Department News

Joshua Cohen to join the faculty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 05, 2015

New Directions Fellowship

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

New Crop Prize 2015

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

new crop poster 2105

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

Essays can be on any philosophical topic, and should not be more than ten pages in length. They should be submitted by electronic attachment to Janet Groome (jmgroome@berkeley.edu) 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

Philosophy Department Newsletter, 2014 edition

Here is our 2014 newsletter, with thanks to contributors Dustin Neuman, Kirsten Pickering, Adam Bradley, and Justin Vlasits. cover of newsletter

November 19, 2014

UC’s Open Access Policy

UC Open Access Policy Learn More

October 20, 2014

We’re hiring!

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 philsearch+prof@berkeley.edu. UC Berkeley is an AA/EEO employer.

October 17, 2014

Welcome!

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.

John MacFarlane
Chair

September 07, 2014

Tamara Keith speaks at graduation

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 03, 2014

Alex Kerr wins New Directions Fellowship

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

Department featured in California Magazine article

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

John Perry to teach at Berkeley

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

New Directions Fellowship

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’s Myro Lecture canceled

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

Katharina Kaiser wins Divisional Teaching Award

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

Welcome back!

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:

Home at last!

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!

Sarah Broadie from the University of St. Andrews will give the Howison Lecture in March, and Tim Crane from Cambridge will give the George Myro Memorial Lecture in April.

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.

John MacFarlane
Chair

August 28, 2013

Newsletter 2012

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

Congratulations

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

Welcome back

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 08, 2012

Thompson Clarke (1928-2012)

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.

Barry Stroud’s memorial notice for Thompson Clarke.

May 07, 2012

Newsletter 2011

The Philosophy Department announces the 2011 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.

February 18, 2011

Wallace Matson (1921-2012)

It is with great sadness that we announce that Professor Emeritus Wallace Matson passed away on Saturday, March 3. He died of congestive heart failure. His health had gotten worse in the last year but his mind was as sharp as ever. Matson joined the Philosophy Department as visiting assistant professor in 1955-57 (regularized to assistant professor in 1957) and retired in 1991. He was completely immersed in his life in philosophy to the end and took particular satisfaction in having seen his most recent book into print (Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs: Science, Philosophy, and their Histories, OUP, 2011).

March 08, 2012

Frits Staal (1930-2012)

The department is sad to announce that our former colleague Frits Staal (1930-2012) passed away on February 19 in his home in Thailand. He was Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. In addition, he was a member of the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science. R. P. Goldman published an obituary in “The Hindu”.

March 01, 2012

2012 NEW CROP PHILOSOPHY PRIZE and SYMPOSIUM

UC Berkeley undergraduate philosophy majors and minors are invited to submit essays for consideration for the 2012 New Crop Philosophy Prize:

First prize: $3,000

First runner-up: $2,000

Second runner-up: $1,000

Essays may be of any length up to ten pages. They should be submitted by electronic attachment to Janet Groome (jmgroome@berkeley.edu) by February 6, 2012. Essays can be on any philosophical topic.

For additional information, click here.

August 02, 2011

Philosophy Forum website goes live

Cal’s Philosophy Forum, a community of undergraduates interested in philosophy, has a beautiful new website. The group sponsors weekly meetings and publishes the undergraduate journal Harvest Moon. Check out the site if you want to participate!

June 22, 2011

Welcome back

It gives me tremendous pleasure to welcome back the philosophical community for a new and exciting year.

I am delighted to announce the recruitment of Professor Klaus Corcilius. He joins us from Hamburg University and his specialty is Ancient Philosophy.

Professors J. Campbell, H. Ginsborg, R. J. Wallace, and D. Warren are back from their sabbaticals. Lara Buchak and Alva Noë will be on leave for the full year. Professor Buchak’s leave is made possible by an impressive combination of grants and fellowships she was awarded for 2011-2012 (UC President’s Faculty Fellowship; Doreen B. Townsend Fellowship for Assistant Professors; Humanities Research Fellowship).

The department offerings will also be strengthened by Katharina Kaiser and Tim Crockett. Dr. Kaiser will offer courses in the area of post-Kantian continental philosophy and Professor Crockett will offer courses on Descartes and Leibniz.

