for 2019. She joins three previous award winners from Philosophy: Jeff Kaplan (2017), Lindsay Crawford (2013) and Bojana Mladenovic (1994). Ravit won the award based on an essay entitled “How to Increase Participation in Section.” Details of the award can be found here; her essay will be posted, along with the the other prize-winning essays, here.
May 08, 2019
Congratulations to the winners of Graduate Division’s Outstanding GSI Award for 2018: Ravit Dotan, Nick Gooding, and Emily Perry. As always, a big thank you to all our GSIs for their hard work and dedication to undergraduate teaching.
April 25, 2019
Congratulations to Jay Wallace on his selection as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for 2019-20! This program facilitates two-day visits by distinguished scholars to colleges and universities that host Phi Beta Kappa chapters, where they interact with students and faculty in a variety of settings. Previous Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars from our department were Bert Dreyfus and John Searle. A complete list of Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars for 2019-20 can be found here.
February 20, 2019
A recent issue of the New Yorker contains a discussion of a recent book by our own Agnes Callard (Ph.D., 2008), now a professor at the University of Chicago. You can find the article here
February 17, 2019
We are very happy to announce the recent appointment of three very distinguished philosophers, Alvin Goldman, Dana Scott, and Holly Smith, as Distinguished Research Associates in the Department of Philosophy. All three of them have previously been Visiting Scholars in the Department, and we have very much appreciated their contributions to department life in that capacity. We are now very happy that it has been possible to arrange for them to continue their association with Berkeley on a long-term basis.
February 17, 2019
NEH recently announced the grant recipients who were successful in its 2018 competition. It’s a pleasure to learn that, out of five recipients in philosophy, two are Berkeley PhDs; Erin Beeghly (University of Utah), who received her PhD in 2014, and Suzanne Obdrzalek (Claremont-McKenna College) who received her PhD in 2004. For more details, see here.
December 17, 2018
We’re delighted to announce that Andreja Novakovic (PhD., Columbia University), currently at UC Riverside, is joining us as an Associate Professor. Andreja works on post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, with a particular focus on Hegel. We look forward to welcoming her in Fall 2019.
October 16, 2018
We are delighted to announce the establishment of an endowment in memory of long-time Berkeley professor Hubert Dreyfus, who passed away on April 22 2017.
Income from the endowment will be used to support faculty and graduate students working in Continental Philosophy at Berkeley. We are deeply grateful to all the contributors to the endowment, and to Genevieve Boissier-Dreyfus who coordinated the fundraising. It is wonderful that, after all Bert’s extraordinary contributions to Continental Philosophy at Berkeley during his lifetime, his name will continue to be associated with the support of Continental Philosophy in our department in the future.
October 15, 2018
Congratulations to Paolo Mancosu, whose book, Infini, Logique, Géométrie (Paris: Vrin, 2015) has been awarded the prestigious Prix Jean Cavaillès for a work of philosophy, with a preference for “scientific philosophy.” Previous awardees include Paul Ricoeur, Suzanne Bachelard, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Bouveresse. For more details see here.
October 01, 2018
As the new academic year gets under way, I’m happy to welcome both the new members of our philosophical community, especially our new entering class of graduate students, and to welcome back everyone who is returning. We’re happy to have with us again Paolo Mancosu, Mike Martin and Véronique Munoz-Dardé, who are all back from sabbatical leave, and to welcome two new additions to our affiliated faculty, Asad Q. Ahmed (Near Eastern Studies) and Amy Rose Deal (Linguistics).
Congratulations and welcome to this year’s entering class of Philosophy PhD students: Isabella Carlsson (BA, Northeastern University), Scott Cowan (BFA, Columbia College; MA, Fuller Theological Seminary; MA, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), William Phillips (BA, Middle Tennessee State University; MA, Brandeis), Ajay Ravichandran (BA, U. of Chicago; JD, Yale), Daniel Villalon (BA, Northwestern) and Evan Washington (BA, Princeton). And likewise to our new students in the Group in Logic and Methodology: Guillaume Massas (BA, Paris-IV; MA, Paris-I; M.Sc. Amsterdam), Diego Bejarano (BS, Chicago) and Matthew McCauley (BA, Johns Hopkins).
Congratulations also to our 2018 Ph.D. graduates. Jim Hutchinson, who wrote on “Frege’s Systematic Conception of Truth and its Consequences,” is going on to be Oscar R. Ewing Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Indiana. Erica Klempner, who wrote on “Beauty, Art and Testimony: Subjectivity and Objectivity in Aesthetics,” will be staying at Berkeley with a Berkeley Connect postdoctoral fellowship. Alex Kocurek, whose dissertation is entitled “What Can You Say? Measuring the Expressive Power of Languages,” is taking up a tenure-track position in philosophy at Cornell. And Antonia Peacocke, “Knowing Yourself is Something You Do,” is going to New York University on a Bersoff Postdoctoral Fellowship before taking up a tenure-track position in philosophy at Stanford. I’d like to mention here also Jeffrey Kaplan who plans to graduate soon with a dissertation on “Weightless Nomativity” and who will be taking up a tenure-track position at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in January. 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 visiting scholars include Valentin Beck (FU Berlin), Xudong Chen (Anhui Normal University), Lizhen Duan (Nanjing University), Alan Fenster, Alvin Goldman (Rutgers), Dominic Hughes (Apple), Jair A. Krassuski (Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil), João P. Martins Neto (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil), Corijn Van Mazijk (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), Kaspar Villadsen (Copenhagen Business School), and Zemian Zheng (Wuhan University). The list of visiting scholars and visiting student researchers is updated over the year, so please check our visiting scholars web page for the latest information.
Philosophy continues to grow in popularity as a major at Berkeley. Last fall our major count was a record 262, the highest in the Department’s history (and almost 100 more than in fall 2015). Enrollment by non-majors in our courses also remains extremely high. We’ve continued and, where possible, expanded our various initiatives to support our large student population (for details, you can scroll down to last year’s message). In particular, thanks to contributions from two generous donors and from the Griffin Sean Madden fund, we’ve been able both to keep up with increasing demand for our peer tutoring program and to extend it to students taking summer courses, I’d like to take the opportunity here to say thank you to graduate student Dan Khokhar, who coordinated the program last year, and to last year’s peer tutors: Emma Barton, Dylan Cox, Clay Halbert, Paul Irvin, Carli Jipsen, and Phillip Wullschleger.
Last year a number of our students, both undergraduate and graduate, set up a MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) chapter to promote equity and inclusion in our department and in philosophy more generally. They are working on a number of exciting initiatives, including workshops about diversifying course syllabi and about inclusive teaching, a MAP website with resources for equity and inclusion which will supplement the department’s equity and inclusion page, and outreach to students in high schools to encourage broader participation in philosophy. I’d like to thank all of the students (some now graduates) who were active in setting up the MAP chapter last year, in particular Agnes Artoonian, Carli Jipsen and Stefan Madzar among the undergraduates, and Ravit Dotan and Antonia Peacocke among the graduate students. We really lucky to have such a committed and engaged student body, who are responsible not only for MAP but also for the undergraduate philosophy club Phil Forum, which meets regularly for talks and discussions.
