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Professor Anderson Delivered Procter Memorial Lecture at Wellesley College
Professor Luvell Anderson delivered the Thomas Hayes Procter Memorial Lecture at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA, on March 11. In his lecture, titled "Can White People Appreciate Rap?," Anderson argued that certain background experiences are necessary for appreciating particular cultural art forms.
Changing the Face of Philosophy

In the most recent newsletter of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis is recognized for its efforts to contribute to diversity in the profession. With the support of the University and the Graduate School, the Provost Predoctoral Diversity Awards for qualified students of underrepresented groups have been critical in the department's success. Having already graduated ten African American philosophers, the department is currently training six Black doctoral students, four Hispanic graduate students, as well as one Asian-American student.

Faculty Books: New, Forthcoming, In Press, Under Contract

- Stephan Blatti (co-edited with Paul Snowdon) Essays on Animalism: Persons, Animals, and Identity (forthcoming, Oxford University Press).

- Stephan Blatti (co-edited with Sandra Lapointe) Ontology After Carnap (forthcoming, Oxford University Press).

- Stephan Blatti (ed.) Spindel Supplement (“The Lives of Human Animals”), The Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (2014).

- Pleshette DeArmitt, The Right to Narcissism: A Case for an Im-possible Self-Love (Fordham University Press, 2014).

- Remy Debes (ed.) Dignity: The History of a Concept (forthcoming, Oxford University Press).

- Remy Debes (co-edited with Karsten Steuber) Ethical Sentimentalism (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).

- Shaun Gallagher (co-edited), Oxford Handbook of Cognition: Embodied, Enactive, Extended (under contract, Oxford University Press).

- Shaun Gallagher, The Phenomenological Mind (2nd ed.) appeared in Spanish and Korean translations (2013).

- Kas Saghafi and Pleshette DeArmitt (co-editors), Remains: Jacques Derrida (under contract, Edinburgh University Press).

- Deborah Tollefsen, Groups as Agents (Polity, 2015).

- Somogy Varga, Naturalism, Hermeneutics and Mental Disorder (under contract, Oxford University Press).

- Somogy Varga, Ruptured Selves: Embodied Cognition and Mental Disorder (under contract, MIT Press).

- Somogy Varga (co-edited with Michelle Merritt) Special Issue of Cognitive Systems Research (“Socially Extended Mind”) (2013).
Fall 2014 Speakers & Events

September 5

Anika Fiebich (Bochum), "Towards a Pluralistic Approach to Social Understanding: Suggestions for Future Research"

September 19

Philosophy Circle "Meet & Greet"

Graduate Student Colloquium: Josh Dohmen, "Something about Kristeva"

October 3

Derrick Darby (Michigan), "A Problem for Justice as Reparations"

October 10

Shaun Gallagher (Memphis), Spindel Preview

October 17

Philosophy Circle talk: Luvell Anderson (Memphis), "Racist Humor"

October 22

Colin Koopman (Oregon), "The Informational Person: A Genealogy"

October 23-25

Spindel Conference, "Alternative Models of the Mind"

October 31

Graduate Student Colloquium: Marygrace Hemme, "The Praxis and Poetics of Narration in Kristeva's Interpretation of Arendt"

November 7

Deborah Tollefsen (Memphis), "Groups as Agents"

November 14

Dylan Trigg (Dublin), "Anxiety at the Limits of Phenomenology"

November 21

Ryan Nichols (Cal State Fullerton), "Domesticating humans with shame: How Early Confucians altered inherited evolutionary norms through cultural programming to increase social harmony"

December 3

Gordon Finlayson (Sussex), "'Wer denkt, ist nicht wütend.' Adorno on Theory and Praxis"

December 5-6

8th Annual Ida B. Wells Conference, with keynote lectures by Linda Martín Alcoff (CUNY) and Paul C. Taylor (Penn State)

Blatti and Debes Win Templeton Foundation Grants

Stephan Blatti and Remy Debes have each been awarded a grant from the Templeton Foundation. Blatti, whose project "The Dying Animal" will be supported by Templeton’s “Immortality Project,” will be on research leave in 2014-15 working on a book tentatively titled Being of Life: Human Animals, Mortality, and the Human/Nonhuman Divide. Debes, whose project "Understanding as a Form of Respect" will be supported by Templeton’s “Varieties of Understanding” initiative, will also be on research leave in 2014-15 working on a book tentatively titled Peculiar Perspectives: An Inquiry into Respect, Understanding, and Human Dignity.

Blatti Tenured and Promoted

The Department of Philosophy heartily congratulates Stephan Blatti who has been tenured and promoted to Associate Professor (effective September 2014). Blatti has also been selected by the College of Arts and Sciences to serve as the Director of Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities.