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: Adam Bradley (U. Cincinnati), Ethan Jerzak (U. Chicago), Jeff Kaplan (Williams College, U. Cambridge), Alex Kerr (Oberlin), Justin Vlasits (Columbia U.) In addition, three new students will be starting in the Logic and Methodology Program: Lisha Li (U. Toronto), Shivaram Lingamneni (Stanford), Adam Lesnikowsi (Harvard, U. Amsterdam). 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 Raymond Geuss, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by Hartry Field, a Howison Lecture by Jonathan Barnes and many talks and colloquia by distinguished philosophers from the US and abroad. In addition, on October 22 we will have a very special event dedicated to Barry Stroud’s 50 years at Berkeley. Detailed information and updates are available on the events section of our website.

Paolo Mancosu, Department Chair

September 06, 2011

Barry Stroud: 50 years at Berkeley

Please join us for a celebration of Professor Stroud’s 50 years at Berkeley. We will have talks by Janet Broughton, Jason Bridges, Tyler Burge, Robert Fogelin, Hannah Ginsborg, and Wai-hung Wong. This event is co-sponsored by the Philosophy Department and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. For a full schedule click here.

October 13, 2011

Philosophy majors in the news

The UC News Center has published an article on Berkeley philosophy majors.

May 10, 2011

2011 Commencement Speeches

You can now watch on line Charles Goldhaber’s commencement speech, as well as Jake Bassett’s address (part I and part II)

June 03, 2011

2011 NEW CROP PHILOSOPHY PRIZE and SYMPOSIUM

UC Berkeley undergraduate philosophy majors and minors are invited to submit essays for consideration for the 2011 New Crop Philosophy Prize:

First prize: $3,000

First runner-up: $2,000

Second runner-up: $1,000

Essays may be of any length up to ten pages. They should be submitted by electronic attachment to Janet Groome (jmgroome@berkeley.edu) by January 18, 2011. For further information, click here.

September 07, 2010

Welcome back

It gives me tremendous pleasure to welcome back the philosophical community for a new and exciting year. As new Chair of the Philosophy Department, I am fully aware of the challenges lying ahead but I am also very optimistic about the future.

I would like, first of all, to extend my thanks to Jay Wallace, who has led the Department in exemplary fashion for the last five years. He did so with style, great effectiveness, and vision. To list his achievements would require several pages and it would depressingly remind me of how hopeless it will be to even come close to matching his accomplishments. Suffice it to say that the department is as vibrant as it has ever been. Jay will be on leave for the year 2010-2011, first in Munich and then in Berlin; his sabbatical is partially funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship. Hannah Ginsborg and Daniel Warren will also be on sabbatical in Berlin for the academic year; Hannah will be a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and Daniel will be conducting independent research in that city. John Campbell, who was also recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, will be on leave in the Spring semester. We wish them all a productive and pleasant year.

We are very pleased to welcome back to the Department Mike Martin and Véronique Munoz-Dardé from University College, London. This is their fourth visit to Berkeley, and they will be returning in the future as Adjunct Professors each Fall. Prof. Martin will be teaching Philosophy 176 and the first year graduate seminar; Prof. Munoz-Dardé is offering Philosophy 116 and a graduate seminar. Dorothea Frede returns this year as Mills Visiting Professor; she is teaching a graduate seminar on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in the Fall, and Philosophy 160 in the Spring. In addition, Jessica Gelber is visiting Lecturer in the department. She will teach Philosophy 25A and Philosophy 187 in the Fall, and Philosophy 187 in the Spring.

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: Caitlin Dolan (NYU), Quinn Gibson (University of Calgary), Nicholas Gooding (McGill), Julian Jonker (University of Cape Town, South Africa) Dylan Murray (Georgia State University). In addition, three new students will be starting in the Logic and Methodology Program: Shahin Saadati (SRI), Andreas Voellmer (McGill), and Michael Wan (Toronto). 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.

In other news, Hans Sluga is back after a sabbatical in the Fall of 2009 and a stint as Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Spring of 2010. During this time he also gave lectures at the University of Hong Kong, at Fudan University and Tongji University in Shanghai, and at Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

We have, as always, a very lively program of philosophical events scheduled for the coming year, including a Townsend Visit by Kit Fine, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by David Chalmers, a Howison Lecture by Ian Hacking 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

September 07, 2010

Searle elected to American Philosophical Society

Many congratulations to Prof. John Searle, who has been elected to the American Philosophical Society in its 2010 class. Election to the Society, which has 1001 members, “honors extraordinary accomplishments in all fields”. A full list of new members may be found here.

April 29, 2010

Jay Wallace wins Guggenheim Fellowship

R. Jay Wallace has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for his research on “The Moral Nexus” in 2010-11. This is the third year in a row that a member of our Department has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, accounting for fully half of the Guggenheims awarded to philosophers during that period. (Paolo Mancosu received a Guggenheim in 2008, and John Campbell was named a Fellow of the foundation in 2009.)

