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Lawlor Essay on Bergson selected for anniversary issue of the Journal for the British Society for Phenomenology

Leonard Lawlor’s 2004 essay, “What Immanence? What Transcendence? The Prioritization of Intuition over Language in Bergson” has been selected for republication in the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology’s 50th year anniversary issue. Lawlor joins a prestigious list of contributors to the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology: Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, Gadamer, Sartre, and Nancy.

Here is the link to the issue:

Durmus Takes Tenure Track Position at John Carroll University

Deniz Durmus, who will receive her PhD in Philosophy and Women's Studies this summer, has accepted a tenure track position at John Carroll University in Ohio and will join their faculty in the fall of 2015.

Tuana Wins NSF Grant to Support Research Network

“Embedding Philosophy in Climate Modeling and Decision Support”

Nancy Tuana is Co-Principle Investigator for a multi-institution research network on Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM) strategies.  The network is supported by an $11.9 million award from the National Science Foundation.  Led by geoscientist Klaus Keller and centered at Penn State, SCRiM links a transdisciplinary team of scholars at 19 universities and 5 research institutions across 6 nations to answer the question, “What are sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate risk management strategies?”

The SCRiM goal of identifying sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, economically efficient, and ethically defensible climate risk management strategies requires attention to value decisions in order to ensure that the work of the network is both epistemically and ethically responsible.  The network is committed to both conducting the natural and social scientific assessments required to assure epistemically responsible and ethically defensible geoengineering research and policy strategies, and determining how tradeoffs among mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering can be made through science and policy procedures that are ethically and epistemically responsible.  As most approaches to these tradeoff decisions do not make the coupled ethical-scientific considerations transparent, this project adds an important and unique dimension to the research of the SCRiM network.

The central focus of Tuana’s research is to identify coupled ethical-epistemic issues relevant to climate risk management strategy development. As coupled ethical-epistemic issues are a cross-cutting theme of SCRiM, this project includes the identification of new areas of concern as well as the identification of new or refined scientific questions triggered by coupled ethical-epistemic assessments. 

For more information about SCRiM see


Moore joins Penn State Philosophy Faculty

The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce that Christopher Moore will be joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor.

Christopher works in the areas of ancient philosophy, aesthetics, the history of ethics, and democratic theory.  He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and received his PhD from the University of Minnesota.  In addition to Penn State, Christopher has taught at Skidmore College and the University of Texas at Austin.

Christopher’s book, Socrates and Self-Knowledge, will come out Fall 2015 from Cambridge University Press. With an Italian colleague he is completing a comprehensive edited collection on the so-called “Socratic literature” for Brill, attending to representations of Socratic philosophy in the millennium from Old Comedy till Late Antiquity. With an American colleague he has translated and is writing the first complete English commentary on Plato’s Charmides.

Next spring he will be a Junior Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies to complete a book on the origins of the Greek word philosophos. He has on-going projects on Heraclitus; Xenophon; ancient persuasion; Plato’s Phaedrus; and contemporary philosophical inquiries into self-knowledge, self-constitution, and the literary depictions of friendship.

Ryan Pollock wins Alumni Dissertation Award

Ryan Pollock, a sixth year graduate student in the department of philosophy, was recently awarded the Alumni Association Dissertation Award. The university wide award, which is accompanied by a generous endowment by the Alumni Association, recognizes “outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment” by a doctoral student who is in his or her final year of study.

His dissertation, entitled “The Party of Humankind”: Sociality and Moral Revision in David Hume, defends Hume’s sentimentalist moral theory from the charge that it is incapable of critiquing status quo moral attitudes (even when those attitudes seemingly arise from unreflective prejudice or bias). Ryan argues that Hume believes we should revise our “catalogue of virtues” (or the set of character traits that we find praiseworthy) when that catalogue fails to represent what we find best about human nature. Specifically, the need for revision is present when our feelings of moral approval and disapproval are not the product of human sociability or the aspects of our nature which drive us to connect with others. He contends that this account has significant ramifications for how we should view Hume’s explanation of moral judgment, his theory of justice, and forces us to reconsider the conservative aspects of Hume’s thought.

Ryan was also recognized for his teaching in 2014 when he received the Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. This recognition is given out annually to the best graduate assistant teachers across all departments at Penn State. Having successfully defended his dissertation, Ryan intends to graduate this coming May.