Departmental Newsletter: March 2023

Michael, Caleb, and Qiu at &HPS9 in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Duke HPS gang is at it again! Michael Veldman, Caleb Hazelwood, and recent graduate Qiu Lin (who has just accepted an assistant professorship at Simon Fraser University!) gave talks at the 9th Conference on Integrated History and Philosophy of Science. They presented papers on Euler, Newton, and Du Châtelet, respectively. They are now accepting submissions for a catchier group name. Options currently under consideration are the Brading Bunch (for obvious reasons) and the Klepto-Janiaks (because they'll steal your heart with their incisive interpretations of historical texts).

Participants in the 2023 du Chatelet Prize Workshop

Speaking of history and philosophy of science, Duke University hosted the annual Du Châtelet Prize in Philosophy of Physics Workshop on March 28-29. The topic of this year’s prize was “Descartes’s Metaphysical Physics”, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Dan Garber’s highly influential book of the same title. 

Winner of the 2023 du Chatelet Prize, Ovidiu Babeș, with Katherine Brading

The workshop celebrated the winner of the 2022 Du Châtelet Prize, Ovidiu Babeș (pictured above with organizer Katherine Brading), and his paper, "Mixed Mathematics and Metaphysical Physics: Descartes and the Mechanics of the Flow of Water." 

Laura Soter

Laura Soter has just accepted a job offer! After one more year of doing postdoctoral research with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Laura will begin as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at York University. Congratulations, Laura!

Graduate student Michael Veldman

Michael Veldman has been invited to contribute a chapter to a new volume on Émilie Du Châtelet. His paper will be about her Dissertation on the nature and propagation of fire, which he first translated into English for a seminar on Du Châtelet taught last Spring by Katherine Brading and Andrew Janiak. The volume will feature papers that were given at a recent workshop on Du Châtelet and Kant at the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists in Paderborn, Germany. 

Ting Fung Ho standing by a window with a cityscape in the background.

Ting Fung Ho will present his research on mindfulness and well-being (tentatively entitled "The Healing Power of Meditative Experience") at Rutgers-New Brunswick in April. This will also be Ting's first time receiving an honorarium for giving talks!

Maria and Nina

Nina Van Rooy will present a poster on non-human cognitive ontologies at the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) in Pittsburgh this June.

Duke Philosophy welcomes new faculty member, Benjamin Eva

Ben Eva's paper, "Comparative Learning," has been accepted for publication in Philosophy of Science! This paper concerns the diachronic rationality norms for comparative confidence judgements, i.e., judgements of the form "I am at least as confident in p as I am in q." Specifically, it identifies, characterizes, and evaluates an intuitively compelling learning rule called "comparative conditionalization" that specifies how agents should revise their comparative confidence judgements in the face of novel evidence.

Caleb Hazelwood leaning against a fence in a button-down shirt.

Caleb Hazelwood has been invited to speak at three upcoming meetings: the Consortium for the History and Philosophy of Biology (May 10-11 at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), the Australia-New Zealand Philosophy of Biology Workshop (June 21-23 at Australian National University), and "Evolvability: A Bridge Between the Proximate and the Ultimate?" (June 26-28, also at ANU). 

The Fez Says: An Ill-Advised Advice Column

Trustworthy Tayfun

For reasons entirely unclear to the editorial staff of the departmental newsletter, no one has sought Tayfun's advice this month. Therefore, in lieu of an advice column, we leave you with a photo of Tayfun channeling Paula Abdul at a recent karaoke-themed birthday party for Adrienne Duke. 

Tayfun cosplaying as Paula Abdul (and pulling it off).

If you have a question for Tayfun for a future issue of the newsletter, please send it to