At the faculty level, we’ve been active in helping shape the campus’s new Signature Initiatives, including two with particular relevance to philosophy, Democracy and Inclusive Intelligence. Under the guidance of Niko Kolodny, we’re working with the Division of Data Science to provide courses which will constitute a philosophy-focused “Domain Emphasis” within Data Science, and Niko is also developing a course that will meet the “Human Contexts and Ethics” requirement for the Data Science major. We are excited to be participating in these new campus-wide initiatives.
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, Tim Scanlon (Harvard), who will be here during the week of October 22. Another distinguished philosopher, Joseph Raz (Columbia) will be coming on October 11 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 here. Our colloquia and other department-sponsored talks are an opportunity not only to hear from a wide range of visiting philosophers and discuss their work, but also to get together over refreshments for informal exchanges. Please come to as many as you can!
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.
September 05, 2018
We gratefully acknowledge a generous gift to the department in memory of undergraduate Griffin Madden, whose loss in the December 2016 Oakland Ghost Ship fire is deeply felt by all of us who knew him. (For recollections of Griffin from some of his teachers, see here.) The gift of $25,000, from Griffin’s father Mike Madden, will be used over a five-year period to help support our undergraduate peer tutoring program, as well as to fund an annual prize over the next five years for a graduating senior who plans to attend graduate school in philosophy. We’re very glad to have this opportunity to remember Griffin, and very grateful to Mike for his support of our undergraduates.
August 23, 2018
Congratulations to Lara Buchak, whose article, “Taking Risks Behind the Veil of Ignorance,” published last year in Ethics, has been selected by the editors of Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best papers published in 2017. This is Lara’s second appearance in the Annual’s top ten lists, which include a 2015 paper co-authored by Lara, as well as articles by Berkeley faculty Shamik Dasgupta (2016) and Seth Yalcin (2007). Berkeley PhDs are also well-represented in the Annual, with two articles each by Michael Caie (2012 and 2013), Fabrizio Cariani (2008 and 2016), Michael Titelbaum (2008 and 2015), and one by Kenny Easwaran (2015).
August 17, 2018
The winner of this year’s Fink Prize is Adam Bradley, for his paper “The Paradox of Pain.” Congratulations, Adam!
May 08, 2018
Congratulations to Caitlin Dolan on winning the annual Dissertation Fellowship from the American Society of Aesthetics, for a project entitled “Looking and Learning: Pictorial Representation and Visual Skill.” You can see the ASA announcement here.
April 19, 2018
Congratulations to Dan Khokhar, Adam Paris, and James Walsh on receiving the Graduate Division’s Outstanding GSI Award for 2017! And a big thank you to all our GSIs for their hard work and dedication to undergraduate teaching.
April 05, 2018
A study sponsored by the American Philosophical Association, “Academic Placement Data and Analysis,” analyses academic placement records, graduate student satisfaction, and various other data for philosophy PhD programs in English-speaking countries. It recently issued its 2017 report, and we’re delighted that the report ranks us as number one both for graduate student satisfaction, and – by a wide margin – for placement of our graduates in tenure-track positions at PhD-granting institutions. For a convenient summary of the results, see here.
November 06, 2017
We’re delighted to announce that Asad Q. Ahmed (Near Eastern Studies) is now a member of our affiliated faculty. For a brief bio and a link to more information, see here.
December 07, 2017
We’re delighted to announce a generous bequest from David Johnston to support undergraduates at Berkeley studying philosophy. Johnston, who died at age 81 in February 2016, received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Berkeley and went on to become a professor at Orange Coast College. The bequest, in the amount of $1.6m, will be administered by Berkeley’s Financial Aid office, and will offer scholarships of $10,000 to financially eligible students who are either majoring in philosophy or taking two or more philosophy classes at Berkeley. It honors the memory of M.F. Johnston and Marvel Monia Johnston.
November 17, 2017
We’re delighted to announce that Amy Rose Deal, from the Department of Linguistics, is joining us as a member of our Affiliated Faculty. You can find out about her and her work here.
November 07, 2017
Congratulations to Ethan for being selected as one of three winners of the 2018 Sanders Graduate Student Awards, awarded to each of the three best papers in mind, metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics submitted for the Eastern Division APA meeting. Ethan won an award for his paper, “Two Ways to Want?”
October 04, 2017
The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley seeks applications for an Assistant/Associate/Full Professor (tenure track or tenured) position in the areas of Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, Moral & Political Philosophy, or Ancient Philosophy, with an expected start date of July 1, 2018.
Job responsibilities include teaching 4 courses/year at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and conducting thesis supervision. Area of Specialization: Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, Moral & Political Philosophy, or Ancient Philosophy.
Rank will be determined based on qualifications and experience. Senior Assistant Professors should apply to the Assistant recruitment.
For more information about the position, including required qualifications and application materials, please refer to the links below.
To apply at the Assistant Professor level, please go to the following
To apply at the Associate or Full Professor level, please go to the
Applications must be received by October 27, 2017. Please direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The University of California, Berkeley is an AA/EEO employer.
September 26, 2017
Welcome to a new year of philosophy at Berkeley! We’re looking forward to another year packed with philosophical activity.
In faculty news, we’re delighted to report that Wes Holliday is now a tenured member of the department, and we’re also very happy to welcome John MacFarlane back from his leave in Paris, and Jay Wallace and Katharina Kaiser back from their respective leaves in Berlin. Welcome also to David Lieberman (Law), who has joined our Affiliated Faculty, and to affiliated faculty member Tania Lombrozo (Psychology), who will be spending this year based in our department as she works on her sabbatical research projects.
As you may know, last semester our community was shaken by disturbing allegations of sexual assault and harassment made about one of our emeritus faculty. This was very distressing to our department, but it has also given us an opportunity to identify and address important questions about the climate in the Department for women and other groups who are underrepresented in philosophy. Since the formation of our equity task force in 2014 we have been working actively to promote an inclusive environment in the Department, and the discussions that we had last semester as a result of the allegations have given an extra impetus to our efforts. This year we will have a number of events focussed on equity and inclusion, including workshops on inclusive teaching strategies and on more general climate issues. We have updated the equity and inclusion section of our website , and we have also been taking steps to make sure that our students are fully aware of the resources available to them in cases of sexual harassment and related behaviour. I’ve been very heartened by last semester’s discussions, which have made clear to me how deeply our faculty and graduate students are committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, one in which behaviour of the kind alleged simply has no place. I look forward to continuing our discussions on this in the coming year.
It’s a pleasure each year to welcome our new entering class of graduate students. This year, seven new students will be joining the philosophy Ph.D. program. These are: Scott Castleton (B.A., Yale), Monika Chao (M.A., San Francisco State), Jessica Heppler (B.A., SUNY Geneseo), Luke Jensen (B.A., Haverford), Elek Lane (B.A., Chicago), Madeleine Levac (B.A., University of Toronto) and Emily Podhorcer (B.A., Rutgers). We also welcome three new students to the Program in Logic and the Methodology of Science: Zahra (“Raha”) Ahmadianhosseini (M.A., University of Calgary), David Casey (B.A., University of Chicago) and Jacopo di Bonito (M.S., University of Trento). Congratulations to all our new students. We’re looking forward to getting to know you.
