News

Senior majors awarded Honors

The Department of Philosophy awarded Honors in Philosophy in May to senior majors Juliana Clifton, '17, and Alec McConnell, '17. Departmental honors in philosophy are awarded to graduating seniors who satisfy the following two criteria: (a) at the start of their final semester, their overall GPA is 3.25 or higher and their GPA in philosophy is 3.5 or higher, and (b) their senior thesis receives an A from the thesis advisor and then is judged by the whole department faculty to be well-researched, well-argued, well-organized, well-written, and to exhibit original philosophical thinking.

Juliana, who was a double major in Philosophy and Earth and Environmental Science, wrote her senior thesis, which was supervised by  Professor Roslyn Weiss, on "Respect for Nature: Seeing Nature as Intrinsically Valuable."  Alec's thesis on "What is a Good Working Life?", which was supervised by Professor Robin Dillon, combined issues from his two majors, Philosophy and Economics.

Juliana was also the '16-'17 President of the Lehigh Alpha Beta chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the international Philosophy Honor Society; Alec was the '16-'17 PST Vice President.

Bearn receives CAS award

At the annual College of Arts and Sciences faculty awards dinner on March 30, 2017, Gordon Bearn was awarded a Schaufeld Award for Advising Excellence. This award recognizes extraordinary efforts in undergraduate student advising.  Bearn is known for working with students outside the classroom as well as inside, and within the department he advises half of the majors and he regularly advises at least one senior thesis student, and has advised as many as three theses in one year. Bearn regularly advises independent student projects and is advisor to the undergraduate philosophy club.

The Schaufeld Awards for Advising Excellence are made possible through the generosity of Lehigh alums Fred and Karen Schaufeld.  Fred is class of 1981 and Karen is Class of 1983.  Karen holds a B.A. in English and Government, serves as a member of the college’s dean’s advisory council, and is a trustee to the university.

New faculty member to join Philosophy Department

The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce that Patrick Connolly will join the Philosophy faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He was hired after an international search for a philosopher with a specialization in early modern philosophy and competence in at least one other historical period of philosophy.  Professor Connolly's primary research interests are in the history of philosophy with specific focus on John Locke, Isaac Newton, and questions about the relationship between philosophy and science in early modern Britain. In particular, his work on Locke focuses primarily on Locke's theory of ideas and on the way in which his scientific commitments were governed by a particular form of epistemic humility. Professor Connolly's work on Newton focuses primarily on his metaphysics and his views on the ontological status of absolute space and finite substances.  In addition to early modern philosophy, Connolly lists medieval philosophy, Kant, and applied ethics as areas of research and teaching interest. Connolly, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Iowa State University, earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a dissertation entitled "Causation and Scientific Explanation in Locke," and his MA at UNC with a thesis on "Locke's Ideational Account of Causation." He received his B.A. from Georgetown University in 2007, graduating magna cum laude with honors in Philosophy and in History.

Professor Connolly has an impressive list of publications.  Among his recent articles are “The Idea of Power and Locke’s Taxonomy of Ideas,” forthcoming in Australasian Journal of Philosophy; “Locke and the Methodology of Newton’s Principia,” forthcoming in Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie;  “Locke, Pyrard, and Coconuts: Travel Literature as Natural History,” forthcoming in Rebuilding Babel: Constructing Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences, eds. J.T.A. Lancaster and R. Raiswell (Leiden: Brill); “Maclaurin on Occasionalism: A Reply to Ablondi” Journal of Scottish Philosophy (2016) 14(1): 125-135; “Locke and the Laws of Nature,” Philosophical Studies (2015) 172(10): 2551-2564; “Lockean Superaddition and Lockean Humility,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (2015) 51: 53-6; and “Space Before God? A Problem in Newton’s Metaphysics” Philosophy (2015)  90(1): 83-106. Connolly has also presented academic papes at nearly 30 national and international conferences, workshops, colloquia, and seminars. Of particular note are presentations at each of the three divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association.

Professor Connolly is currently co-President of the Iowa Philosophical Society and is a founding member of the newly created John Locke Society. He is the recipient of a number of research grants, including a UNC Medieval and Early Modern Studies Research Award for research on Locke manuscripts in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, and a Mellon Fellowship for Early Modern English Paleography Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library .

Professor Connolly, whose teaching at Iowa State and UNC has included courses in medieval philosophy, moral theory and practice, mathematetical logic, the ethics of peace, war, and defense, philoosphy or religion, and bioethics, will be teaching PHIL 105 Ethics and PHIL 116 Bioethics in the fall, and PHIL 135 Modern Philosophy in the spring.

The Lehigh Philosophy faculty is looking forward with pleasure to having Professor Connolly join the department!

