Our department was lucky enough to host David Danks for the last colloquium of the academic year. David is a professor of philosophy and data science at UC - San Diego, and spoke with us about the moral permissibility of deploying algorithms in decision-making that are intended to compensate for human cognitive, ethical, and social biases. David also was able to meet with the students' in Walter and Ben's seminar on the ethics of artificial intelligence. Fun was had by all… read more about Departmental Newsletter: April 2023 »

  Ben Sarbey Ben works on medical ethics, especially end-of-life ethics. “Sometimes I do this with my legal hat on, sometimes with my philosopher’s hat, optimally with both,” he says. Ben is specifically interested in what it means to “die well.” This involves exploring various issues such as how to define death, how to provide support for grieving loved ones, and the ethics of medically hastening death. “I like to think of this as building a philosophy of palliative care,” Ben… read more about Research Highlight »

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… read more about Departmental Newsletter: March 2023 »

This month, we hosted the Inaugural Duke-UNC Graduate Conference. The meeting was organized by Dylan Brown (Duke), Devin Lane (UNC), Ripley Stroud (UNC), Michael Veldman (Duke), and Aurora Yu (UNC). Several Duke philosophers gave talks: Tayfun Gür on "How to Think of Narrative Selves," Nina Van Rooy on "Non-Human Animal Cognitive Ontologies," Adrienne Duke on "Therapist Empathy in the Treatment of GAD PTSD," Botian Liu on "The Epistemic Irrationality of Racial Profiling," Dylan Brown on "Deadnaming and… read more about Departmental Newsletter: February 2023 »

A conference was held at Rutgers University to mark the occasion of Peter van Inwagen's 80th birthday. Peter has also published a new book, Being: A Study in Ontology, with Oxford University Press. “Truth has a healing component . . . It structures a narrative that helps us make sense of what happened.” Felipe De Brigard was recently interviewed by Trinity Communications on how to forgive in a politically polarized society. In the interview, Felipe discusses his ongoing… read more about Departmental Newsletter: January 2023 »

Long winter nights make for good reads. Duke publications from the fall and winter include attractions for readers of many interests.  For history buffs, there's new history of the American West and a timely assessment of economic sanctions. For politicos, there's a blueprint for protecting democracy and a study of the contributions of migrants to various cultures. Movie fans can read about the history of Asians in theater and cinema and a surprising look at the politics of Marvel movies. Many of the books,… read more about Warm Up With Winter Books From Duke Authors »

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. Dylan Brown is first author on a paper that was just accepted for publication at Ethics and Information Technology. In "Digital Temperance… read more about Departmental Newsletter: November 2022 »

The Department of Philosophy is sad to announce that professor emeritus David H. Sanford has passed away. A Duke faculty member since 1970, Sanford earned his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1966 and previously taught at Dartmouth College. He was widely known in the field for his work on causation and inference in "If P, Then Q: Conditionals and the Foundations of Reasoning," first published in 1989. He also wrote on induction, the logic of vagueness, among other things. Memorial posts at Daily Nous and Leiter Reports contain… read more about In Memoriam: David Sanford (1937-2022) »

When Ásta was a teenager, people always asked her if she was going to be an opera singer or an actress. It’s what happens when your father is a theater director. But the Icelandic philosopher was clear: “No,” she would say, “I’m going to be a farmer.” The dream began when the Reykjavik native worked on a small farm near Katla, an active volcano on the southern coast of Iceland. Ásta (Icelanders don’t use surnames) remembers it as gorgeous, surrounded by glaciers and the sea. She spent her days tending the 27 cows — they… read more about Duke’s 3 New Philosophers Help Make Sense of Our Lives »

The first round of University-Wide Collaboration Grants on Climate Change will fund eight Duke University faculty teams to lay the groundwork for new research on climate change and its impacts. The teams will investigate topics including planetary engineering, climate justice, low-carbon heating and cooling methods, lithium mining, agricultural histories, coastal resilience, and the impacts of extreme weather on forest ecosystems. One of the project teams – "Planetary Engineering, Planetary Ethics" – includes… read more about Eight Faculty Teams Awarded University-Wide Collaboration Grants on Climate Change »

One important academic lesson of the pandemic was that despite COVID restrictions, many Duke undergraduate students continued to conduct valuable research in collaboration with faculty members. This week, that research was showcased when three juniors were named Faculty Scholars, the university’s highest honor for students presented by faculty. The awards went to Patrick Duan, for research studying historical dynamics of racial and ethnic minorities; Jenny (Yijian) Huang, for developing new statistical methodology for… read more about Three Juniors Selected as Faculty Scholars for Excellence in Research »

A new program for Duke sophomores – which launched earlier this year – will include two Philosophy courses this fall: “The Good Life: Religion, Philosophy, and Life’s Ultimate Concerns” (PHIL 214) and “Science and Society” (PHIL 280S). The two courses are part of the new “Transformative Ideas” program that is designed to promote open and civil cross-disciplinary dialogue on questions and big ideas that change lives, link cultures and shape societies around the world. “The Good Life” – taught by instructors from Philosophy… read more about Philosophy Courses Among Fall “Transformative Ideas” Offerings »

From China to modern Palestine, from Renaissance Europe to Reagan’s America of the 1980s, new books by Duke faculty will take you on a fascinating journey through time and space. We present a selection of books published in late 2021. Many of the books, including new editions of previous titles, can be found on the “Duke Authors” display shelves near the circulation desk in Perkins Library. Some are available as e-books for quick download. Most can also be purchased through the Gothic Bookshop. [Duke Today will… read more about Dance, Spirituality and Black Art: Books by Duke Authors Warm This Winter  »

Qiu Lin won the award for “Wang Daiyu 王岱舆 (1570-1660) on the Non-Ultimate ( wuji ⽆极) and the Great-Ultimate ( taiji 太极): an Islamic Makeover”. Here is an abstract of the paper: Scholars have written much about the Catholic missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) and his attempts to make Christianity and Confucianism palatable to each other. Yet, although Muslim communities have a long-established presence in China, we know little about the philosophical system that blended Islam and Confucianism in the heart-minds of… read more about Duke Philosophy Ph.D Candidate, Qiu Lin, wins 2021 Aristotle Prize »