Faculty Receive Arts & Sciences Grants and Awards
Congratulations to the following faculty members who recently received College of Arts & Sciences Grants and Awards: Professional Development Assignment (Tim Roche, Remy Debes), Early Career Research Award (Somogy Varga), Faculty Research Grant (Remy Debes, Verena Erlenbusch, Somogy Varga), Travel Enrichment Award (Remy Debes, Verena Erlenbusch). Bravo!
Spring 2014 Speakers, Events, & Visitors
The Department of Philosophy is proud to host another exciting series of lectures and events this semester. Conferences include the 10th annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference as well as two conferences on "Dignity: The History of a Concept" (March 21-22) and "Torture and Solitary Confinement" (April 11-12). Speakers include Daniele Moyal-Sharrock (Hertfordshire), William Scheuerman (Indiana), Isak Holm (Copenhagen), Peirre Destrée (Louvain), Cynthia Willett (Emory), Galen Strawson (Texas), and Michelle Montague (Texas). See the Calendar of Events for details on these and other happenings. Visiting scholars this term include Simona Agnello (Palermo), Kristian Moltke Martiny (Copenhagen), Gry Ardal Printzlau (Copenhagen), Zuzanna Rucinska (Hertfordshire), and Beata Stawarska (Oregon).

Trigg Wins Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship
Dylan Trigg (University College Dublin) will start a 3-year postdoctoral research position in Memphis in Fall 2014. Sponsored by Professors Shaun Gallagher and Tom Nenon, Dr. Trigg won the highly competitive Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the European Commission's Marie Curie Actions Research Fellowship Program to research the phenomenology of anxiety and the body. He will spend two years in Memphis working with members of the faculty on this project. In his final year he will return to Dublin.

Gallagher Awarded Professorial Fellowship
Shaun Gallagher, the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy, was awarded an Honorary Professorial Fellowship on the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong, which is just south of Sydney, Australia. Dr. Gallagher will be working with colleagues in the Philosophy Department at Wollongong on several research projects. This will create opportunities for graduate students from Memphis and Wollongong to do exchange visits over the next several years.

Conference: "Torture and Solitary Confinement"
"Torture and Solitary Confinement: Phenomenology and Ethics" (April 11-12, 2014) is a two-day, international and interdisciplinary workshop focused on what happens to people who experience systematic torture, including the practice of solitary confinement, not only in war zones, but also in supermax prisons. Testimonies from those who have undergone such practices suggest they cause profound changes in how victims experience self and world, and can lead to the destruction of the person. The related phenomenology includes hallucinations and visual disturbances, anxiety, paranoia, depression, disruptions in the sense of embodiment, problems with personal and social identity. These changes often lead to prolonged physical and mental illness. The workshop seeks to explore what Lisa Guenther calls a "critical phenomenology," as well as empirical-historical evidence about such practices in different cultures. Further details (including program information and conference registration) are available here.

Conference: "Dignity: History of a Concept"
A two-day conference concerning the history of the concept of human dignity was held  March 21-22, 2014. "Human dignity" has become a bedrock concept in Western society - but what exactly do we mean by it? The English term ‘dignity’ is a derivation of the Latin dignitas, which was a Roman concept referring to a man’s social influence, power, and reputation (moral or otherwise). Over time the term came to take on the more general idea of rank, merit, or a kind of poise or gravitas – connotations that persist to this day. However, the term has also been increasingly associated with the concept of inherent human worth. In this sense, “human dignity” is prima facie discontinuous with all historically older merit connotations of dignity. Human dignity, if it exists, and whatever else it may be, isn’t something that must be earned or bequeathed. Instead, in some sense or other, at least to some degree, human dignity is inherent and unearned. Significant credit for this revolution in meaning undoubtedly goes to Kant’s famous reformulation of his Categorical Imperative in terms of human dignity (Würde). But recently scholars have begun to appreciate that this moralized sense of unearned worth has much older origins, and correspondingly to rethink our contemporary understanding of human worth. The presentations in this conference are on the cutting edge of this new research, and each will eventually appear in the forthcoming Oxford University Press volume, Dignity: History of a Concept. Further details (including program information) are available here.

Lawson Hits the Right (Key)Note in Ireland
Bill Lawson gave a Keynote Lecture at the "Transatlantic Connections" conference held at the Humanities and Social Sciences Intensive School at the University College Cork, Ireland in January 2014. The title of his presentation was "Frederick Douglass and the Irish Famine: Music, Suffering, and the Sorrow Songs."

DeArmitt’s New Book Hits the Shelves
Pleshette DeArmitt’s The Right to Narcissism: A Case for an Im-possible Self-love (Fordham University Press) aims to wrest the concept of narcissism from its common and pejorative meanings -- egoism and vanity -- by revealing its complexity and importance. DeArmitt undertakes the work of rehabilitating "narcissism" by patiently reexamining the terms and figures that have been associated with it, especially in the writings of Rousseau, Kristeva, and Derrida. Taking up themes such as pitié, transference, mourning, and imagination, this book finds new resources for thinking other narcissisms, which are no stranger to love, creativity, and sociality.

