Departmental Newsletter: May 2023

In March 2023, several Duke undergraduates presented original research papers at the North Carolina Philosophical Society. The papers reflect a robust range of philosophical interests among our undergraduate students: Confucian Democracy, the ethics of organ procurement, Nietzsche, reparations for African Americans, and images of love in Shakespeare. We have compiled some of those papers into an undergraduate proceedings, which you can download here:

David Wong 2020 Dean of Excellence in Mentoring

David Wong will deliver a keynote address ("On Not Following the Leader in Zhuangzi") at the OZSW Annual Conference (Dutch Research School of Philosophy Meetings—their equivalent of the APA) on June 2, 2023. On June 16, he will deliver "The Open Text of the Zhuangzi" at the conference "Dialogues on States of the Field: Ethics in the Zhuangzi."

Nina Van Rooy

Nina Van Rooy has been invited to give a talk at the Graduate Student Panel in Philosophy and Neuroscience at Yale on 14-15 June! The title of Nina's talk is "Do Large Language Models have Theory of Mind?"

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

Caleb Hazelwood's paper, "Newton's 'Law-First' Epistemology and 'Matter-First' Metaphysics," has been accepted for publication in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. This article began as a term paper in Katherine Brading's seminar on natural philosophy from Descartes to Kant. It explores the relationship of ontological dependence between Newton's laws of motion and the physical "bodies" that they govern.

Faculty - Concordia University

Alumni alert! Professor Jing Hu (PhD 2017, advised by David Wong and Owen Flanagan) has just received tenure at Concordia University.

Katherine Brading and Qiu Line

This month, alumni Qiu Lin (Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University) and Kobi Finestone (Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University) were officially in-doctor-nated at their hooding ceremony! Pictured above are Qiu and Katherine Brading. Pictured below are Kobi and Kevin Hoover.

Kobi Finestone and Kevin Hoover

On May 9th, Katherine hosted an end-of-year departmental party! A few pictures of the festivities are shared below.

Ben playing football with philosophers in training
Rumor has it that Ben Eva has left the departmental football club, MindBall, and will join a club in an advanced league (pictured above).
KB and AJ in the foreground.
Reuben, Felipe, Shanna, Kevin R., Laura
Reuben has fallen victim to an occupational hazard: getting lost in deep thought during conversations at parties.
Jenn and Shanna speaking with an adorable partygoer.
Future philosophers deep in discussion.
Philosophers in training.

Ask Tayfun, Or Don’t: The (Unsolicited™) Advice Column

Trustworthy Tayfun

This month I have some unasked-for advice for Ben Eva concerning how to get rich quick. The first step is to master econometrics, the art of using an econometer to measure how valuable things are. Otherwise, things can get confusing—as Fred Dretske warns, “Although few will venture to market in a tornado, wind velocity is not, for that reason alone, an economic variable.” (Contrastive Statements, p. 422). Next, practice the one true tenet of economics, demand: always demand money. Nowadays you hear people speak of “supply and demand”, but I suspect this was mistranscribed from “supplicate and demand (money)”.

If you have a question for Tayfun for the next newsletter, please send it to though you may get some advice even if you don't.