 

 

Mark Bickhard on scary political parallels

Professor Mark Bickhard, who had been reading biographies of Mussolini during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, recently published as essay on "Scary Parallels Between Trump and Mussolini." The essay can be accessed here

While acknowledging differences in historical circumstances, Professor Bickhard focuses on comparing Trump and Mussolini in terms of character and style, and finds the similarities frighteningly strong, which, he maintains, gives some guidance concerning future concerns. This comparison is based primarily on quotations from Mussolini by R.J.B. Bosworth (Bloomsbury, 2010) and from Giuseppe Finaldi's Mussolini and Italian Fascism (Routledge, 2008). Bickhard notes that both books were published years before similarities between Trump and Mussolini became politically relevant, and, thus, were not written with Trump in mind. Bickard's comparison focuses in particular on similarities regarding arrogant ignorance and incoherence, nepotism, pervasive contempt, and the exploitation of ultra-nationalism/alt-right movements. The essay ends with attention to Trump's attacks on central institutions of American democracy--the judiciary, the press, and moves to undermine and take over the institutions of public safety--as “enemies of the people,” which Bickhard notes "has a horrible and horribly dangerous historical background." The scary paralles lead Bickhard to conclude that "We live in dangerous times."

2017-18 Writing Fellowship

Philosophy Writing Residence Fellowship

The Philosophy Department at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, invites applications for a one-semester (Fall or Spring) residency during 2017-18 for a philosopher who is completing a book manuscript. The book should be already under way and nearing completion. Preference will be given to early career applicants. The appointment as a University Research Fellow carries a stipend of $10,000. The successful candidate will have no teaching duties but will be expected to be in residence in the Philosophy Department for the duration of the fellowship. Office space and library access provided. No benefits; the Fellow must have their own health insurance.

Applications must include: (1) a letter of application, indicating which semester of 2017-18 is preferred; (2) a cv; (3) a description of the book project including both a table of contents and a work plan; (4) one completed chapter; and (5) one letter of recommendation from a philosopher who is well-acquainted with the project and can comment both on its quality and on the likelihood of its being completed during the semester in question.          

The Lehigh Philosophy Department is home to a collegial, eclectic group of active scholars who are committed to supporting and engaging with the scholarship of others. We host an international conference every fall and a renowned visiting scholar in residence for a week every spring. We also hold a weekly Philosophy Faculty Seminar each semester and will welcome the Fellow’s participation.

Lehigh University is a premier residential research university, ranked in the top tier of national research universities.  A selective, coeducational, nondenominational, private university, Lehigh offers a distinct academic environment in four colleges to about 7000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the globe. The University is located in eastern Pennsylvania’s scenic Lehigh Valley on a campus of 6,000 acres in close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia.  Pennsylvania requires that employees at educational institutions pass background checks.

Deadline for receipt of application: April 1, 2017. Applications will be accepted only online at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/fellowship/8879. Applicants will be notified of search results by May 15, 2017.

Professors Roslyn Weiss and John Gillroy profiled in recent Lehigh publications

Acumen, the newsmagazine of the College of Arts and Sciences, whose mission is "to share the vitality and breadth of scholarship within the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University," recently profiled philosophy professors Roslyn Weis and John Gillroy.  A story in the Spring '16 issue featured Professor Weiss 's current research project, for which she was awarded an NEH Fellowship last year--a translation of Light of the Lord, by Hasdai Crescas, a 400-page 14th-century work that is a critical piece in medieval Jewish philosophy.  The Fall '16 issue highlighted Professor John Gillroy's work on the philosophical roots of international law.

Ricki Bliss on Humboldt Fellowship in Germany during AY 16-17.

For the academic year 2016-17, Professor Bliss will be on sabbatical.  During this time she will be a visiting research fellow at the University of Hamburg, Germany on a generous research grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  The project for which she has received this grant is entitled ‘Reality and its Metaphysical Structure’.  Although much philosophical attention is presently being paid to notions of metaphysical structure and fundamentality, the contemporary literature has proceeded with an almost surprising ignorance of the place these notions have had in the history of the tradition.  Great thinkers such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume have all developed world-views that make use of notions of ontological dependence and fundamentality, for example.  Moreover, to date, the contemporary literature has been surprisingly conservative - the standard view is very much that there is a fundamental level of reality that gives rise to a derivative metaphysical super-structure.  Professor Bliss’ research project aims to explore alternatives to the standard view, drawing particularly on historical sources.

Senior philosophy major honored at Lehigh Honors Convocation

Senior Philosophy major Brandyn Bok '16 was selected to represent outstanding academic achievement in the College of Business and Economics, where he is also majoring in economics, by giving a speech at the 37th annual Honors Convocation on April 8. Brandyn, who is also pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering (which makes him a triple major, triple degree student), paid tribute to those people who made the achievments of all the outstanding students, saying  “it’s impossible to think about what we’ve achieved so far at Lehigh without the tenacious support all around us. So let’s take a moment to thank everyone that’s been an integral part in motivating us to be our best: parents, families, friends, professors, advisers, coaches, and everyone else. Thank you—for believing in us when we faced failure, for giving us guidance to face our multiple mid-life crises as college students, and for being hard on us when we weren’t living up to our potential. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you.”  Brandyn also received the Bill Hardy Memorial Prize and the Richard E. Johnson Economics Prize.

