Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Miguel León-Portilla (1926-2019)

Miguel León-Portilla, emeritus professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and “the world’s foremost authority on Náhuatl philology and philosophy,” has died. Professor León-Portilla was known for his philosophical, historical, anthropological work on, and his translations of, Nahuatl philosophy, history, and literature, producing hundreds of articles and nearly fifty books. He joined the faculty of UNAM in 1957. The many honors he received over his long career include a Living Legend Award from the U.S. Library of Congress, the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor (the Mexican Senate’s highest honor), the Elías Sourasky Award (a national award for work in the social sciences), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and “countless” honorary doctorates. From 1987 to 1992, he was Mexico’s delegate to UNESCO, In an obituary published at the UNAM site, León-Portilla is credited with “giving voice to the vanquished,” beginning “a movement to understand and revalue the literature in [Nahuatl], not only that of the pre-Columbian era, but also the current one, which is spoken by more than 1.5 million people.” (via Sergio A. Gallegos Ordorica) The post Miguel León-Portilla (1926-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

Elizabeth Anderson Wins MacArthur Fellowship

Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, is a recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowships, informally referred to as “genius grants”, are unrestricted, no-strings-attached awards of $625,000, given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The Fellowships are funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. There were 26 Fellows in the 2019 class. Professor Anderson is the only academic philosopher among them. The Foundation says: Elizabeth Anderson is a philosopher examining how evolving concepts of freedom and equality are experienced in our daily lives. She combines a high level of analytical rigor with a pragmatist methodology in her investigations of the ways various institutions, policies, and social practices structure relations among people and serve to promote or hinder conditions of democratic equality and human flourishing. In an extensive body of work, Anderson formulates principles based on empirical evidence about problems of practical importance and urgency—from the persistence of racial segregation to the authoritarian aspects of the modern workplace—instead of engaging in thought experiments or posing hypothetical questions about an ideal world. She has made pivotal [More]

Myles Burnyeat (1939-2019)

Miles Burnyeat, emeritus fellow at Oxford University’s All Souls College and emeritus professor of philosophy at Cambridge University’s Robinson College, has died.   Professor Burnyeat was well-known for his work in ancient philosophy. In a speech honoring him in 2012, Sarah Broadie (St. Andrews) said: In classical studies, especially in the study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, Myles Burnyeat’s name is a byword for extraordinary humanistic achievement. Students of ancient thought at every level and in many countries are beholden to his example, in teaching as in research. His expertise ranges wide and deep over material stretching from the pre-Socratic philosophers, to the great classical and Hellenistic figures, and on through a vast cavalcade of successors into late antiquity. Our grasp and appreciation of just about every shape and movement of thought in this thousand year sweep of philosophy has been informed, invigorated, and in some cases seriously corrected by Myles Burnyeat’s work. Professor Burnyeat was an undergraduate at Cambridge University and a graduate student at University College London (under the supervision of Bernard Williams). His first teaching appointment was at UCL, in 1964. In 1978 he took up an appointment at Cambridge, and then in 1996 he became a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is the author of many works, including The Theaetetus of Plato, A Map of Metaphysics Zeta, Aristotle’s Divine Intellect, and The Original [More]

Zack Selected as 2019 Romanell – Phi Beta Kappa Professor

Naomi Zack, professor of philosophy at Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY), has been awarded the 2019 Romanell – Phi Beta Kappa Professorship. The award includes delivering three lectures open to the public, the opportunity to publish the lectures in the Romanell Lectures Series from Oxford University Press, and a prize of $7,500. It is given annually to scholars working in philosophy to recognize “not only distinguished achievement but also the recipient’s contribution or potential contribution to public understanding of philosophy.” The award was established in 1983 and is named in honor of Patrick Romanell, H.Y. Benedict Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso, and his wife Edna Romanell. It is sponsored by the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Professor Zack will be delivering her lectures at Lehman College. A press release about the award states: Dr. Zack has researched and written on a variety of topics, notably in the areas of race, political philosophy, feminism and disaster ethics. Her most recent book is titled Reviving the Social Compact: Inclusive Citizenship in an Age of Extreme Politics (2018). She has published nine books and edited five anthologies, including the Oxford Handbook on Philosophy and Race (2017). Dr. Zack recently joined the faculty at Lehman College, moving from the University of Oregon, to focus on the opportunity to teach undergraduate members of under-represented groups and support [More]

André Gallois (1945-2019) (updated)