Congratulations also to our 2017 Ph.D. graduates. Austin Andrews, who completed a dissertation on “Transparency in Perceptual Experience,” will be staying at Berkeley for the coming year as a Berkeley Connect Fellow. Jeremy Carey, who wrote on “Reason, Desire, and the Will: In Defense of a Tripartite Moral Psychology,” is going on to a visiting position at Siena College. Peter Epstein, who wrote on “Sensible Concepts: Experience and the A Priori,” will be taking up a Randall Dillard Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Quinn Gibson, “Dual-Process Theory, Responsibility, Self-Deception, and Addiction,” is going to NYU Shanghai to take up a postdoctoral teaching fellowship. Julian Jonker, “In Defense of Directed Duties,” will be taking up a tenured position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Richard Lawrence, who wrote on “Nominalization, Specification and Investigation” is staying on at Berkeley as a Berkeley Connect Fellow. Dylan Murray, “Hijacking Reason: Implicit Attitudes and Moral Responsibility”, is going on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Umrao Sethi, who wrote on “Perception and the Dual Nature of Appearances,” is starting a tenure-track position at CUNY’s Lehman College. And Justin Vlasits, “Platonic Division and the Origins of Aristotelian Logic,” is going to University of Tübingen for a two-year postdoc. We’ll miss those of you who are leaving, and we hope you keep in touch!
We’re very pleased to welcome this year’s new visiting scholars and visiting student researchers. This year’s visiting scholars include Daniel Attas (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Alvin Goldman (Rutgers University), Douglas Marshall (Carleton College), Bengt Molander (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Milos Petrovic (UC Berkeley Department of Rhetoric), Laura Schroeter (University of Melbourne), Francois Schroeter (University of Melbourne), and Holly Smith (Rutgers University). Our visiting student researchers include Jixin Liu (Beijing University), Thomas Saad (University of Texas at Austin), Yuetong Xi (Renmin University of China), and Lin Yu (Beihang University). The list of visiting scholars and student researchers is updated over the year, so do check our visiting scholars web page for the latest information.
Our undergraduate program has been attracting record numbers of students. Last year, the philosophy course-enrollment count for fall and spring hit the three thousand mark, and our classes have been filled up to capacity and beyond. As always we are enormously grateful to our extraordinarily dedicated GSIs whose assistance in teaching our undergraduates is invaluable. We are aware that over-filled classes place an extra burden on our GSIs and we are very appreciative of how hard they work to help our students succeed.
In the coming year we will be continuing some recently instituted initiatives aimed at offering our undergraduates additional support. Our Berkeley Connect program continues for the coming academic year, as does our peer tutoring program, staffed entirely by current and recent majors. The Urban Scholars program, initiated and organized by philosophy B.A. alumnus Ray Banks, also continues for this year, enabling nearby community college students to enroll in a lower-division course with special guidance and academic support.
New initiatives for undergraduates are also planned for the coming year. One of our graduate students, Adam Paris, just received a grant, with the help of undergraduate advisor Niko Kolodny, to develop an optional online basic philosophy skills course for incoming transfer students. And, again with the help of Niko and Adam, we’re taking steps to ensure that the writing course for our new majors, Philosophy 100, emphasizes the skills which our transfer students in particular need to succeed in our demanding upper-division courses.
As usual we will have a lively program of events, including conferences, Department colloquia, working group talks, our recently instituted series of work-in-progress lunches, and a week of talks and seminars with our Townsend Visitor, Tim Maudlin (NYU), who will be here during the whole week of October 9 to present his work about space and time. 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 or graduate student 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 here. Our colloquia and other department-sponsored talks are an opportunity not only to hear from a wide range of visiting philosophers and discuss their work, but also to get together over refreshments for informal exchanges. We hope you can come to as many as possible.
Best wishes to everyone for a good start to the new academic year, and looking forward to lots of philosophical discussion as the year goes on.
August 29, 2017
Thanks to the generosity of the Feferman family, our library has acquired a collection of books formerly owned by Solomon Feferman, who passed away last year. The collection is now available for reading in the library, marked with a handsome plaque donated by the Logic Group. Thank you to everyone involved!
August 28, 2017
Congratulations to Mike Martin, who takes up the Wilde Professorship in Mental Philosophy at the University of Oxford in January 2018. Mike will be giving up his position as Professor of Philosophy at University College, London to accept the Oxford position, but will continue to come to Berkeley each fall semester as Mills Adjunct Professor.
August 06, 2017
Congratulations to Wes Holliday, who was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1 2017.
August 06, 2017
This year’s New Crop Prize winners were
Edward Schwarz, “Belief Attribution”
Parisa Ali, “A phenomenology of the lay person in the Discourse of American Anti-Intellectualism”
Robert Aversa-Goodman, “Self Ownership and the Wilt Chamberlain example”
Runners-up were Patricio Munoz-Hernandez, “Why book ten belongs,” and Liam O’Connell, “Rule-following and skepticism about primitive normativity.”
The entries were judged by Professor Sally Haslanger from MIT, who also ran a special seminar for our undergraduate majors. Thanks to Professor Haslanger and to the generous donors who made this prize possible.
May 15, 2017
Congratulations to Antonia Peacocke, who has won the Department’s 2017 Fink Prize in Philosophy for her paper “How do you know when you know yourself well?”
May 09, 2017
Congratulations to Ethan Jerzak on winning an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship for his dissertation project, entitled Paradox in Thought and Natural Language. Ethan was one of 65 fellows for 2017-2018 selected out of more than 1000 applicants across the humanities and social sciences. The fellowship will provide a year of support while he finishes his dissertation.
May 03, 2017
The memorial event for Bert Dreyfus, previously announced as taking place from 9.30-11.30 on Wednesday, May 24, has been rescheduled for a different time on the same day and in the same place. It will now take place in Alumni House on Wednesday, May 24 from 1.30 to 3.30.
April 29, 2017
Congratulations to Jeffrey Kaplan on winning a Townsend Dissertation Fellowship. The competition for these fellowships, which fund a year of dissertation work, is open to all graduate students at Berkeley with dissertation projects in the humanities. Jeff will be the 2017-2018 Irving and Jean Stone Fellow. His project concerns what he sees as the central problem in philosophy of law for the last century: how can human-made law have authority? Rather than offer a straightforward solution, he argues that the problem results from an ambiguity in the notion of authority. Resolving the ambiguity, he argues, has broad implications for similar problems in the study of language and other social practices, such as games and etiquette.
April 28, 2017
Our fourth New Directions Fellow will be Adam Bradley. He will use the fellowship to take coursework in neuroscience, under the guidance of Dr. Howard Fields, a pain researcher at UCSF and UC Berkeley. He aims to gain a deeper understanding of the neurophysiological processes which underlie the experience of pain, in particular its emotional and motivational aspects. The unpleasantness of pain is central to its practical and ethical importance, but existing theories of pain fail to adequately account for it. By looking in depth at recent scientific work on pain affect, Adam hopes to be able to develop a more satisfactory theory of what makes pain distinctively unpleasant.
April 28, 2017
Congratulations to Paolo Mancosu, who will be receiving the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Humboldt Foundation describes the award as granted to “internationally renowned academics… whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.” Previous distinguished recipients of the award include our own Jay Wallace. Paolo will use the award to spend the Spring semester of 2018 at the Center for Mathematical Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, following a planned Fall semester sabbatical in Italy.
