Published work of CMC’s Philosophy Department recognized

Books, articles, and grant work in 2016 featured at Faculty Publications and Grants reception

At the Inaugural Community Celebration of CMC Faculty Publications and Grants, to be held on Feb. 10 at McKenna Auditorium, the Philosophy Department will recognize the stellar work of six of its faculty on numerous publications and two external grants received in 2016.

“We are tremendously lucky to have such talented faculty in our mix,” says Professor Suzanne Obdrzalek, Chair of the Philosophy Department. “My colleagues truly epitomize the teacher-scholar model that is at the heart of the liberal arts college; they are world-class scholars, but also have the ability to use their research to transform the classroom experience of our students.”

Paul Hurley, Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy, was awarded a $65,000 research grant from the Tulane Center for Ethics and Public Policy for his proposal: “The Roots of Consequentialism.”

“My project is to demonstrate that the dominant, consequentialist framework for approaching decision making at both the individual and group levels systematically leaves out many of the most important considerations that we should be taking into account, and systematically skews others,” Prof. Hurley says. “It causes us to lose a clear handle, for example, both on why we should vote and why we shouldn't torture people.”

In addition to the grant, Prof. Hurley contributed a review (Philip Pettit: The Robust Demands of the Good) published in the January 2016 issue of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, and an essay (“Two Senses of Moral Verdict and Moral Overridingness”) that appeared in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Vol. 6, edited by Mark Timmons, Oxford University Press, 2016.

“I was thrilled when I was notified that I had been awarded the research fellowship at Tulane’s Center for Ethics and Policy,” Prof. Hurley says. “I love my students, and I love the topics that I research. Fellowships like this one allow us to stay at the cutting edge of our fields, and bringing that edge back into the classroom is part of what gives our students an edge.”

The other grant awarded to a member of CMC’s Philosophy Department this year went to Assistant Professor Andrew Schroeder for his proposal: “The Ethics of Presenting Complex Scientific Information.” The $6,000 grant came as part of the Graves Award in the Humanities, which was awarded to Prof. Schroeder.

“So far, most of my work on the ethics of presenting complex scientific information has centered around global health data,” he says. “I’ll be using the grant money to expand my work into other scientific fields – especially climate science – during my upcoming sabbatical.”

The Arnold L. Graves and Lois S. Graves Awards encourage and reward “outstanding accomplishment in actual teaching in the humanities by younger faculty members.” The Graves Awards are administered by Pomona College, under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies.

“This award was especially gratifying, because it recognized not just my research, but also my teaching accomplishments,” Prof. Schroeder says. 

Professor Amy Kind had a very prolific year of publishing in 2016. “Several projects that had been a long time in the making all found their way to publication at once,” she says. “I was also lucky to have been coming off a very productive sabbatical in 2014-15, where I was able to devote myself full-time to research.”

Prof. Kind contributed essays and edited handbooks including several on the philosophy of imagination. “I consider myself lucky to be at an institution like CMC, where one’s teaching and one’s research can really be mutually reinforcing,” she says. “This year, for example, the seminar on Experience that I taught in the fall and the seminar on Imagination that I’m teaching this semester both line up beautifully with several projects that I’m now working on.  This kind of synergy –and the benefits of exploring ideas with our talented and inquisitive undergraduates – can really stoke one’s creative energies.”

Adrienne M. Martin, the Akshata Murty ’02 & Rishi Sunak Associate Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow, wrote a monograph entitled: “Consumer Complicity in Factory Farming” which was included in the Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating, edited by Terence Cuneo, Andrew Chignell, and Matthew Halteman, Routledge Publishing, 2016.

“Many people who become vegetarians are initially motivated by the sense that there is something bad about purchasing meat produced through such a cruel practice,” Prof. Martin says, explaining her premise. “But here is the puzzle: The individual consumer isn’t the person stuffing the animals in the cages or setting corporate policy regarding stocking density. Indeed, given the great demand for inexpensive meat, the individual’s choice to refrain from buying a package of chicken breasts appears to make no difference at all to whether factory farming continues. So why is there anything bad about buying it?”

One of Professor James Kreines three published monographs is entitled: “Fundamentality without Metaphysical Monism: Response to Critics of Reason in the World.” The article is a reply to comments by Franz Knappik and Robert Stern on Prof. Kreines’ book, Reason in the World: Hegel’s Metaphysics and its Philosophical Appeal.

Issues that Prof. Kreines addresses in the article include the systematicity of Hegel’s philosophy, the prioritizing of metaphysical over epistemological questions in his arguments, Hegel’s response to Kant’s Antinomy of Pure Reason, and the author’s conclusion that there are senses in which Hegel’s own position is both ambitiously metaphysical and also monist, but that the monism present there is epistemological, and the ambitious metaphysics is non-monist.

Published work for Professor Stephen T. Davis, the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy, include his book Rational Faith: A Philosopher’s Defense of Christianity and the article “Thoughts on Atheism and Relativism” that appeared in The City, in addition to a Russian translation of his book God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs that appeared in Moscow: Kauka-Vostachanaya Literatura.

Finally, Alex Rajczi, Deborah & Kenneth Novack Associate Professor of Ethics and Leadership and George R. Roberts Fellow, is represented at the celebration by two articles; “Liberalism and Public Health Ethics,” published in the journal Bioethics and “On the Incoherence Objection to Rule-Utilitarianism,” published in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

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