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Ergo | Spring 2016

Graduate Program News

There is lots of news from our graduate program. 

Mike Riccardi and Gary Shipley each recently earned a master's degree from our department, under the supervision of John Nolt and Richard Aquila respectively. Matt Ruble earned a doctorate after completing his dissertation under the supervision of Adam Cureton; Matt secured employment at Appalachian State University. Congratulations to Mike, Gary, and Matt! Many thanks also to Markus Kohl (placement officer for 2014-15) and Clerk Shaw (placement officer for 2015-16) for their extensive ongoing efforts to help our students with their job searches.

In 2015 Alex Richardson was reelected to a second year as president of the Philosophy Graduate Student Association, Jordan Baker and Michael Ball-Blakely were elected as graduate student representatives to the faculty, and Naomi Rinehold was elected as departmental representative to the Graduate Student Senate (with Trevor Hedberg elected as alternate). We are grateful to all for their ongoing service to the department.

This past fall we welcomed three new students into our graduate program. Elizabeth Williams, who completed a bachelor's degree right here at the University of Tennessee, joined our master's program. Clayton Carden, who holds a master's degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree from Centre College, and Donnie Barnett, whose bachelor's degree is from East Tennessee State University, joined our doctoral program. Caroline Mobley, who was already enrolled in our master's program, switched over to the doctoral program. We're excited to have Elizabeth, Clayton, and Donnie in the department, and we're very happy that Caroline will be around for a longer time!

Our graduate students continue to do excellent work in the classroom, serving both as teaching assistants for our larger undergraduate courses and as individual instructors with classes of their own. Kyle Chapel and Naomi Rinehold were acknowledged for their outstanding work when they shared the 2015 John Hardwig Prize. During the 2015-16 school year we built on these successes with a new series of workshops related to teaching. Workshops on inclusivity and accessibility were organized by the Philosophy Graduate Student Association, while a workshop about how best to teach PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy was led by none other than the inimitable Professor Hardwig himself.

Our graduate students also continue to produce excellent written work, both in connection with program requirements and in the larger world of professional philosophy: Osup Kwon earned the 2015 Richard Aquila Prize for his outstanding "Arguing Against Kolodny"; Marlin Sommers and Eddy Falls were runners-up for their respective essays, "Can Character Intellectualist Virtues Be Reliabilist Virtues?" and "An Argument in the First Analogy". Marlin and Osup followed up those impressive showings by winning again in the 2016 Aquila Prize competition; this time around Marlin took top honors for his essay "Locke on the Possibility of a Material Mind", while Osup earned runner-up position for his essay "What Does It Take to Reduce Safety to Ability?"

Devon Bryson presented a paper "Defending Ginet's Noncausal Account of Reasons-Explanation" at the Central APA meeting this spring. 

Nolan Hatley presented his paper "Nietzsche's Abolition of the Appearance/Reality Distinction and the Overturning of Platonism in Twilight of the Idols" at the Spring 2016 Long Island Philosophical Society meeting, immediately after successfully defending his dissertation, entitled "Anthropocentrism and the Long-Term: Nietzsche as an Environmental Thinker." 

Trevor Hedberg, himself a past recipient of the Aquila Prize, recently had three essays accepted for publication: "Animals, Relations, and the Laissez-Faire Intuition" will appear in the journal Environmental Values; "Optimizing Hope" has appeared in a volume entitled Ecology, Ethics, and Hope, edited by Andrew Brei; and "Unraveling the Asymmetry in Procreative Ethics" has been accepted for publication in the APA Newsletter for Philosophy and Medicine.   Hedberg also was a finalist this year for the prestigious Newcomb Fellowship. 

Jordan Baker's paper "Rejecting Pereboom's Empirical Objection to Agent-causation" has been accepted for publication in Synthese.

Finally, Eddy Falls's essay "Tsongkhapa and the Myth of the Given" is forthcoming in the Journal of Buddhist Philosophy.
Congratulations to all of the above, as well as the many other students who submitted fine essays and who presented their work at conferences and other venues during the past year.

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