April 26, 2017
It is with great sadness that we record the death of Prof. Hubert Dreyfus, who passed away on April 22, 2017. Bert was a vivid presence in our department for almost fifty years, contributing immeasurably to the life of our community, and we feel his loss very deeply. You can read about his life and work here.
There will be a memorial event from 1.30 to 3.30 on Wednesday, May 24 at Alumni House on the Berkeley campus. The event is open to everyone, and you are warmly invited to attend.
April 24, 2017
In the light of recent media reports, I want to reaffirm our Department’s very strong commitment to preventing and combatting all forms of sexual violence and sexual harassment. This commitment is fuelled not only by considerations of law and University policy, but by the values articulated in our 2014 departmental statement on equity and inclusion, according to which “a commitment to the values of collegiality, respect, and sensitivity is not ancillary to the philosophical enterprise,” but instead “something that grows out of a proper appreciation for the nature and difficulty of philosophical activity itself.” Sexual harassment and sexual violence, along with racial discrimination and other forms of targeted hostility, are profoundly antithetical to the values we seek to uphold. We as a Department condemn such behaviour in the strongest terms as not only contrary to law and University policy, but as striking at the heart of the principles of respect and inclusion that we regard as central to our educational mission and to the practice of philosophy. Equally strongly we support the campus processes through which allegations of policy violation are investigated and resolved.
March 23, 2017
It’s a pleasure to announce that three of our Graduate Student Instructors, Austin Andrews, Caitlin Dolan, and Antonia Peacocke have received the Graduate Division’s Outstanding GSI Award for 2017. Congratulations! And a big thank you also to all of our GSIs for their tremendous contribution to our undergraduate teaching. Their hard work and dedication is much appreciated.
March 20, 2017
We extend a warm welcome to Karen Twelves, who started work in the Department Office this week as our new GSAO (Graduate Student Affairs Officer). Karen joins us from the Haas School of Business, where she was a Faculty Assistant. Her other activities include leading improvisational theater workshops and designing and marketing video games. We’re delighted to have her on board!
March 16, 2017
We’re delighted to announce that David Lieberman, James W. and Isabel Coffroth Professor of Jurisprudence at the Berkeley School of Law, is joining us as a member of our Affiliated Faculty. You can find his profile here.
February 16, 2017
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Griffin Madden in the Oakland warehouse fire last week. Griffin, who graduated from Berkeley in 2015 with a double major in Philosophy and Slavic, was an extraordinarily gifted student and an engaged and enthusiastic member of our philosophical community. You can find recollections of him from some of his philosophy teachers here.
A fund has been established in Griffin’s memory. You can find out how to contribute here.
December 08, 2016
Our 2016 newsletter is out! Thanks to the contributors: Nick French, Alex Kerr, Jennifer Marsh, Dylan Murray, Kirsten Pickering, Rachel Rudolph. You can download it [here] (/resource/file/115/317804_newsletterREV2.pdf).
October 27, 2016
Welcome to a new year of philosophy at Berkeley! I want to begin by expressing thanks to John MacFarlane, who has just completed a very successful three-year term as chair of the department. The department has flourished on his watch, with several new hires, an ambitious remodeling of 301 Moses which is just now approaching completion, and a number of new initiatives, some of which are mentioned below. John is now on a well-earned leave at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Paris, and we wish him, Colleen, and Claire a terrific year.
This year we are delighted to welcome two new faculty members, Kristin Primus and Shamik Dasgupta. Kristin, who got her Ph.D. from Princeton, works primarily in early modern philosophy. She joins us from Georgetown, where she taught as an assistant professor for two years after having held a Bersoff fellowship from NYU. Shamik, who got his PhD from NYU, works primarily in metaphysics and the philosophy of science. He joins us as an associate professor, after having taught for several years at Princeton.
Barry Stroud and Janet Broughton have both officially retired from the University as of this academic year, both after long and distinguished careers at Berkeley. Barry started his career at Berkeley in 1961 just after getting his Ph.D. from Harvard. He has been an enormously valued presence in the department, not only for his extraordinary research and teaching contributions, extending across a wide range of philosophical topics, but also for the energy and dedication with which he has contributed to all aspects of department life. The identity of the Berkeley department as a distinctive intellectual community owes much to his role in inspiring students and faculty with a sense of the importance and depth of philosophical enquiry.
Janet came to Berkeley in 1979 after receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton and serving for several years as an assistant professor at Harvard. In addition to being one of the foremost scholars in the history of modern philosophy and an inspiring teacher and mentor, she has been an extraordinarily successful administrator at the university level, serving both as Dean of Arts and Humanities and as Vice Provost for the Faculty. Recently she received the Arts and Humanities Divisional Service Award (having been nominated in a letter signed by no less than thirty-three present and former department chairs!) and the 2016 Berkeley Faculty Service Award for outstanding and dedicated service to the University.
Fortunately for us, Janet and Barry will both continue to be involved in philosophy at Berkeley. Barry is continuing his teaching and research as a Professor of the Graduate School, and will be teaching two courses this coming Spring. Janet’s retirement as Vice Provost is the University’s loss, but philosophy’s, and our, gain: she plans to return to working on Hume, and will continue to have an office in the department for the next two years.
In other faculty news, we’re happy that John Perry, who was a Visiting Professor last year, is here again this fall teaching Theory of Meaning for us again this fall. We’re also happy to welcome back from sabbatical leave Tim Clarke, who divided the past year between London and Berlin, and Alva Noë, who was based in Berkeley but took the opportunity to travel widely. As noted above, John MacFarlane is on leave this year in Paris, and Katharina Kaiser and Jay Wallace are both spending the year doing research at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Klaus Corcilius is also on leave for the academic year, having accepted a professorship at the University of Tübingen, but he is maintaining his ties to Berkeley, and, if he remains at Tübingen after this academic year, we look forward to fruitful cross-department collaborations
We’re all very sorry to have to say goodbye to Dave Lynaugh, who has retired after 30 years of service to the department, first as Undergraduate Assistant, and then Graduate Student Affairs Officer, with a wide range of responsibilities. Dave’s dedication, skill and sensitivity as an advisor, competence in administrative matters, ingenuity in finding solutions to bureaucratic problems, good humour, grace under pressure, and extensive knowledge of the workings of the University will be very much missed. We were lucky to have him for all those years, and we wish him all the best in his retirement. There can obviously be no such thing as replacing Dave, but the hiring of a new GSAO is imminent.
It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new entering class of graduate students. This year, we welcome six new students in the philosophy Ph.D. program: Mathias Boehm (HU Berlin) Urte Laukaityte (Cambridge and Edinburgh), Matthew McCauley (Johns Hopkins), Sven Neth (FU Berlin), Patrick Ryan (Harvard) and Pia Schneider (LMU Munich). We also welcome Pen Long (University of Toronto) and Mariana Vicaria Angel (Universidad de los Andes) to the Ph.D. program in the Logic and Methodology of Science. Samuel Elgin (Yale) will be joining us for the year as an exchange student. We wish these students all the best for their graduate studies.