Gallagher Awarded Third Honorary Professorship
Shaun Gallagher (Moss Professor of Philosophy) was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of Health Sciences at the University of Tromsø, which is known as the University of the Arctic in Norway (the northern most university in the known universe). Although it is unusual for a philosopher to receive this honor in the area of health sciences, Dr. Gallagher's work on embodiment, which combines and understanding of phenomenology and neuroscience, is the theoretical base for the graduate program in neuro-physiotherapy at the University of Tromsø. Every other year he presents a series of lectures to the incoming class in the MA program there, and he collaborates on research with the clinical teaching staff at Tromsø. Dr. Gallagher is also Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen, and Durham University in the UK.

2014 PGSA Conference: "Mental Illness & Power"
The 10th annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference will take place on February 21-22, 2014. The topic of this year's conference is "Mental Illness and Power." The keynote speakers will be David M. Goodman (Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychology and the Other Institute, Lesley University) and Mary Beth Mader (Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis). Further information about the conference -- including the conference program and poster -- is available here.

2013 Philosophical Horizons Workshop
On Friday, November 22, the Philosophy Department will host a one-day conference about our outreach program, Philosophical Horizons. The conference will consist of three workshops focusing on different areas of the program: elementary schools, secondary schools, and prisons. The workshops will consist of brief presentations about our program and its methods, followed by a training session. The conference will close with a keynote lecture by Claire Katz (Texas A&M University) entitled "The Necessity and Limits of Thinking for Oneself." More information is available on the workshop flyer or by contacting the lead organizer, John Torrey.

New and Visiting Faculty
Verena Erlenbusch joins the faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Dr. Erlenbusch completed her Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex. Before coming to Memphis, she taught at St. Mary’s University and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. Verena specializes in social and political philosophy, the philosophy of law, and continental philosophy. Her work focuses on the legal, political, and philosophical construction of terrorism since the French Revolution as well as on theories of sovereignty and power. Also, Tobias Nikolas Klass joins us this fall as an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar. Currently Junior Professor of Philosophy at Universität Wuppertal, Dr. Klass's interests include Nietzsche, rhetoric, political philosophy, modern French philosophy, the philosophy of "Leiblichkeit," and cultural theory. He will give a public lecture on September 13, 2013 entitled "What is a Terrorist? The Michael Kohlhass Case."

Gallagher to speak on Space, Science and Spirituality

As part of Dr. Gallagher's project, "Space, Science, and Spirituality," funded by the John Templeton Foundation, he will be presenting two lectures. The first is a public lecture at the University of Cologne on June 24, 2013 entitled "Space and Spirituality: Experiments in Mixed and Virtual Reality." Gallagher will be joined for a panel discussion by the German novelist Martin Mosebach, winner of the Georg Büchner Prize in 2007, and by the German astronaut Gerhard Thiele who was part of a 2000 Space Shuttle mission.  Gallagher's second lecture is a keynote lecture entitled "Consciousness in Outer Space" to be delivered at the 17th Annual Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in San Diego in July. Both talks will provide details of the empirical study on aesthetic and spiritual experiences during space flight reported by astronauts, conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scientists led by Gallagher.

New Issue of Sophia

The new issue of the Philosophy Department newsletter has been published. See what we have been up to the last year -- including alumni, student, faculty, and conference updates -- here!

DeArmitt and Saghafi to Present at Summer Academy

Professors Pleshette DeArmitt and Kas Saghafi will present lectures on Derrida, in a session entitled “What Remains--Of Mastery and Ipseity,” at The London Graduate School’s Inaugural Summer Academy in the Critical Humanities. Sarah Marshall, a doctoral student, was selected to participate in the week-long program of lectures and intensive workshops on European thought, which will take place between June 24 and June 27, 2013. The LGS Summer Academy program can be found here

Gallagher Awarded Honorary Professor

Professor Shaun Gallagher was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of Philosophy at Durham University England. The position runs for three years starting January 1, 2013.  Dr. Gallagher is also Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen, a five-year appointment that started in August 2010.

Roche Awarded Professional Development Assignment

The College of Arts and Sciences approved the award of a Professional Development Assignment for Professor Tim Roche for the fall semester of 2013. The sabbatical will support his research on a project entitled "Aristotle's Nicomachean Conception of Happiness." The project represents a final stage of a research agenda aimed at the production of a book defending a unique interpretation of Aristotle's conception of eudaimonia (happiness) in his Nicomachean Ethics.

