Message from the Chair
Dear Philosophy Graduates, Parents, Family Members of our Graduates, and Friends:
For us in Philosophy, the highlight of the academic year is to see our graduating majors, MA students, and PhD students receive their degrees at our wonderful graduation ceremony in May. Unfortunately, because of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, this year we cannot have a face-to-face, on-campus commencement. Instead, we are celebrating our graduates' accomplishments on our 2020 graduation webpage.
This is not going to be the new "normal" but only a temporary change from our common practice. I invite all of you to come back to Boulder for a physical ceremony on our beautiful campus, which will take place when the virus is under control. With good luck, this will be around one year from now, and I hope to see all of you then face-to-face.
In difficult times like these, it is worthwhile to look for something positive to hold onto. In this spirit, I offer you the following thought.
For quite some time, the humanities in general and philosophy in particular have not, in the political arena, enjoyed the level of appreciation they deserve. Public funding has instead been directed to STEM disciplines: Science, Technology, Economics, and Mathematics. These are viewed as areas that benefit society the most and offer students the best career opportunities.
While the importance of STEM is of course indisputable, I think it would be a mistake to think that the humanities are less important. After all, only the latter, and especially philosophy, equip students to think critically about the things that matter most in life. Philosophy, and the critical thinking skills its study teaches, are never more important than during a serious crisis of the kind we are experiencing now.
Perhaps, then, this is going to be a silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic.
The magnitude of the problems we are now facing--both medical and economic--will make it clear to everybody, including politicians and government officials, how important it is to reflect on our highest values and ultimate moral obligations. Perhaps the pendulum will start swinging back in the right direction: towards a recognition of the importance of the kind of wisdom that only the study of philosophy can teach. I believe, sooner or later, this will happen.
When the pandemic has ended, when jobs are being created again and our economy starts coming back, philosophy graduates-because they excel as critical thinkers-will be needed more than ever before. Therefore, your education will pay dividends and will serve you well throughout your life. Whether you will go on to graduate school in philosophy, or go to law school, or embark on a career in health care, business, or politics, you will have an excellent foundation to face the challenges you will certainly encounter.
Congratulations on a job well done, and good luck to all of you!
- Matthias Steup, Department Chair
Remarks from Garrett Bredeson, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Remarks from Department faculty
Graduating Undergraduates Spring 2020
Young Mi Cho
Graduating Undergraduates Fall 2019
Graduating Undergraduates Summer 2020
History of Philosophy Essay Prize
The History of Philosophy Essay Prize is awarded to the best undergraduate essay submitted on any topic in the area of history of philosophy (where the history of philosophy is understood as including figures, texts, topics, and debates prior to 1950). This year's winner is Alison Weinberger for her paper “Correlation is not Causation: Understanding the Scope of Aristotle’s Teleology in Light of Physics II 8". This essay carefully examines Aristotle’s argument for the existence of final causes in Physics II 8; Weinberger argues against a broad interpretation of Aristotle’s teleology which holds that Aristotle thinks that all regularly occurring natural phenomena are to be explained in terms of final causes (they happen “for an end”). Instead, she argues that Aristotle is better interpreted as holding that, for a natural phenomenon to be finally caused, it must necessarily but not sufficiently exhibit regularity. This narrow scope for teleology is better able to handle the damaging objections which can be raised against the broader interpretation.
Morris Judd Essay Prize
The Morris Judd Undergraduate Essay Prize is awarded to the best undergraduate essay submitted on any topic in the values area. This year's winner is Kelly Dinneen for her paper “On the Uniqueness of Epistemic Buck Passing”. This paper critiques Sandford Goldberg’s claim that knowledge based on testimony involves a unique form of epistemic buck passing and argues that some of the insights from Goldberg’s analysis that survive this critique can be used to explain the asymmetry between moral and non-moral testimony.
Career Achievement Prizes
The Socrates Prize is awarded each year to the undergraduate philosophy major(s) with the highest overall GPA.This year's winners are Kieran Britt, Stephen Troy, and Alison Weinberger.