It’s also a great pleasure to congratulate our recent Ph.D. recipients, all of whom are going on to academic positions in philosophy. Eugene Chislenko, who wrote on “Intention and Normative Belief” (advised by Bert Dreyfus, Hannah Ginsborg and Jay Wallace), is taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at Temple University; Melissa Fusco, who wrote on “Deontic Disjunction” (advised by John MacFarlane, Line Mikkelsen and Seth Yalcin) is taking up a tenure-track position at Columbia; Ethan Nowak, who wrote on “Two Dogmas About Demonstratives” (also advised by John MacFarlane, Line Mikkelsen and Seth Yalcin), will be a Teaching Fellow at University College London; and Katrina Winzeler, who wrote on “Theories of Mental Disorders” (advised by John Campbell, John Searle and Tania Lombrozo) is taking up a tenure-track position at Peirce College.
As usual, we have a large group of visiting scholars and visiting student researchers, coming from all over the world, and with a wide range of philosophical interests. They include: Sarah-Aylin Akguel (LMU Munich), Miloud Belkoniene (University of Fribourg), Mark-Oliver Casper (Ruhr University Bochum), Nil Franzen (Uppsala University), Anna Hennessey (UCSB), Dominic Hughes (Stanford), Jinho Kang (Seoul National University), Jinsook Kim (Seoul National University), Maria Krause (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), Nicolas Le Jeune (University of Reims), Pia Lopez-Izquierdo (Technical School of Architecture of Madrid), Bernhard Nickel (Harvard), Saja Parvizian (University of Illinois at Chicago), Jens Pier (University of Bonn), B. Scot Rousse (Northwestern), Jim Shannon (Oxford), Dana Scott (Carnegie Mellon), Susanna Siegel (Harvard), David Suarez (University of Toronto), Zeynep Üsüdür (University of Copenhagen), Yun Wun (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Lili Zhang (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Songfeng Zhu (Peking University). For updates to the list, and more information about our visiting scholars, please see our Visiting Scholars web page.
This year we are continuing a number of successful initiatives started over the last few years, and beginning some new ones. Thanks to two generous donors, we are continuing both the New Directions Fellowship for our graduate students and the New Crop Prize for our undergraduates. Details for both will be announced soon, but I can let you know now that this year’s New Crop visitor will be Sally Haslanger from MIT. The Berkeley Connect program for our philosophy majors continues to flourish, and some of our students, with the help of undergraduate advisor Niko Kolodny, have come up with new ways to enrich our undergraduate program. In fall 2015, a recent philosophy major, Clara Lingle, initiated a peer tutoring program. Staffed entirely by current or recent majors, it provides one-on-one tutoring in writing and logic, as well as occasional group workshops. In addition, The Urban Scholars student group, developed by former philosophy major, Raymond Banks, and current graduate student, Dylan Murray, have created the Malcolm Next Scholars Program. It brings nearby community college students to the Berkeley campus to enroll in a lower-division philosophy course, with special resources devoted to guidance and academic support. A core aim is to give community college students, especially from groups underrepresented in Berkeley philosophy, a path to our major. Last year, students enrolled in Tim Crockett’s “Philosophy of Religion. This fall, students will take Hans Sluga’s “Individual Morality and Social Justice.” We are very grateful to Niko, Clara, Ray and Dylan for developing these new initiatives, and to all the students who are participating as peer tutors.
As usual, we have a full program of events. Robert Pippin (University of Chicago), will be here September 19-23 as our Townsend Visitor, with three talks entitled “Hegel on the Political Significance of Collective Self-Deceit,” “Hegel on Life as a Logical Concept” and “The Philosophical Hitchcock: Vertigo and the Anxieties of Unknowingness.” This year’s George Myro Memorial Lecture will be given on March 16 by by Ian Rumfitt (Birmingham). And the Howison Lecture will be given on April 12 by Gisela Striker (Harvard). For more information about all the colloquiua, conferences, working group talks, and other events we have scheduled for the year, please see our listing of upcoming events. At the foot of the page, you’ll find instructions for adding our events calendar to your bCal or other online calendar. Our colloquia and other department lectures are an opportunity not only to hear from visiting philosophers and discuss their work, but also to get together over refreshments. We hope you can come to as many as possible.
I’m looking forward to a great year of philosophy at Berkeley and to working with you all in my new role as Chair.
August 28, 2016
Congratulations to Alva Noë, who has been named as 2018 recipient of the newly-created Judd-Hume Prize in Advanced Visual Studies. Details here.
August 02, 2016
This year’s New Crop Prize winners were
- Taylor Madign, “Expected Utility Theory and Evolution”
- Ryan Ravanpak, “The Limits of Frankfurt Style Counterexamples”
- Matthew Lee, “Temporal Semantics for Counterfactuals”
Runners-up were Joseph Martinez (“Compatibilism and Manipulation”) and Bryan Knittle (“Towards a Phenomenology of Stoic Philosophy”).
The entries were judged by Professor Ernest Sosa from Rutgers University, who also ran a special seminar for our undergraduate majors. Thanks to Professor Sosa and to the donors who made this prize possible.
May 16, 2016
Congratulations to Peter Epstein, the winner of the Department’s 2016 Fink Prize in Philosophy for his paper “Shape Perception in a Relativistic Universe.”
May 11, 2016
Congratulations to Janet Broughton, who, with Bob Jacobsen, will receive the 2016 Berkeley Faculty Service Award. The award honors members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate who have given outstanding and dedicated service to the University.
April 27, 2016
Our third New Directions Fellow will be Dylan Murray. He will use the fellowship to take graduate courses in sociology, under the guidance of David Harding, an expert on urban inequality and poverty. Murray hopes to bring empirical work in sociology to bear on his philosophical work on moral responsibility and blameworthiness. As he notes, although many philosophers have argued about the extent to which culture and socialization can affect moral responsibility, their arguments are typically light on the empirical details. He sees great potential for productive interchange between philosophers and sociologists working on similar issues.
April 25, 2016
Kristin Primus, currently an Assistant Professor at Georgetown, has accepted an offer to join the Philosophy Department at Berkeley. Primus is a specialist in early modern philosophy (particularly Leibniz and Spinoza). We look forward to welcoming her to Berkeley in Fall 2016.
April 18, 2016
Shamik Dasgupta, currently an Associate Professor at Princeton, has accepted an offer to join the Philosophy Department at Berkeley. Dasgupta is a specialist in metaphysics and the philosophy of science. His work explores how symmetry considerations can be used to argue for metaphysical conclusions about spacetime, individuals, and quantities. We are looking forward to welcoming him to Berkeley in Fall 2016.
April 12, 2016
It is with great sadness that we announce that our colleague William Craig died in the early hours of January 13, 2016. Professor Craig was an internationally renowned logician whose name is attached to one of the key results in the field, Craig’s Interpolation Theorem, which he proved in 1957.
Craig was also responsible for showing, in 1953, that every recursively enumerable theory is recursively axiomatizable. This result, which came to be called Craig’s Theorem, played an important role in philosophical debates about theoretical terms in scientific theories.
Professor Craig was born on November 13, 1918 in Nuremberg. There he attended a grammar school and a humanistic gymnasium until 1937. In July 1937 he emigrated to the United States and attended Cornell University where he earned, in 1940, a B.A. with major in philosophy and physics. He served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945 and in the following years spent time at UC Berkeley (1940–1941), Harvard (1946–1948), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1948–1949), Princeton (1949–1950), and again Harvard (1950–1951), where he obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy with a dissertation supervised by Quine.