April 20, 2010

Conference on John Searle

The 2010 Austin J. Fagothey, SJ Philosophy Conference at Santa Clara University is on The Philosophy of John Searle. The conference takes place on Saturday, January 23, 2010; speakers include Patricia Churchland, Tyler Burge, Ned Block, Daniel Dennett, and John Searle.

Further particulars may be found on the conference flyer.

January 12, 2010

The Philosopher’s Annual

Each year The Philosopher’s Annual proposes a list of the ten best papers in philosophy from the preceding calendar year. The latest list, which has just been announced, includes two papers from 2008 by recent Berkeley graduates in philosophy. They are Fabrizio Cariani, now at Northwestern University, for a paper co-authored with Marc Pauly and Josh Snyder, “Decision Framing in Judgment Aggregation” (published in Synthese); and Michael Titelbaum, at the University of Wisconsin, for “The Relevance of Self-Locating Beliefs” (published in Philosophical Review). Both papers can be downloaded at the website of The Philosopher’s Annual.

Congratulations to both Fabrizio and Mike on this impressive honor!

September 10, 2009

Undergraduate Student Learning Goals

Current and prospect philosophy majors are encouraged to consult the statement of Undergraduate Student Learning Goals that the Department of Philosophy has recently developed.

June 09, 2009

Townsend Visit: Revised Schedule

The dates for this year’s Townsend Visit from Prof. Bas van Fraassen have recently been changed. The new schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, September 29, 4:10 p.m. Lecture 1
  • Thursday, October 1, 4:10 p.m. Lecture 2
  • Wednesday, October 7, office hours (1-3 p.m.)
  • Thursday, October 8, 4:10 p.m., Lecture 3
  • Friday, October 9, 4:10 p.m., open discussion

Detailed information about the Townsend Visit events (including topics of the lectures and some suggested readings) can be found in the Events section of the Department’s website.

September 21, 2009

Welcome Back

The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time in the Philosophy Department at Berkeley. For us as for everyone on campus, there will be many challenges to cope with in the wake of events in Sacramento over the summer. But there is also much to celebrate and to look forward to.

We are delighted to welcome to the Department this Fall two impressive new colleagues who add important strengths to our faculty in core areas of contemporary philosophical research:

  • Geoffrey Lee did his graduate work at NYU, where he completed a dissertation on “Consciousness and the Passing of Time”. His main areas of research interest are philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and the foundations of cognitive science and neuroscience. He is teaching Philosophy 3 this semester, and will offer an upper-division course on Metaphysics and a graduate seminar in the spring.

  • Seth Yalcin received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2008; he joins us from NYU, where he spent one year as Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He works mostly in the philosophy of language, but his research interests also extend to issues in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, formal epistemology, and linguistics. He is teaching Philosophy 100 and Philosophy 125 this Fall, and will co-teach a graduate seminar with John MacFarlane in the spring.

In addition, we are very pleased to welcome back to the Department Mike Martin and Véronique Munoz-Dardé from University College, London. This is their third visit to Berkeley, and they have agreed to return as Adjunct Professors each Fall for the next three years. Prof. Martin will be teaching Philosophy 136 and a graduate seminar on content and consciousness; Prof. Munoz-Dardé is offering Philosophy 115 and a graduate seminar on contractualism in political philosophy. We are excited to have them back in residence, and look forward to working closely with them in the years to come.

Warm congratulations are in order for Niko Kolodny, who was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure as of July 1, 2009. Prof. Kolodny did his graduate work in our Department, and he began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Harvard University; we succeeded in luring him back to Berkeley in 2005. He works primarily in moral and political philosophy, and has published on a wide range of topics in these areas, including love, partiality, promising, rationality, and reasons. In the short time since completing his graduate work he has established an impressive reputation as a first-rate scholar and a dedicated and extremely effective teacher of philosophy. We are very fortunate to have him as a permanent member of our faculty.

Many congratulations as well to Hans Sluga on his appointment to the William and Trudy Ausfahl Professorship in Philosophy, effective July 1, 2009. This new professorship—one of the endowed chairs established in response to the campus’s Hewlett Challenge—was made possible through the extraordinary generosity of Bill Ausfahl (B.A. ‘61). Income from the endowed chair will advance research in Prof. Sluga’s areas of interest, as well as providing other forms of valuable support for students and faculty in philosophy at Berkeley.

