State of Play

September 2013 to June 2014

In the academic year 2013-2014, the Philosophy Department offered the following courses:

  • PHIL 118:  Making of the Modern Mind (Cunningham x2, Marsh, Muñoz-Hutchinson)
  • PHIL 119:  Moral Psychology (Grenberg, Fuerstein x2)
  • PHIL 120:  Philosophy in Literature (Rudd)
  • PHIL 127:  Zen and the Art of Judo (Muñoz-Hutchinson)
  • PHIL 147:  Death and the Meaning of Life (Marsh)
  • PHIL 231:  Philosophy of Mind (Rudd)
  • PHIL 233:  Kierkegaard and Existentialism (Rudd)
  • PHIL 235:  Ancient Western Philosophy (Muñoz-Hutchinson)
  • PHIL 235:  History of Modern Philosophy (Grenberg)
  • PHIL 240:  Formal Logic (Cunningham)
  • PHIL 241:  Philosophical Theology (Taliaferro x2)
  • PHIL 243:  Aesthetics (Taliaferro)
  • PHIL 244:  Philosophy of Science (Cunningham)
  • PHIL 246:  Space and Time (Cunningham)
  • PHIL 250:  Biomedical Ethics (Gervais, Marsh x2)
  • PHIL 251:  Science, Ethics, and Religion (Marsh x2)
  • PHIL 252:  Ethics and the Good Life (Rudd x2)
  • PHIL 253:  Democracy:  Rule of the Ignorant? (Fuerstein)
  • PHIL 254:  Law, Politics, and Morality (Fuerstein x2)
  • PHIL 255:  Race and Social Justice (Watson)
  • PHIL 257:  Environmental Ethics (Taliaferro x2)
  • PHIL 259:  Global Health Ethics (Gervais)
  • PHIL 278:  Moral Theory (Fuerstein)
  • PHIL 372:  Seminar in Metaphysics – Personal Identity (Rudd)
  • PHIL 374:  Seminar in the History of Philosophy – Hellenistic Philosophy (Muñoz-Hutchinson)
  • PHIL 399:  Senior Seminar – Kant’s Ethics, Religion, and Politics (Grenberg)

In September, for the 35th Annual Eunice Belgum Memorial Lectures, Daniel Robinson (Oxford) gave two talks:  “Consciousness-Again” and “Character.”

The Department held regular colloquium meetings, often with the philosophers from Carleton College.  Presenters included:

  • Danny Muñoz-Hutchinson (St. Olaf):  “Consciousness and Agency in Plotinus”
  • Jason Bridges (Chicago):  “The Ecology of Reasons”
  • Michelle Mason (Minnesota):  “Reactivity and Refuge”
  • Bennett Helm (Franklin & Marshall):  “Truth, Objectivity, and Emotional Caring: Filling in the Gaps of Haugeland’s Existentialist Ontology”
  • Michael Fuerstein (St. Olaf):  “Contesting the Market:  An Assessment of Capitalism’s Threat to Democracy”
  • Henrik Bohlin (St. Benedict & St. John’s):  “’Effects on the Mind’ as Objects of Reasoning:  A Perspectivist Reading of the Reason-Passion Relation in Hume’s Sentimentalism.

The Carleton and St. Olaf philosophers worked with Alexander Nehamas of Princeton University at the annual fall retreat, discussing several chapters from his forthcoming book on friendship.

Members of the Department actively participated in Phi Sigma Tau (the college’s philosophy honor society) events and weekly “Pizza Thursday” discussions with students.

Faculty were active in their areas of specialization:

Arthur Cunningham published an article, “Branches in the Everett Interpretation”, in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics in May.  In March he gave a talk at St. Olaf College titled “Two Solutions to One Problem?  Boethius on Freedom and Foreknowledge.”  He is currently working on two additional articles, titled “A Vindication of the Popular Solution to the Problem of Freedom and Foreknowledge” and “Theological Fatalism and the Necessity of the Past:  New Clothes for an Old Fallacy.”  Professor Cunningham accepted a five-year appointment as a Resident Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, to begin in June 2014.

