Departmental Newsletter: November 2022

Duke's first female philosophy professor, Katherine Gilbert

Meet Katherine Gilbert, the first woman to be named full professor at Duke University. Wenjin Liu and Wayne Norman have been researching the history of our department, and their discoveries include Gilbert, who began teaching philosophy at Duke in 1930 and went on to found the Department of Aesthetics, Art, and Music. More of Wenjin's and Wayne's discoveries will follow.

Graduate student Dylan Brown

Dylan Brown is first author on a paper that was just accepted for publication at Ethics and Information Technology. In "Digital Temperance: Adapting an Ancient Virtue for a Technological Age," Dylan and his colleagues reexamine historical accounts of the virtue of temperance, and they repurpose the virtue to address emerging concerns about digital technology overuse.

Professor Alex Rosenberg

Alex Rosenberg traveled to NY to be interviewed for the next season of the long running series “Closer to Truth." The subject was the philosophy of biology, on which the next season’s programs will focus, with interviews of all the usual suspects. Alex also gave a talk on “Whether there are successful arguments in philosophy” at the Rutgers University Philosophy Department's conference in honor of the 80th birthday of (Duke department member) Peter Van Inwagen.

Felipe receiving his award

Felipe De Brigard was awarded the Early Career Award by the Psychonomics Society 63rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

Yuan Dong, Botian Liu, Elaine Chen, Sally Huang, and Emily Kluge have formed a Chinese Philosophy Journal Research Group. They have had several sessions so far, and if anyone else is interested, they can contact the group members. Everyone is expected to contribute approximately once per month, giving a half-hour presentation on their research into the recent developments and trends in Chinese philosophy. Previous knowledge of Chinese philosophy is not required, only an enthusiastic attitude and willingness to engage in cooperative exploration. In the new year, they will begin a group study of classical Chinese with the aid of a qualified tutor. If you wish to join them in working through selections from early texts, some familiarity with modern or classical Chinese will be beneficial, but all are welcome.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Qiu LIn

MAD Lab took a fun road trip to Cornell for MPRG, where Walter met with alumna Qiu Lin! Also, some new publications this month:

  • Andreas Kappes, Hazem Zohny, Julian Savulescu, Ilina Singh, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Dominic Wilkinson, Race and resource allocation: An online survey of US and UK adults’ attitudes towards COVID-19 ventilator and vaccine distribution. British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open 2022; 12:e062561. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2022-062561
  • Claire Simmons, Paul McKee, Imad Antonios, Anna Smith, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, “Bad dream frequency predicts mental health needs during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic”, Journal of Affective Disorders Reports (2022), doi:
  • Ari Khoudary, Eleanor Hanna, Vijeth Iyengar, Scott Clifford, Felipe De Brigard, Roberto Cabeza, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, “The Neural Bases of Moral Foundations”, Social Neuroscience.

Graduate student Ben Sarbey

Ben Sarbey was interviewed on the definition of death for the Vox Unexplainable podcast. The episode gives an overview of the history of definitions of death and discusses recent work by Sarbey and Nita Farahany on legal criteria for death in the U.S.

Graduate student Michael Veldman

Michael Veldman will present his paper, "Seeing Du Châtelet’s Methodology by the Light of the Dissertation on Fire," at the Paderborn Workshop on Du Châtelet and Kant (Feb 9-10). He will also present his paper, "What kinds of causes are forces?: Euler’s line of separation between metaphysics and mechanics," at &HPS9 (the ninth conference for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science, March 16-18).

Graduate student Caleb Hazelwood

Caleb Hazelwood will also present his paper, "Newton's Solution to the Problem of Bodies," at &HPS9 (the ninth conference for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science).


Ásta will be the Bodaken lecturer at Colorado State University from November 30th to December 3rd.

Hazelwood, Jhun, Lin, Janiak, Veldman, Brading, and Ramsey

Duke Philosophy had a strong showing at this year's meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. The session on Du Châtelet organized by alumna Qiu Lin (including Andrew Janiak and Katherine Brading) won the Women's Caucus Prize. Michael Veldman, Caleb Hazelwood and Jenn Jhun also gave talks, and they ran into former Duke PhD student Grant Ramsey.

The Philosophy of Physics Society has launched a new journal (aptly named Philosophy of Physics). David Wallace is Editor-in-Chief, and Hans Halvorson and Katherine Brading are the Associate Editors. Philosophy of Physics is an open access journal publishing the best work in all areas of the philosophy of physics. It aims to be a flagship journal for the field and to span the various different axes of philosophy of physics: metaphysical, historical, mathematical, practice-oriented, and more. Publication of accepted articles is free and authors retain copyright under a Creative Commons license.

Philosophers watching the World Cup

Philosophers in the wild: watching England play Wales as the USA played Iran in the World Cup. Cheers could be heard echoing from the departmental lounge from time to time.

Ask Tayfun: The Ill-Advised Advice Column

Tayfun tells all

Caleb asks how he might organize his desk better. As Donald Davidson once wrote: “Surely knives and forks, railroads and mountains, cabbages and kingdoms also need organizing” (On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme, p. 15). So I do not know why Caleb is so fixated on his desk.

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