Varga Awarded Grant

The University of Hertfordshire (UK) has awarded Prof. Somogy Varga a $4000 grant to map the influence of the Embodied and Narrative Practices Framework (Daniel D. Hutto and Shaun Gallagher) in field of clinical psychiatry, and to contribute to its further development. The work will involve cooperation with clinicians in the UK, Germany and Italy who are engaged in the design of novel diagnostic tools and methodological guidelines.

Department Statistics

The American Philosophical Association has just issued its official guidebook to Graduate Programs. Please see our updated statistics here.

Dr. Gallagher's Book Receives Award
Professor Shaun Gallagher's book, The Phenomenological Mind (2nd edition, 2012), co-authored with Dan Zahavi, was listed among the Outstanding Academic Titles by Choice. (See In awarding Outstanding Academic Titles, the editors of Choice apply the following criteria to reviewed titles:
  • overall excellence in presentation and scholarship 
  • importance relative to other literature in the field 
  • distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form 
  • originality or uniqueness of treatment 
  • value to undergraduate students 
  • importance in building undergraduate library collections

The Phenomenological Mind has also been translated into Danish, Hungarian, Italian, and Japanese. Spanish and Korean translations are forthcoming.

Dr. Roche Presenting on Aristotle
Professor Tim Roche was invited by the Catholic University of Louvain, in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, to deliver a presentation on Aristotle's discussion of pleasure in Book X of the Nicomachean Ethics. While there, Roche also participated in a workshop on Aristotle on Pleasure along with eighteen other researchers from around the world. The event took place February 13-February 17, 2013.
Dr. Gallagher Keynote Speaker

Shaun Gallagher gave the The UNESCO Philosophy Day Public Lecture and the Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium Keynote Address at the 8th Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium. University of West Indies. Barbados (15 November 2012). The title of his lecture was "Where to look for your body." 

Schizophrenia Workshop

The Department of Philosophy, with support from the Humboldt Foundation Anneliese Maier Research Award, sponsored an international and interdisciplinary workshop on Schizophrenia: Levels of Interpretation which took place on October 25-26, 2012. The workshop was organized by Prof. Shaun Gallagher, the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence. Featured speakers included Jorge Dávila (Psychiatry, Universidad Nacional – Bogotá, Colombia), George Graham (Philosophy, Georgia State University), John Lysaker (Philosophy, Emory University), Paul Lysaker (Psychiatry, Indiana University), Albert Newen (Philosophy, Bochum University), Jean-Michel Roy (Philosophy/Cognitive Science, ENS, Lyon), Michael Schwartz (Psychiatry, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Medicine), Anna Strasser (School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University, Berlin), Somogy Varga (Philosophy, University of Memphis), Gottfried Vosgerau (Philosophy, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf), Osborne Wiggins (Philosophy, University of Louisville). Program and more information to the workshop webpage here.

Dr. Gallagher's Humboldt Foundation Award

Prof. Shaun Gallagher, the Lillian and Morrie Moss Professor of Philosophy, was one of seven researchers in humanities and social sciences awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on September 13, 2012 in a ceremony at the University of Heidelberg. The award was presented by Dr. Annette Schavan, Germany’s Minister of Education. This new 5-year Humboldt Fellowship was awarded for the first time this year. It is designed to promote the internationalization of the humanities and social sciences in Germany. The award amount of EUR 250,000 will be used to support research collaborations between the University of Memphis and the Ruhr University, Bochum, in Germany, including short-term research visits by Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers at both institutions. Researchers are nominated by collaborative partners at German universities and research institutions.

The other six award winners were Katharina Boele-Woelki from the Netherlands one of Europe's leading researchers on international and comparative family law; James Conant a philosopher at the University of Chicago, medievalist historian Patrick Geary from the Institute for Advanced Research, Princeton University; social psychologist Michele Gelfand from the University of Maryland, Australian linguist Nicholas Evans, and anthropologist of religion, Birgit Meyer from the Netherlands. The awards are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and named after the philosopher and historian of science Anneliese Maier (1905 in Tübingen, Germany - 1971 in Rome, Italy) who conducted research on the emergence of modern scientific thought from the 14th to 18th centuries, particularly in the natural sciences.

Humboldt Award Ceremony 

At the award ceremony in Heidelberg, L to R: Annette Schavan, Minister of Education, Prof. Shaun Gallagher, Prof. Albert Newen from Ruhr University, Bochum, and Dr. Helmut Schwarz, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Professor Deborah Tollefsen's new book Groups as Agents has been published with Polity. Professor Tollefsen offers a survey of contemporary philosophers' answers to questions about group minds, collective intentionality, and moral and legal responsibilities of groups. She argues that certain groups should be treated as agents and deserve to be held morally accountable.
Current Issues
  Sophia - Spring 2013
  SJP News - Fall 2012
Past Issues
  SJP News - Spring 2011
  Sophia - Fall 2010
  SJP News - Spring 2010
  Sophia - Fall 2009
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