Michael Fuerstein’s revised article “Democratic Consensus as Essential Byproduct” is forthcoming in the Journal of Political Philosophy.  Another paper, “Contesting the Market:  An Assessment of Capitalism’s Threat to Democracy”, is forthcoming in Reconciling Performance With Progress:  Essays on Capitalism, Business, and Society (ed. Subramanian Rangan, Oxford University Press).  Professor Fuerstein also published “Review of Robert Audi, Moral Perception”, which appeared in Faith and Philosophy.  In April he presented “Contesting the Market” at the Inaugural Assembly of the Society for Progress at The Royal Society in London.  Professor Fuerstein has continued to serve as an advisor and assisting organizing for the Society for Progress and is currently contributing to the production of a volume that will come out of the Inaugural Assembly.  He is currently working on a paper on democratic experience.

Karen Gervais traveled to Germany in September to present “Redefining the Default Definition of Death and Expanding Living Donation,” at the conference, “The Importance of Being Dead – The Dead Donor Rule and the Ethics of Transplantation Medicine,” for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld.  In January she presented, “Modeling an Organizational Ethics Consultation: Should a Health System Permit Cardiologists to Reuse Explanted Pacemakers?” to the HealthEast Systemwide Ethics Committee in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her recent publications include “Death: Definition and Determination of, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives,” published in Bioethics, and “The Social Construction of Death, Biological Plausibility, and the Brain Death Criterion,” forthcoming as an Open Peer Commentary in the American Journal of Bioethics later in 2014.  Additionally, she remains a member of the LifeSource Ethics Committee and the Northfield Hospital and Clinics Ethics Committee.

Jeanine Grenberg published a book, Kant’s Defense of Common Moral Experience:  A Phenomenological Account, with Cambridge University Press in September.  She also Published “All you need is Love?” in Kant on Emotions and Value (ed. Alix Cohen, Palgrave Publishers), “Humility” in The Handbook of Virtue Ethics (ed. Stan van Hooft, Acumen Handbooks), and a review of Patrick R. Frierson’s Kant’s Questions:  What is a Human Being? for Mind.  Professor Grenberg’s forthcoming works include “Kant on Evil” in The History of Evil, Volume IV (ed. Charles Taliaferro and Douglas Hedley, Acumen Publishers) and “Love in the Lectures on Ethics” in Kant’s Lectures on Ethics:  A Critical Guide (ed. Lara Denis and Oliver Sensen).  She attended an “author-meets-critics” session for her book at an APA meeting in April and also served as a critic for a session on Robert Johnson’s Self-Improvement at a similar meeting in February.  Professor Grenberg is currently working on a new translation of Kant’s “Doctrine of Virtue” from the Metaphysics of Morals with Jens Timmerman to be published by Cambridge University Press.  She is also working on an article titled “Kant and Divine Command Theory” and a book manuscript about the history of the concept of attentiveness.

Gordon Marino spent the 2013-2014 academic year on sabbatical.  In addition to serving as the director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf, Gordon traveled to Kiev, Ukraine in September as the Honorary Director of the Kierkegaard Conference.  In November he gave invited lectures at both Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota and the Sorbonne in Paris.  Gordon’s book, The Quotable Kierkegaard was published with Princeton University Press in October.  He continues to serve as editor of the Soren Kierkegaard Newsletter and assistant editor of Common Knowledge.  Gordon continues to write frequently for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; he was also invited to host a session of Huffington Post Live.  Other publications include pieces in Commonweal, Christian Century, Christianity Today, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In August he will activate an American Scandinavian Foundation fellowship to Denmark.

Jason Marsh had two articles published during the year.  “Darwin and the Problem of Natural Nonbelief” was published in The Monist, while “Conscientious Refusal and Reason-Giving” appeared in Bioethics.  A third paper, “Quality of Life Assessments, Cognitive Reliability, and Procreative Responsibility” is forthcoming from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.  Jason is currently working on chapters for three different volumes that take up topics ranging from the ethics of procreation to the future of the philosophy of religion.

Danny Muñoz-Hutchinson has a paper, titled “Consciousness and Agency in Plotinus,” forthcoming in a volume on causation and creation in late antiquity, to be published by Cambridge University Press.  He was invited to contribute this paper by the director of Oxford University’s Power Structuralism in Ancient Ontologies Project.  For the second year in a row, Professor Muñoz-Hutchinson co-organized a panel with a colleague from Hamline University on metaphysics in Neoplatonism for the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies in Lisbon, Portugal.  In June he co-chaired this panel and presented a paper, entitled “Outside the Causation of the Physical Universe: Plotinus on the Metaphysics of Agency.”