It is always a pleasure at this time of year to welcome to our community a new group of students. This year six students will be starting their graduate work in our Department: Austin Andrews (UC Santa Barbara); Matthew Hoberg (Princeton); Jim Hutchinson (Toronto); Richard Lawrence (Pennsylvania); Kathryn Mantoan (Princeton/Harvard); and Kirsten Pickering (Arizona State). In addition, three new students will be starting in the Logic and Methodology Program: Dylan Byron (Princeton); Julia Erhard (Oxford); and Lawrence Valby (Reed). We wish them every success in their graduate studies and beyond.

We also want to welcome the many undergraduate students who will be participating in our courses and activities during the coming academic year. Interest in our subject on campus remains very robust–the number of students who have chosen to major in Philosophy is higher than ever–and those of us who teach here are thrilled to have such a challenging and engaged group of students in our courses.

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 Scholars section of our website for a list of new and continuing visitors to our Department.

In other news, Paolo Mancosu returns this Fall from a year of leave, supported in part by a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. His activities during the year involved extensive stays in (among other places) Brazil, Copenhagen, Princeton, Pisa, and Paris. Niko Kolodny also returns from a year of leave. Sherri Roush is on leave in the Fall semester of the current academic year, and Hans Sluga will be on leave for both semesters.

We have, as always, a very lively program of philosophical events scheduled for the coming year, including a Townsend Visit by Bas van Fraassen, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by Mark Wilson, 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.

R. Jay Wallace, Department Chair

August 26, 2009

Memorial for Lauren Krikorian

On August 23rd Lauren Krikorian, an undergraduate who was majoring in philosophy and art, died in a car accident in Santa Barbara. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Lauren’s family and to everyone who knew her.

This Saturday, September 19th, there will be a memorial for Lauren from 6-8 PM in the Worth Ryder Gallery, which is in Kroeber Hall on the corner of Bancroft and College Ave. Anyone who knew Lauren or who cares to join is welcome to come.

Lauren’s family has put up this memorial website.

September 16, 2009

Hans Sluga named Ausfahl Professor

Many congratulations to Hans Sluga on his appointment to the William and Trudy Ausfahl Professorship in Philosophy, effective July 1, 2009. This new professorship—one of the endowed chairs established in response to the campus’s Hewlett Challenge—was made possible through the extraordinary generosity of Bill Ausfahl (B.A. ‘61). Income from the endowed chair will advance research in Prof. Sluga’s areas of interest, as well as providing other forms of valuable support for students and faculty in philosophy at Berkeley.

August 03, 2009

John Searle: 50 Years at UC Berkeley

On February 23, the Philosophy Department hosted a two hour public event with six speakers celebrating Professor John Searle’s 50 years of distinguished service at UC Berkeley. A video of the event and links to media reports are available here.

June 22, 2009

Benson Mates

The Department announces with great sadness the death, on May 14, 2009, of Prof. Emeritus Benson Mates. Born in 1919, Prof. Mates studied at the University of Oregon, completing the B.A. degree there in 1940 (in Philosophy and Mathematics). He began work at the graduate level in Philosophy at Cornell, but his studies were interrupted by a stint during the war in the US Navy. He entered the graduate program in philosophy at UC Berkeley in 1945, completing his Ph.D. degree in 1948 after working with (among others) Harold Cherniss and Alfred Tarski. His dissertation was a study of “The Logic of the Old Stoa”. Prof. Mates took up a position in the Philosophy Department at Berkeley in 1948, working as Assistant and then Associate Professor here from 1948-1958; he was promoted to full Professor in 1958, and held that title until his retirement in 1989.

Prof. Mates’s interests ranged widely over problems in logic, epistemology, and the history of philosophy. His influential books include Stoic Logic (1953); Elementary Logic (1965); The Philosophy of Leibniz (1986); and The Skeptic Way (1996). His own philosophical tendencies were sympathetic to strands in ancient skepticism, a theme that emerges clearly in his book Skeptical Essays (1981).

Prof. Mates is survived by five children John Mates (of Portland, Oregon), Maureen Mates (of Berkeley, California), Margaret Mates (of Seattle, Washington), Susan Mates (of Providence, Rhode Island) and Ellen Mates (of Berkeley, California); and by seven grandchildren.

A brief appreciation of Prof. Mates’s contributions to the study of Stoic logic, prepared by Tony Long, is available here.

May 15, 2009

Newsletter 2008

The Philosophy Department announces the 2008 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.