Brandyn has been the President of the Lehigh chapter of Phil Sigma Tau, the philosophy honor society. He is currently finishing his senior thesis on the material conditions necessary to enabel all people to live flourishing lives, a project which draws together his passions for philosophy and for economics.

Congratulation, Brandyn!

New faculty member joins Philosophy

Dr. Chad Kautzer joined the Lehigh Philosophy faculty this fall. He was hired after an international search for a specialist in Philosophy of Economics from a normative political and social perspective, with competence in either 19th Century Philosophy or Continental Philosophy. Dr. Kautzer received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2008 from Stony Brook University and was awarded tenure at UC Denver in 2015. Last year he was a Visiting Research Scholar in the Philosophy Department at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has twice held fellowships at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat in Germany. His specialization areas are Critical Theory; Philosophy of Law and Right; Social and Political Philosophy; Race and Gender Theory; Marxism; and Hegel. He has also published a number of papers on topics that are central to normative philosophy of economics.

Dr. Kautzer is the author of Radical Philosophy: An Introduction (Routledge, 2015) and co-editor of Pragmatisim, Nation, and Race: Community in the Age of Empire (Indiana University Press, 2009), as well as two dozen articles, book chapters, book reviews, and translations on a wide variety of topics. He is currently at work on a book on Hegel and an edited volume on environmental ethics.  He has maintained a very active presence at professional conferences, workshops, etc., giving nearly three dozen papers at national and international venues.

Professor Kautzer is also an outstanding teacher. He has taught at Stony Brook, the University of Colorado, Boulder (in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures), and UC Denver, and has twice received important teaching awards as well as an award for his outstanding advising.  He has taught a wide range of courses, engaging students in addressing an array of contemporary moral, social, and political problems concerning, for example, race, gender, the environment, and capitalism. While at UC Denver he was the director of the Social Justice Minor at UCD, for which he handled curricular matters and the recruitment and advising of students, developed public programming and community internships and service-learning opportunities for students, and raised $25,000 for an endowed Social Justice Minor Scholarship Fund.

This semester Dr. Kautzer is teaching a College Seminar on the Philosophy of Race and a 100-level course on Capitalism and the Philosophy of Economics.

The Lehigh Philosophy faculty is delighted to welcome Dr. Kautzer to the department!

Writing Fellowship

Philosophy Writing Residence Fellowship

 

The Philosophy Department at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, invites applications for a one-semester (Fall or Spring) residency during 2016-17 for a philosopher who is completing a book manuscript. The book should be already under way and nearing completion. The appointment as a University Research Fellow carries a stipend of $10,000. The successful candidate will have no teaching duties but will be expected to be in residence in the Philosophy Department for the duration of the fellowship. Office space and library access provided. No benefits; the Fellow must have their own health insurance.

 

Applications must include: (1) a letter of application, indicating which semester of 2016-17 is preferred; (2) a cv; (3) a description of the book project including both a table of contents and a work plan; (4) one completed chapter; and (5) one letter of recommendation from a philosopher who is well-acquainted with the project and can comment both on its quality and on the likelihood of its being completed during the semester in question.

           

The Lehigh Philosophy Department is home to a collegial, eclectic group of active scholars who are committed to supporting and engaging with the scholarship of others. We host an international conference every fall and a renowned visiting scholar in residence for a week every spring. We also hold a weekly Philosophy Faculty Seminar each semester and will welcome the Fellow’s participation. 

 

Lehigh University is a premier residential research university, ranked in the top tier of national research universities.  A selective, coeducational, nondenominational, private university, Lehigh offers a distinct academic environment in four colleges to about 7000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the globe. The University is located in eastern Pennsylvania’s scenic Lehigh Valley on a campus of 6,000 acres in close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia.

 

Deadline for receipt of application: April 1, 2016.  Submit materials online at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/7110. Applicants will be notified of search results by May 15, 2016.

Roslyn Weiss receives 3rd NEH Fellowship

Roslyn Weiss, Clara H. Stewardson Professor, received an NEH Fellowship for 2015-16 to translate Light of the Lord, by Hasdai Crescas. This massive 14th-Century work, only a few excerpts of which have thus far been translated into English, is a critical work in medieval Jewish Philosophy that challenges the fundamental assumptions of Aristotelian metaphysics, upon which many of the most prominent medieval Jewish, Muslim, and Christian philosophers and theologians constructed not only their view of the cosmos but also their conception of God and of God's relationship (or lack thereof) to the universe. Crescas replaces the God who is Intellect with a God of love and joy.

Professor Weiss previously received NEH Fellowships in 2010 and 1990. She was also awarded NEH Summer Stipends in 2015, 2007, 2001, and 1995.