Morris Judd Scholarship
The Morris Judd Scholarship is named after Morris Judd, who in the early 1950s was a faculty member in CU Boulder’s Philosophy Department. This year's winner is Kelsey Grant for AY 2020/21; congratulations also to graduating senior Alison Weinberger, who was the winner for AY 2019/20
Paduano Family Scholarship
The Paduano Family scholarship is based on both merit and need. This year's winner is Charles Doremieux for AY 2020/21.
Majors Graduating with Honors
Comments by Iskra Fileva, Honors Advisor
"Against Equal Treatment"
"Why the Adaptive Preferences of those with Bipolar Disorder are Oppressive"
"The Function and Purpose of the Criminal Justice System"
"Attorney-Client Confidentiality: Protecting the Freedom of the Wrongfully Accused Individual"
"Evaluating the Basis for Equating Atheism with Immorality"
"Science is a Religion"
"Just Die Already! Why Existence is not Evidence of Immortality"
Graduating MA Students
The Philosophy Faculty wish to congratulate our students who are graduating with an M.A. (Master of Arts) in Philosophy. We commend you for completing the rigorous requirements of the M.A., whether you took the thesis or non-thesis option. Both programs include distribution requirements in logic, values, history of philosophy, and metaphysics and epistemology. The thesis option requires eight graduate-level seminars as well as a master’s thesis, a substantial (typically 50- to 75-page) philosophical work on a focused topic. The non-thesis option requires twelve graduate-level seminars. Congratulations, M.A. graduates!
- Mi-Kyoung Lee, MA advisor
"Relations and Peirce's Graphical Logic" under Raul Saucedo
Remarks from Raul Saucedo, thesis supervisor
"Manufacturing Reasons" under Iskra Fileva
Remarks from Iskra Fileva, thesis supervisor
Remarks from Mi-Kyoung Lee, MA advisor
Graduating PhD students
The Philosophy Faculty congratulate the seven graduates from our doctoral program this academic year. Each is being awarded a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Philosophy. A Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado Boulder represents the completion of quite a rigorous and intense program, including fifteen graduate-level seminars, two substantial extra-circular papers that are evaluated by anonymous committees, several years as a Teaching Assistant followed by several years designing and teaching one’s own courses as a Graduate Part-Time Instructor, and culminating in the production and oral defense of the dissertation, a book-length philosophical treatise. Congratulations, Doctors, on attaining the highest possible degree in your field!
- Chris Heathwood, Director of Graduate Studies
"Voluntary Belief and Its Consequences in Locke and Descartes" under Robert Pasnau
More information at: https://sites.google.com/colorado.edu/mark-boespflug/home
Remarks from Robert Pasnau, dissertation supervisor
"Rethinking Later Medieval Epistemology" under Robert Pasnau
More information at: http://philchoiphil.wordpress.com
Remarks from Robert Pasnau, dissertation supervisor
"Well-Being and Alienation" under Chris Heathwood
More information at http://sites.google.com/view/anthonykelley
Remarks from Chris Heathwood, dissertation supervisor
"Values, Parts and Wholes" under Graham Oddie
More information at www.zakthephilosopher.com
Remarks from Graham Oddie, dissertation supervisor
"Boycott Ethics" under David Boonin
Remarks from David Boonin, dissertation supervisor
"Paleoclimate Modeling and Simulation" under Carol Cleland
Remarks from Carol Cleland, dissertation supervisor
"Conceptual Issues in Sport and Games" under Alastair Norcross
More information at sites.google.com/view/alex-wolf-root/
Remarks from Alastair Norcross, dissertation supervisor
Graduate Student Prizes
Morriston and Mills Teaching Prizes
Stahl Prize: Alexander Wolf-Root
The Stahl Prize is given in memory of Professor Gary Stahl, who taught at CU from 1962 to 1996. It recognizes a graduate student who has made a significant contribution toward bringing the discipline of philosophy to bear on some demanding and crucial human problem. This year's winner of the Stahl Prize is Alexander Wolf-Root.
Remarks from Garrett Bredeson
The Jentzsch Prize is awarded once a year for the best graduate student paper submitted to the Jentzsch Prize Committee. This year's winner of the Jentzsch prize is Bret Donnelly for his paper "Vagueness, Degrees of Truth, and Dutch Books".