Anthony Rudd published four papers: “Wittgenstein and Heidegger as Romantic Modernists” in Wittgenstein and Heidegger (ed. Egan, Reynolds, and Wendland, Routledge), “The Soul of a Philosopher:  Reply to Turnbull” (with P. Stokes) in Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2013, “Bodily Subjectivity and the Mind-Body Problem” in Philosophia Christi, and “’Strong’ Narrativity – A Response to Hutto” in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.  His forthcoming works include “Narrative Unity and the Moment of Crisis in Fear and Trembling” in Cambridge Critical Guide to Fear and Trembling (ed. D. Conway, Cambridge University Press), “No Self? Some Reflections on Buddhist Theories of Personal Identity” in Philosophy East and West, “Kierkegaard’s Platonic Teleology” in Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self (ed. J. Lippett and P. Stokes, Edinburgh University Press), and “Kierkegaard on Evil” in A History of Evil (ed. Hedley, Meister, and Taliaferro, Acumen).  Professor Rudd is co-editing Love, Reason and Will:  Kierkegaard After Frankfurt with John Davenport, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Publishing in 2015.  The volume includes an essay of his own, “Kierkegaard’s Platonism and the Reasons of Love.”  He presented papers at both a conference celebrating Kierkegaard’s bicentennial at Baylor University in November and an APA meeting in February.

Edmund Santurri spent Fall 2013 and Interim 2014 on sabbatical.  During this time, he completed three essays that have been accepted for publication.  They are: “Agape as Self-Sacrifice: The Internalist View” for Love and Christian Ethics: Engagements with Tradition, Theory and Society, edited by Frederick Simmons and Brian C. Sorrells; “Human Corruption and the Possibility of Love: Dostoevskian Ruminations on Forgiveness” for Virtue and the Moral Life, edited by Kathryn Getik Soltis and William Werpehowski; and “Augustinian Realism and the Morality of War: An Exchange” for Augustine and Social Justice, edited by Teresa Delgado, John Doody and Kim Paffenroth.  Additionally, Professor Santurri published “The Neo-Barthian Critique of Reinhold Niebuhr” in Journal of Religious Ethics.

In addition to performing her duties as the Associate Dean for Humanities at St. Olaf, Corliss Swain continued her work as co-editor of Hume Studies.  The journal published two issues during the academic year, and a third issue is in the beginning of the copy-editing phase.  Professor Swain commented on a paper at the Hume Conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in the summer of 2013.

Charles Taliaferro served as chair beginning in June.  He presented a paper on museums and philosophy at the University of Glasgow in August, while also presenting at the University of Chicago, Mount Royal University, the University of Notre Dame the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Philosophers, Pilgrim House, and, in May, at a conference in Qom sponsored by the Iranian Philosophical Association, as well as at the University of Tehran.  Charles’ main scholarly work over the year was co-editing The History of Evil (a five volume work with over 130 contributors from around the globe) and The Ashgate Companion to Theological Anthropology.  Taliaferro continues to hold the position of Book Review Editor for Faith and Philosophy and to serve on the editorial boards of Sophia, Religious Studies, Philosophy Compass, and Blackwell Religious Studies Review.  He is a member of the editorial board for Continuum Studies in Philosophy of Religion. He is on the Executive Committees for both the SCP and EPS and was recently named Editor-in-Chief of the online journal Open Theology.  Additionally, Charles has been a reviewer for several journals and presses including Oxford and Cambridge University presses.

Charles Watson III taught at St. Olaf during Interim, conducting a course titled Race and Social Justice.  In February, Charles presented “An Analysis of the Moral Law and Moral Pathology in the Work of Martin Luther King, Jr.” on campus, and in April he gave a talk titled “The Social and Political Philosophy of Malcolm X” at the Second Annual Malcolm X Justice and Peace Lecture Series at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  Charles’ entry “Existentialism” is forthcoming in A History of Evil:  1900-1950, volume 5, edited by Victoria Harrison, Chad Meister, and Charles Taliaferro, to be published in 2015.