He became mathematics instructor at Pennsylvania State University in 1951 and there he rose through the ranks, first as Assistant Professor of Mathematics (1952–1957) and then as Associate Professor (1957–1961). In 1960–1961 he spent a year of leave at UC Berkeley, and that led to his move to Berkeley as Professor of Philosophy in 1961. He was President of the Association of Symbolic Logic in 1959–1961 and President of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1978–9. He played an immense role in the development of logic at UC Berkeley, which he generously supported, and he remained an active presence in the logical community even after his retirement in 1989, until the end of his life.
His main contributions to logic were at the intersection of proof theory, model theory, and algebraic logic. In addition to the two fundamental articles on the interpolation theorem published in 1957 in the Journal of Symbolic Logic, Professor Craig was the author of many articles in mathematical logic and of two books: Logic in algebraic form: Three languages and theories (North Holland, 1974) and Semi-Groups underlying first-order logic (American Mathematical Society, 2006).
In 2007, the Philosophy Department at UC Berkeley and the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science celebrated Professor Craig’s achievements with a conference titled “Interpolations”. A special issue of Synthese, containing the papers read at the conference and additional contributions, was published in 2008.
January 14, 2016
Congratulations to Janet Broughton, who has won the Arts and Humanities Divisional Service Award for her long and distinguished record of service to the campus. Broughton, a specialist in the history of modern philosophy, has been Vice Provost for the Faculty since 2010; before that, she served as Dean of Arts and Humanities (2006-2010), Chair of the Budget Committee, and Chair of the Philosophy Department. She will be honored, together with the winners of divisional teaching awards, in a reception in Durant Hall Atrium on February 3, from 4-6 PM.
December 22, 2015
November 19, 2015
On Thursday we’ll be part of the Big Give, a one-day fundraising blitz. Contributions to the department made during the Big Give will go directly towards supporting our students and faculty and keeping philosophy strong at Berkeley. Visit https://philosophy.berkeley.edu/give on November 19 to show your support and keep Berkeley extraordinary!
November 18, 2015
The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley seeks applications for an Assistant/Associate/Full Professor (tenure track or tenured) position in the areas of Early Modern, Post-Kantian Continental, or Moral and Political Philosophy, with an expected start date of July 1, 2016. Job responsibilities include teaching 4 courses/year at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and conducting thesis supervision. Area of Specialization: Early Modern, Post-Kantian Continental, or Moral and Political Philosophy.
For more information about the position, including required qualifications and application materials, please refer to the links below. To apply at the Assistant Professor level, please go to the following link: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00851. To apply at the Associate or Full Professor level, please go to the following link: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00864.
Applications must be received by October 30, 2015. Please direct questions to email@example.com. The University of California, Berkeley is an AA/EEO employer.
September 22, 2015
It’s the beginning of another year of philosophy at Berkeley. Welcome, everyone.
There have been several changes in the faculty in the past year. Geoffrey Lee has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Joshua Cohen will begin a joint appointment as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Law School and the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science. Together with a rotating cast of colleagues, he will run the Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory, an ongoing seminar that will bring in many outside speakers. John Perry and Manuel Vargas will be Visiting Professors in the Spring.
We expect to be making a formal offer soon to an outstanding philosopher we identified in last year’s faculty search, and we will be conducting another open-rank search this year, in the areas of Modern Philosophy, Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, and Moral and Political Philosophy.
It is our pleasure to welcome five new graduate students to the program: Greyson Abid, who comes to us from the University of Pennsylvania, Alberto Tassoni, from University College London, Blake Harper, from Middlebury College, Emily Perry, from McGill University and the University of Toronto, Jennifer Marsh, from the University of Pennsylvania, and Zachary Stout, from Reed College.
In addition, we welcome three new students in the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science: Tsvi Benson-Tilson, Yiefeng Ding, and Benjamin Siskind.
Congratulations are in order for four students who finished their dissertations last year. Janum Sethi, who wrote her dissertation on “Kant on Subjectivity and Self-consciousness” with Hannah Ginsborg and Daniel Warren, is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Lindsay Crawford, who wrote on “Epistemic Obligation in Perspective” with Niko Kolodny, Sherri Roush, and Lara Buchak is starting a C3 Postdoctoral Fellowship at Connecticut College. Max Gee, who wrote on “Rationality and Expected Utility” with Lara Buchak and Niko Kolodny, is working as a Quantitative Analyst at a New York City hedge fund. And Luke Misenheimer, who wrote on “The Publicity of Concepts” with John Campbell and Geoff Lee, is working as a software developer.
As usual, the department is host to a number of Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers this year:
- Sylvia Altmann (UFRGS - Porto Alegre - Brazil)
- Justin Clardy (University of Arkansas)
- Matteo de Ceglie (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)
- Anna Hennessey (UCSB)
- Tarjei Larsen (University of Oslo)
- Alessandra Marra (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, Netherlands)
- Alexander Mishura (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia)
- Clare Moriarty (King’s College London)
- Sebastian Odzuck (Humboldt University Berlin)
- Niels Skovgaard Olsen (University of Konstanz & University of Freiburg)
- Niels Reeh (University of Copenhagen)
- Deniz Sarikaya (University of Hamburg)
- Plinio Smith (Universidada Federal de Sao Paulo Brazil)
- Mira Viehstaedt (University of Hamburg)
- Hannah Sommer (LMU Munich)
- Jeremy Schneider (LMU Munich)
- Bram Vaassen (Umeå university Sweden)
- Clemens Wetcholowsky (Georg August Universität Göttingen)
We will be continuing the successful Berkeley Connect program to help connect students with their academic majors. And, thanks to the continuing support of two generous donors, we will be continuing the New Crop Prize for undergraduate work in philosophy, which brings a distinguished visitor to campus to select the winning essays and engage with their authors in a public forum, and the New Directions Fellowship, which enables graduate students to do coursework in scientific disciplines relevant to their dissertations, under the direction of a faculty mentor.
We have a full schedule of colloquiua, conferences, working group talks, and other events lined up for this year.
Rachel Barney from the University of Toronto will be this year’s Townsend Visitor, spending a week in the department October 5-9. She will give three talks on the theme How to Know Everything: Sophistic Argument and the Birth of Philosophy.
This year’s Howison Lecture will be given on March 9 by Christine Korsgaard from Harvard University. Professor Korsgaard will also give a colloquium talk on March 10 in the department.
Last year we began a new series of informal lunchtime work-in-progress talks by faculty and advanced graduate students. This was very successful and we plan to continue the tradition this year.
We have also been taking some steps to improve our physical space. The threadbare carpet in the Dennes Room has also been replaced. And a team of graduate students helped clean up 301 Moses, removing unused papers and furniture, in preparation for some further remodeling in the Fall.
Finally, this year the department will be undergoing a comprehensive Academic Program Review (our last review was in 2008). All of you will be involved in this, in some way.
I look forward to another great year of philosophy in Moses Hall!
August 27, 2015
Geoffrey Lee has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2015. Congratulations, Geoff!
May 18, 2015
April 22, 2015
The 12th annual Berkeley-London conference will take place on campus May 19-20, with talks by Berkeley and University of London graduate students, and a keynote address by Professor Sherri Roush from KCL.