September 12, 2008

John Campbell wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Many congratulations to John Campbell, who has been awarded a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation to support his work on causation in psychology.

April 26, 2009

Geoffrey Lee to join faculty

The Department of Philosophy is delighted to announce that Geoffrey Lee has accepted an offer of appointment as Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2009. Geoff is currently a graduate student at New York University; his dissertation is on “Consciousness and the Passing of Time.” His main areas of research interest are philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and the foundations of cognitive science and neuroscience.

March 11, 2009

Seth Yalcin to join faculty

The Philosophy Department is very pleased to announce that Seth Yalcin will be joining us as Assistant Professor in the summer of 2009. Prof. Yalcin received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2008; he is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at NYU. He works mostly in the philosophy of language, but his research interests also extend to issues in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, formal epistemology, and linguistics.

February 13, 2009

Ernest W. Adams

The Philosophy Department was deeply saddened to learn that Emeritus Professor Ernest W. Adams died on March 29th, 2009, shortly after being diagnosed with an advanced case of liver cancer. Professor Adams joined the Department in 1956, following graduate studies in philosophy at Stanford University (where his dissertation was supervised by Prof. Patrick Suppes); he continued teaching at Berkeley until his retirement in 1991. Prof. Adams worked in philosophical logic and the philosophy of science, and was best known for his research on conditionals; his influential book The Logic of Conditionals appeared in 1975. Professor Adams also made important contributions in a number of other areas, including the foundations of geometry and physics, as well as utility theory, game theory, and general measurement theory. A volume of essays in honor of his work, Probability and Conditionals, was published in 1994. At Berkeley Prof. Adams was a founding member of the Group in Logic and Methodology of Science.

April 01, 2009

Welcome Back

The Philosophy Department is very pleased to welcome to Berkeley our new colleague, Lara Buchak. Lara did her graduate work at Princeton on issues in the theory of rationality. She is teaching Philosophy 100 and a graduate seminar in her first semester on our campus. We are delighted to have her here, and look forward to working together with her in the months and years to come.

It is always a pleasure at this time of year to welcome to our community a new group of students. This year six students will be starting their graduate work in our Department, including Peter Epstein (Harvard University); Maxwell Gee (Brown University); Kelly Glover (University of Toronto); Alison Niedbalski (Indiana University-South Bend); Umrao Sethi (Columbia University). In addition, Arthur Tilley (University of Colorado) will be starting in the philosophy track of the Logic and Methodology Program. 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.

In other news, Alva Noë returns this fall from a sabbatical year in Berlin, where he was in residence at the Wissenschaftskolleg. We also welcome back John Campbell and Sherri Roush, both of whom were on leave last spring.

We are very pleased to report that two of our faculty members have recently received prestigious national awards: Paolo Mancosu was selected as a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation for 2008; and Sherri Roush was awarded a major grant from the National Science Foundation to study “Fallibility and Revision in Science and Society”. Congratulations to both colleagues on these signal achievements!

Paolo will be on leave for the academic year 2008-2009, dividing his time between Berkeley and Princeton (where he will be a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the spring). Niko Kolodny is also on leave for the academic year, and John MacFarlane is on leave for the fall semester.

We have, as always, a very lively program of philosophical events scheduled for the coming year, including a Townsend Visit by Ned Block, a Howison Lecture by John Perry, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by Robert Stalnaker, 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.

R. Jay Wallace, Department Chair

August 27, 2008

2007 Newsletter

The Philosophy Department announces the 2007 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.

January 11, 2008

Hot off the (electronic) press!

The Philosophy Department announces the 2007 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.

August 27, 2007

Welcome Back

It is always a pleasure at this time of year to welcome to our community a new group of students, faculty, and visitors.

There are seven students who will be beginning their graduate work in our Department this Fall: Jeremy Carey (Florida State); Eugene Chislenko (Harvard); Erich Matthes (Yale); Luke Misenheimer (University of North Carolina); Janum Sethi (Yale); David Sidi (University of Arizona); and Stephen Thurman (Brown). We wish them every success in their graduate studies and beyond.

Several distinguished teachers and scholars are returning to Berkeley for visits this Fall:

  • Mike Martin and Véronique Munoz-Dardé from University College, London, are once again in residence as Mills Visiting Professors for the Fall semester. Prof. Martin will be teaching Philosophy 132 and a graduate seminar on Appearance and Expression; Prof. Munoz-Dardé is offering an upper-division seminar in political philosophy and a graduate seminar on Rawls’s Theory of Justice.

