The Dennes Room

Welcome Back!

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.

Let’s begin by welcoming our new members. We are delighted, to start, that Johann Frick joins our faculty this fall and that Xueyin (Snow) Zhang will be joining our faculty in 2023.

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.”

Niko Kolodny

August 19, 2021