For details see the poster.
May 13, 2015
Our second New Directions Fellow will be Rachel Rudolph. She will use the fellowship to take graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in linguistics, under the guidance of Line Mikkelsen. She hopes that her study of the syntax and semantics of evaluative and experiential predicates, and of relevant issues in psycholinguistics and comparative linguistics, will help illuminate philosophical issues about ethical language.
April 16, 2015
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.
January 05, 2015
We are offering a new graduate fellowship, funded by a generous donor. Its aim is to allow graduate students in philosophy at Berkeley to pursue significant coursework and/or lab work in a scientific discipline relevant to their philosophical interests. The application deadline is March 23. For more information, see the announcement.
February 25, 2015
UC Berkeley undergraduate philosophy majors and minors are invited to submit essays for consideration for the 2015 New Crop Philosophy Prize:
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
December 17, 2014
November 19, 2014
October 20, 2014
The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley seeks applications for an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor faculty position, with an expected start date of July 1, 2015. Area of Specialization and Area of Concentration: open, though the Department particularly welcomes applications from candidates working in Early Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Moral and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, or Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy. For more information about the position, including required qualifications and application materials, go to https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00546. Applications must be received by November 5, 2014. Please direct questions to email@example.com. UC Berkeley is an AA/EEO employer.
October 17, 2014
It’s the beginning of another year of philosophy at Berkeley! Welcome, all.
There have been a few changes in the faculty in the past year. Lara Buchak was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Sherri Roush decided to leave Berkeley to take up the newly endowed Peter Sowerby Chair in Philosophy and Medicine at King’s College, London. John Searle has become Professor of the Graduate School and will teach two courses per year. The Classics Department hired an ancient philosopher, Sara Magrin, adding to the already considerable strength of our joint program in Ancient Philosophy. And the distinguished philosopher John Perry will be teaching two courses at Berkeley this Spring—an introductory course and a graduate seminar. This year the department will be conducting an open rank, open area search for a new colleague.
It is our pleasure to welcome five new graduate students to the program: Sophia Dandelet (from UC Berkeley), Ravit Dotan (from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Tyler Haddow (from Stanford), Joseph Kassman-Tod (from University College London), and Joy Li (from Rutgers). In addition, we welcome three new students in the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science: Reid Dale (from the University of Washington), James Moody (from Brown), and Kentaro Yamamoto (from the University of Tokyo). We wish them every success in their graduate studies!
Congratulations are in order for three students who finished their dissertations last year:
- Erin Beeghly, Seeing Difference: The Epistemology and Ethics of Stereotyping (advised by Véronique Munoz-Dardé and Jay Wallace).
- Zachary Bruce, Descartes’s Method and the Role of Eternal Truths (advised by Barry Stroud and Daniel Warren).
- Arpy Khatchirian, Substantive Truth and Knowledge of Meaning (advised by Hannah Ginsborg, John MacFarlane, and Barry Stroud).
Beeghly begins a tenure-track job at the University of Utah this semester, and Khatchirian will be a Berkeley Connect Fellow at Berkeley.
As usual, the department is host to a number of Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers this year: Tony Cheng, Eduardo N. Giovannini, Eric Hutton, Jennifer Mattey, Ivan Milić, Aloisa Moser, Christoph Pfisterer, B. Scot Rouse, Laura Summa, Robin Zebrowski, and Wenlian Zhou. Please join me in making them welcome.
We have added a new lower-division course to the books: Philosophy 18, Confucius for Today, taught by Professor Kwong-loi Shun. The course will consider the contemporary implications of Confucius’ teachings for such topics as family, rituals, life and death, fate, contentment and anxiety, anger and resentment, courage, respectfulness, modesty and humility, trustworthiness, learning, self-cultivation, semblances of virtue. Students will read passages from the Analects, later commentaries, and contemporary philosophical articles.
Last Spring, we were one of ten departments on campus to participate in the new Berkeley Connect program, which connects undergraduates with their academic departments through small group meetings, one-on-one advising, special events with professors and alumni, and field trips. I visited the Berkeley Connect meetings list year and heard a lot of very positive feedback. We are glad to be continuing the program this year, under the guidance of Professors Lara Buchak and Wes Holliday. We encourage undergraduate majors and prospective majors to sign up.
Thanks to two generous donors, the department will continue to offer the New Crop Prize for innovative undergraduate work in philosophy. This year’s New Crop visitor will be Daniel Dennett from Tufts.
Jennifer Hornsby from Birkbeck College, University of London will be the department’s Townsend Visitor September 22-26. Professor Hornsby will give three lectures on causal relations, practical knowledge, and pornography and free speech. There will also be opportunities for department members to engage her in informal discussion in office hours, dinners, and a Q&A session on Friday. We look forward to a stimulating visit.
Kwame Anthony Appiah from NYU will give the Howison Lecture in February, and Philip Pettit from Princeton will give the Tanner Lectures on Human Values in April. Because last year’s George Myro Memorial Lecture was postponed, this year we will have two Myro Lectures: Sally Haslanger will speak in October, and Tim Crane in April.
In addition, there are several small conferences scheduled for the next month. A conference Defining Platonism, in honor of John Dillon’s birthday, will take place September 13-14. The next weekend (September 20-23) there will be a workshop on book VIII of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, sponsored jointly by Berkeley and LMU Munich. And October 2-3 there will be a conference on Global Philosophy? European, Asian, and American Perspectives, organized by Hans Sluga.
In addition, we have the usual full schedule of courses, seminars, colloquiua, working group talks, and other events. This year promises to be an unusually full one, and I look forward to working with all of you.
September 08, 2014
The online edition of California magazine has an article about NPR correspondent Tamara Keith’s recent speech at our departmental commencement ceremony. Keith received her BA in philosophy from Berkeley in 1999.
June 04, 2014
Our first New Directions Fellow is Alex Kerr. Kerr will use the fellowship to take coursework in psychophysics and vision science, and will be mentored by cognitive scientist Stephen Palmer. He is hoping that his studies will help him explain why we intuitively treat shape inversion differently from color inversion, and whether we should.
April 01, 2014
Our undergraduate major has been featured in an article in the online edition of California Magazine: Philosophy’s Popularity Soars: Devotees Find It’s More Than ‘An Interesting Path to Poverty’.
April 01, 2014
The distinguished philosopher John Perry, Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford, will be a Visiting Professor at Berkeley in Spring 2015. He will teach Philosophy 4 and a graduate seminar.
April 01, 2014
We are offering a new graduate fellowship, funded by a generous donor. Its aim is to allow graduate students in philosophy at Berkeley to pursue significant coursework and/or lab work in a scientific discipline relevant to their philosophical interests. The application deadline is March 14. For more information, see the announcement.
February 05, 2014
Tim Crane will not be able to travel to Berkeley for the George Myro Lecture scheduled for Thursday, so the lecture is canceled. We will try to reschedule the talk.
April 09, 2014
Congratulations to Katharina Kaiser, who has been selected to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award for non-senate faculty in the Arts and Humanities in recognition of her outstanding performance and dedication in the classroom.