  • Dorothea Frede returns this year as Mills Visiting Professor; she is teaching a graduate seminar on Plato’s Sophist in the Fall, and Philosophy 161 in the Spring.

  • Michael Ayers from the University of Oxford joins us this Fall as well; he will be teaching Philosophy 174, “Locke”, and a graduate seminar.

  • David Ebrey, who made frequent visits to Berkeley while a graduate student at UCLA, holds a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department starting this semester. He will be in residence for two years, teaching one course each semester; this Fall he is offering Philosophy 160, “Plato”.

We are looking forward to additional visits in the Spring semester from Rolf-Peter Horstmann (Berlin) and Marleen Rozemond (Toronto).

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. This Fall’s new visitors include Gordian Haas (Germany), Paul Studtmann (USA), Matt Wolf (USA), Frederick Eberhardt (Germany), Joshua Glasgow (New Zealand), Alan Fenster (USA), Kristin Irwin (USA), Brice Halimi (France), Kevin Scharp (USA), Naozumi Mitani (Japan), Mattia Gallotti (Italy), Joel Anderson (The Netherlands), and Lisa Bortolotti (Italy).

We are very happy to report that our colleague Branden Fitelson has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in our Department. He is a scholar and teacher of tremendous energy and commitment, and we congratulate him on his impressive record of teaching, publication, and professional activity.

In other faculty news, Alva Noë will be on leave for the whole academic year at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. We are also proud to announce that his book Action in Perception was recently awarded honorable mention in the biennial Book Prize competition of the American Philosophical Association.

John Searle and Barry Stroud are on leave during the Fall semester, and John Campbell and Sherri Roush will be on leave in the Spring. Sam Scheffler returns from a sabbatical year in New York; I am sad to have to add that this will be his last year in our Department.

We have, as always, a very lively program of philosophical events scheduled for the coming year, including a Townsend Visit by Hilary Putnam, a Howison Lecture by Fred Dretske, a George Myro Memorial Lecture by Stewart Shapiro, 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.

R. Jay Wallace, Department Chair

August 25, 2007

Welcome Back!

The new academic year begins with a number of significant transitions and developments in the Department of Philosophy:

  • We welcome to Berkeley our new colleague Sherrilyn Roush, who joins us from Rice University. Her wide-ranging philosophical interests include general philosophy of science, epistemology, and logic and probability; she will be teaching a seminar together with Branden Fitelson this Fall.

  • Janet Broughton, who was on leave in 2005-2006, is the new Dean of Arts and Humanities in Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science, effective July 1, 2006. We will miss her regular presence in Moses Hall and her contributions in the classroom, but are very pleased that our supremely competent colleague will be serving as our dean for the next five years. We wish Janet every success in this important and challenging assignment.

  • Dorothea Frede is joining us this year as Mills Visiting Professor from the University of Hamburg. She will be teaching an upper-division class on Plato and a graduate seminar on Aristotle’s Ethics this Fall, and also giving a talk in the department’s fall colloquium series. She will stay through the end of the current academic year, and will be returning for at least one semester in each of the next two academic years.

  • Congratulations to three members of the department who have been promoted to the rank of full professor, effective July 1, 2006: Hannah Ginsborg, Paolo Mancosu, and Alva Noë.

  • Several colleagues are returning from a year of academic leave this Fall; we welcome back Alan Code, Branden Fitelson, and Niko Kolodny. Samuel Scheffler will be on leave for both semesters of the coming academic year, visiting at NYU in New York.

  • We are very pleased to have seven new students beginning their work in our graduate program this fall; they are Erin Beeghly (Berkeley and Oxford), Lindsay Crawford (Mount Holyoke), Melissa Fusco (Stanford), Markus Kohl (Oxford and Stanford), Ethan Nowak (Reed and Oxford), Adam Pringle (Colorado College and Northern Illinois), and Stephen Schmall (Wisconsin).

  • This year, as always, there is a plethora of philosophical events scheduled to take place at UC Berkeley; highlights include a Foerster Lecture by Martha Nussbaum, a Townsend Visit by Timothy Williamson, a Howison Lecture by T. M. Scanlon, Tanner Lectures by Joshua Cohen, and many talks and colloquia by distinguished philosophers from the US and abroad.

Please bookmark this website – whose crisp new design and many useful features are due to the efforts of John MacFarlane – and check back often for detailed information and updates about philosophy at Berkeley.

Jay Wallace, Professor and Department Chair

August 20, 2006