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Ergo | Summer 2014

Graduate Program Update

The UT Philosophy Graduate Program remains strong and vibrant, thanks to the efforts of current Director Jon Garthoff.  The Department added two new components to the graduate program, effective with academic year 2014-2015.  The first is a dual degree JD/MA track coordinated with the UT College of Law.  The second is a five year BA/MA track within the Department.  Each enhances the range of professional and academic opportunities available to students serious about their work in Philosophy.

Within the graduate program, Amy Atnip completed her M.A. and Megan Beard Bungo, Jeff Cervantez, John McClellan and Roger Turner each earned their Ph.D. this past year.   Megan wrote on clinical bioethics with Emeritus Prof. John Hardwig.  Jeff wrote on Rawls and public reason with Prof. David Reidy.   John wrote on theistic skepticism and Roger wrote on the metaphysics of free will, both with Prof. EJ Coffman.   Megan took a teaching position at Alabama-Birmingham. Jeff has now started a tenure track position at Crafton Hills College in California; John has started a tenure track position at Carson Newman College, and Roger will spend the coming academic year as a lecturer with the Department.  Roger’s paper, “Truth and Moral Responsibility” will appear in New Advances in Causation, Agency and Moral Responsibility, with Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

ABD graduate student Matt Ruble will spend the summer of 2014 supported by a Prados Fund Summer Dissertation Fellowship; Matt’s dissertation focuses on the moral responsibility of psychopaths.  Matt presented work in progress this past year at a prestigious conference on philosophy and psychiatry at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University.   Graduate student Jeremy Makely won the 2014 John Hardwig Prize for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.  Graduate student Trevor Hedberg’s paper "Epistemic Supererogation and its Implications" was selected for the first annual Richard Aquila Essay Prize within the Department and was subsequently accepted for publication in Synthese.  The paper originated in a seminar with Prof. EJ Coffman.  Trevor also presented papers at UT-Chattanooga and at meetings of the International Society for Environmental Ethics.  And he was interviewed by KOPN 89.5FM, a Columbia, MO, radio station, about his research for a two part broadcast.

Graduate student Jordan Baker presented a paper on agent causation at the Free Will, Moral Responsibility and Agency Conference at Florida State University.  ABD graduate student Jason Fishel, currently a lecturer at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, presented papers to the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.  Graduate student Albert Hu took second place in the Aquila Essay Prize competition for a paper on free will and  presented a second paper on free will as part of the main program of the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association.  Graduate student Marlin Sommers shared with Albert second place in the Aquila Essay Prize competition for his essay on Plato’s Theaetetus and presented a paper on virtue epistemology to the Kentucky Philosophical Association.  Graduate student Lily Ying presented papers to the South Carolina Society for Philosophy, the Tennessee Philosophical Association, and at the University of Georgia Philosophy Conference.

In addition to all this off-campus activity, the Philosophy graduate students were generally very active on campus with the UT Philosophy Graduate Student Association, presenting works in progress and discussing issues or professional development. 

To this active group, the Department welcomes several new graduate students, each of whom will commence their studies in August, 2014.  Michael Ball-Blakely (M.S., University of Washington), Yuanyuan Liu (M.Phil., Renmin, and B.Phil., Shandong Normal, both China) and Eddy Falls (M.A., Wisconsin; Ph.D. [Religious Studies], Emory) will each begin work toward the Ph.D.  Caroline Mobley (B.A., Pepperdine) will begin work toward the M.A.

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