February 05, 2014
It gives me tremendous pleasure to welcome back the philosophical community for a new year. I would first like to thank outgoing Chair Paolo Mancosu, who has left the department in terrific shape. We have a larger faculty than I can remember since arriving at Berkeley in 2000, with a tremendous range of research and teaching interests, and vibrant graduate and undergraduate programs. Paolo will be on sabbatical leave this year, in Berkeley and in Munich. I wish him a productive year and hope that I can fill his shoes.
I am delighted to report that Kwong-loi Shun, who taught at Berkeley from 1986-2003 before taking up administrative positions at the University of Toronto and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, will be returning to the department to teach two courses per year, starting in Spring 2014. Professor Shun is an expert on Chinese philosophy, and we look forward to offering courses in this area once again.
It is our pleasure to welcome six new graduate students to the program: Michael Arsenault (from the University of Toronto), Omar Fakhri (from the University of Massachussets, Amherst), Nick French (from NYU), Dan Khokhar (from Indiana and NYU), Dustin Neuman (from Sarah Lawrence College and Brandeis), and Adam Paris (from NYU). In addition, we welcome four new students in the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science: Daniel Fremont (MIT), James Moody (NYU), Nick Ramsey (University of Chicago), and Chase Skipper (CUNY-Hunter). We wish them every success in their graduate studies!
Fond as we are of our graduate students, we are happy to see them leave to take up academic jobs. Congratulations to Justin Bledin (who will be an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University), Eric Matthes (who will be an assistant professor at Wellesley College), Brian Berkey (who will be a postdoc at Stanford University), and Joseph Barnes (who will be a Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Humboldt University in Berlin).
As usual, the department is host to a number of Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers this year. Please join me in making them welcome.
I am pleased to report that the Chinese painting of “Nine Wise Old Men” that used to grace the Dennes Room is back, after three years at the restorer’s, and it looks terrific. Thanks are due to former Chair Mancosu for all of his work making this happen. Here he is with the painting:
In the Spring, the department will be one of ten departments in the University to participate in the new Berkeley Connect program. Berkeley Connect is an undergraduate mentoring program that seeks to connect undergraduates with their academic departments through small group meetings, one-on-one advising, special events with professors and alumni, and field trips. Professors Lara Buchak and Wes Holliday, who are coordinating the program in the department, have an exciting schedule of events planned already. We encourage undergraduate majors and prospective majors to sign up.
Thanks to a generous donation from Igor Khandros and Sue Bloch, the department will continue to offer the New Crop Prize for innovative undergraduate work in philosophy. This year’s New Crop visitor will be Ned Block from NYU.
Crispin Wright from NYU and the University of Aberdeen will be the department’s Townsend Visitor September 16-20. Professor Wright will give three lectures on the general topic “Ruminations on the A Priori.” There will also be opportunities for department members to engage him in informal discussion in office hours, dinners, and a Q&A session on Friday. We look forward to a stimulating visit!
On October 11-12 the department will co-host CUSP 6, the California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics Conference, together with the Department of Linguistics. And on May 10-11, the department will host the West Coast Plato Workshop.
In addition, we have the usual full schedule of courses, seminars, colloquiua, working group talks, and other events. I look foward to working with you all, in both my new role as Chair and my old role as Professor.
August 28, 2013
The Philosophy Department announces the 2012 edition of its Newsletter for friends and alumni, Philosophy at Berkeley; please download it for information about important recent events and developments in the Department.
October 13, 2012
The Department of Philosophy congratulates the following current and recent graduate students, who have accepted academic employment at the institutions listed. (Jobs are tenure-track Assistant Professorships, unless otherwise noted.) Complete information about the department’s recent job placement record can be found here.
Joseph Barnes, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (6-year term position)
Brian Berkey, Stanford University, 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship (McCoy Center/Philosophy Department)
Justin Bledin, Johns Hopkins University
James Genone, Rutgers University-Camden
Erich Matthes, Wellesley College
John Schwenkler, Florida State University
March 22, 2013
I am delighted to welcome back the philosophical community for a new and exciting year. I am also pleased to be able to convey several pieces of good news.
It is a pleasure to announce the recruitment of two new assistant professors, Timothy Clarke and Wesley Holliday. Professor Clarke joins us from Yale, where he recently completed his Ph.D. in ancient philosophy. Professor Holliday comes to us from Stanford, where he earned his Ph.D. in epistemology and philosophical logic.
In addition, I am delighted to announce that we have been able to retain Professor Alva Noë from CUNY’s attempt to recruit him away from us. Professor Noë is now back full time with our department. We were also successful in being given a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Alex Madva, who joins us from Columbia University. His Ph.D. is at the intersection of ethics and epistemology. Dr. Madva will teach two courses a year both in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.
The department offerings will also be strengthened by Katharina Kaiser and Tim Crockett. Kaiser will offer courses in the area of post-Kantian continental philosophy and Professor Crockett will offer courses on Spinoza and Locke/Leibniz. In the Spring, Professor Markus Gabriel (Bonn University) will be visiting the department and adding to our strengths and offerings by teaching courses on Hegel and on epistemology.
Graduate students in our department had a terrific year on the job market in 2011-2012, despite the challenging conditions that continue to prevail. Seven of them have accepted attractive tenure-track or continuing positions, and another four have taken taken very good postdocs or visiting jobs; here are the complete results:
Joseph Barnes, UC Berkeley (1-year lectureship)
Brian Berkey, Melbourne University (2-year post-doc)
Vanessa de Harven, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
Andy Engen, Illinois Wesleyan University
James Genone, Franklin and Marshall College (2-year visiting position)
Markus Kohl, University of Tennessee
Tamar Lando, Columbia University
Julia Nefsky, University of Toronto
Matthew Parrott, Oxford University (2-year Mellon postdoc)
James Stazicker, University of Reading
George Tsai, University of Hawaii, Manoa
We will miss these philosophers in Moses Hall, but offer them our warm congratulations and our very best wishes for continuing success in their careers.
It is always a pleasure at this time of year to welcome to our community a new group of students. This year five students will be starting their graduate work in our Department: Michael Diaz (Claremont-McKenna), Alex Hansen (U. Colorado), Jackson Kernion (Harvard), Antonia Peacocke (Harvard), Rachel Rudolph (McGill). In addition, three new students will be starting in the Logic and Methodology Program: Russell Buehler (Carleton), Matthew Harrison-Trainor (U. Waterloo), and Alex Kocurek (Notre Dame). We wish them every success in their graduate studies and beyond.
The Berkeley Philosophy Department regularly attracts a large group of visiting scholars from around the world, who join us for shorter or longer periods, and contribute substantially to making ours a more cosmopolitan and stimulating community. Please check the Visiting Scholar section of our website for a list of new and continuing visitors to our Department.
We have, as always, a very lively program of philosophical events scheduled for the coming year, including a Townsend Visit by Michael Friedman, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by Timothy Williamson, a Howison Lecture by Robert Brandom and many talks and colloquia by distinguished philosophers from the US and abroad. Detailed information and updates are available on the events section of our website.
Paolo Mancosu, Department Chair
August 09, 2012
We report with sadness the death of Thompson Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy. Professor Clarke joined the Berkeley Philosophy Department in 1958 and retired in 1998. His subtle, groundbreaking investigations in the philosophy of perception and in the sources and the legacy of philosophical skepticism have made lasting contributions to the practice of philosophy at its best. He died in Berkeley on February 29, 2012.
May 07, 2012