André Norman Gallois, emeritus professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, died earlier this month. Professor Gallois was known for his work in metaphysics (especially the metaphysics of identity), philosophy of mind, and epistemology. In addition to many articles on these topics, he authored the books The World Without, The Mind Within (Cambridge, 1996), Occasions of Identity: A Study in the Metaphysics of Identity (Oxford, 1998), and The Metaphysics of Identity (Routledge, 2016). Professor Gallois studied philosophy at the University of Sussex and the University of Oxford, before taking up his first teaching position in 1971 at the University of Florida. He then moved to Australia, teaching initially at Monash University and then for many years at the University of Queensland. In 1997 he moved to Keele University, and then to Syracuse in 2002. In a post about him, Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) writes: “André had firm views about what counts as philosophy that I sometimes thought too traditional. But once an issue was being analyzed, one could not imagine a gentler and more encouraging companion in shared, all-absorbing philosophical inquiry.” You can learn more about Professor Gallois’ work here. UPDATE (9/16/19): There is a detailed and personal obituary here. The post André Gallois (1945-2019) (updated) appeared first on Daily [More]

André Gallois (1945-2019)

André Norman Gallois, emeritus professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, died earlier this month. Professor Gallois was known for his work in metaphysics (especially the metaphysics of identity), philosophy of mind, and epistemology. In addition to many articles on these topics, he authored the books The World Without, The Mind Within (Cambridge, 1996), Occasions of Identity: A Study in the Metaphysics of Identity (Oxford, 1998), and The Metaphysics of Identity (Routledge, 2016). Professor Gallois studied philosophy at the University of Sussex and the University of Oxford, before taking up his first teaching position in 1971 at the University of Florida. He then moved to Australia, teaching initially at Monash University and then for many years at the University of Queensland. In 1997 he moved to Keele University, and then to Syracuse in 2002. In a post about him, Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) writes: “André had firm views about what counts as philosophy that I sometimes thought too traditional. But once an issue was being analyzed, one could not imagine a gentler and more encouraging companion in shared, all-absorbing philosophical inquiry.” You can learn more about Professor Gallois’ work here. The post André Gallois (1945-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

20 Theses Regarding Civility (guest post by Amy Olberding)

Too many (most?) conversations about civility begin because someone did something perceived to be uncivil. Making civility all about what other people do is in fact part of the problem, as civility is then degraded into a cudgel and its proponents into cops. Conversation about civility would be improved if sorting oneself out was the focus. The following is a guest post by Amy Olberding, the President’s Associates Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. It originally appeared at Department of Deviance. (Note: do not use the comments section on this post to call out particular individuals’ you believe have engaged in uncivil behavior. Thank you.) 20 Theses Regarding Civility by Amy Olberding If I could just find the door to the discourse, I’d nail these on it. Dissent does not require incivility. I would have thought this obvious but have now too often heard people voice the assumption that if you’re civil, you’re not dissenting. Civility does not, under any theoretical construction or system of practical application, require that one not dissent. Dissent can be accomplished civilly or uncivilly. Dissent is not inevitably or automatically more powerful, more decisive, or more effective when delivered uncivilly. This is especially so in contexts where incivilities are frequent and commonplace because the emotive force of incivility becomes diluted. Incivility in dissent works in part when it functions to communicate distress, moral [More]

John N. Williams (1952-2019)

John N. Williams, a philosopher who spent much of his career working in Singapore, and who had just last year taken up a position as professor of philosophy at Nazarbayev University, has died.  Professor Williams held appointments at School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University, the National University of Singapore, the University of West Indies, and was a visiting fellow at Rhodes University. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Hull. He had interests in epistemology, philosophy of religion, applied ethics, and logical paradox, and was known for his work on Moore’s Paradox. A group of philosophers from Singapore have authored an obituary, in which they remember him as “ever-inventive, witty, and humorous” and as “a brilliant, funny, gregarious, and humble man.” The full obituary is here. You can learn more about his work here. (via Michael Pelczar) The post John N. Williams (1952-2019) appeared first on Daily [More]

Schechter from WUSTL to Indiana

Elizabeth Schecter, previously in the Department of Philosophy and the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at Washington University in St. Louis, is now associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Schechter works on psychological unity and its connection to questions about personal identity, self-knowledge, the unity of consciousness, the nature of belief, and related matters. Her book, Self-Consciousness and ‘Split’ Brains: The Mind’s I, came out last year. You can learn more about her work here. The post Schechter from WUSTL to Indiana appeared first on Daily [More]

Barry Stroud (1935-2019) (updated)

Barry Stroud, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, died last week. Professor Stroud was known for his work in epistemology and metaphysics, particularly on philosophical skepticism, as well as on Hume and other figures in the history of philosophy. Stroud received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. He took up an assistant professorship at UC Berkeley at 1961, retiring in 2016 as the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of Philosophy. UPDATE: “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” — from a brief memorial notice posted at the UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy site. UPDATE (8/19/19): “Rather than taking it for granted that we understand what philosophical problems are and so can set ourselves to the task of solving them, Stroud repeatedly called attention to the possibility that philosophers lack a proper understanding of what we ourselves are doing” — from a philosophical obituary for Barry Stroud by John Schwenkler (Florida State) at 3 Quarks Daily. The post Barry Stroud (1935-2019) (updated) appeared first on Daily [More]

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