Archive for February, 2012

Virginia Tech: Visiting Assistant Professor, History of Modern Philosophy

AOS: History of Modern Philosophy; the department also has teaching needs in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and medieval philosophy. 3 courses per semester, undergraduate and graduate. Evidence of teaching  ability required. Salary: competitive. Ph.D. completed by August 10, 2012.

In addition to offering a first class MA in Philosophy, the  department is also a major component of two interdisciplinary programs, Science and Technology Studies and the Alliance for Social,  Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought.

Virginia Tech is an EO/AA  employer and particularly encourages applications from women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and minorities. Interested candidates are REQUIRED to submit a dossier and application material online at http://www.jobs.vt.edu, posting number 0121547. Applicants should arrange to have three (3) letters of recommendation sent to:  tzapata@vt.edu with “HISTORY” in subject line of email. We will begin reviewing dossiers immediately and continue until the position is filled. For more information please visit our web page at


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I am hoping, at some point in the future, to teach a graduate seminar on Early Modern Philosophy of Language.  I have a preliminary list of figures that I think are sensible to try to cover, but want to make sure I am not forgetting anyone.  My current (perhaps overly ambitious) list is:

Hobbes, Arnauld, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Reid, Condillac, Smith and Mill

If anyone has suggestions of other figures (or better yet, particular readings from other figures) that would be sensible to include, let me know!

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Throughout Malebranche’s works, he always allows that God acting by particular volitions is possible. It seems incontrovertible that creation was an act of a particular volition of God. But is there anywhere in his works where he explicitly identifies another act of particular willing of God? It seems that events surrounding Christ (or perhaps even Original Sin?) would be good candidates for particular volitions — but does Malebranche ever bite the bullet and outright state that they are so? [At the very end of his Treatise on Nature and Grace, in the Illuminations of this work, Malebranche seems to indicate that between Original Sin and Christ, anyone who was saved was saved by a particular volition of God (the elect were few in number). It isn’t clear to me how to fit this statement into his general view.]

Any comments or thoughts would be most welcome!

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I could spend a lot of time talking about reasons I love the Hume Society.  Here is the latest one (the following is the text of an e-mail I just received from the Hume Society):

The Hume Society is pleased to announce a mentoring workshop for early career women in Hume studies or related areas of early modern philosophy. The workshop will be held at the Hotel Alma, the conference hotel for this year’s International Hume Conference in Calgary, on the afternoon of July 17th (the day before the conference begins). The workshop will have two components: a writing workshop with papers circulated in advance, and a practical session devoted to strategies for securing and retaining employment in academia. Work for the writing workshop should be a complete paper (something you are preparing for publication or a conference) or chapter (book or dissertation). Senior women Hume scholars will facilitate both sessions. The workshop is open to women members of the Hume Society or women registrants for the Hume Conference. If you are interested in participating, please contact Jacqueline Taylor (jtaylor2@usfca.edu) b y March 20th, 2012, so that appropriate meeting room space can be reserved. If you plan to submit work for the writing workshop, paper/chapter drafts should be sent to Jacqueline Taylor by June 15th, 2012. Papers will be pre-circulated to all participants, mentors and early career women scholars.

Thank you for your support of the Hume Society!

If you work on Hume, and aren’t a member of the Hume society, I strongly recommend fixing that.

For further information about the 2012 Hume conference in Calgary see http://humesociety.org/

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New categories on PhilPapers.org

PhilPapers, the directory of (primarily online) papers and books in philosophy, has a number of categories devoted to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy. There are several new categories devoted to early modern British philosophers. These are:

Work on these figures was previously included in a large ‘17th/18th Century British Philosophy, Misc‘ category. These new divisions should make it easier to find relevant work on these figures.

The early modern sections, like the rest of PhilPapers, are helped when people volunteer serve as editors of sections. If you’re interested in this (helpful but not burdensome) task, you can find out more by clicking on any of the individual category links above. (I should admit that I’m currently the editor of that ‘Misc’ section, as well as of the Hobbes one.)

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This is the first of what I hope to be an ongoing series of posts concerning logic and theories of judgment in the 16th–18th centuries.

To start things off I though I’d comment on something I came across recently in the philosophy blogosphere. Over at the blog New Apps Catarina Dutilh Novaes (CDN) has an interesting post which touches on the normative import of logic for reasoning or thought more generally. In the course of this discussion CDN claims that

the view of logic as having normative import for thought is entirely misguided. It is a relic of Kantian transcendental idealism that most philosophers still hold on to, but usually somewhat uncritically.

What is it for logic to have “normative import”? The idea here, I take it, is that logic has normative import when it functions as the measure of thought and as that to which thought ought to conform. Hence, a thought is found logically wanting if it does not conform to logic (though what particular logic I leave open here) in its internal structure or functional relationship to other thoughts. Call this “normativism” about logic.


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Modern Philosophy at the Central APA

Stolen from Steve Daniel’s Early Modern Calendar:

(And I am not above pointing out that you can find more than a couple Mod Squad contributors on the program for the central)

February 15-18, 2012
American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting
Palmer House Hilton
Chicago, IL

Thursday, Feb. 16
12:10-2:10  Symposium: Locke
Jessica Gordon-Roth (Illinois, Chicago): “A Reconsideration of Locke on Persons as Modes”
Commentator: William Uzgalis (Oregon State)

2:20-5:20  Sentiment, Taste and Judgment in the Eighteenth Century
Alex Rueger (Alberta): “Pleasure of Taste, Moral Sentiment, and Judgment in Kant, 1770-1790”; commentator Melissa R. Zinkin (Binghamton)
James Shelley (Auburn): “The Joint Verdict of True Judgment”; commentator Timothy M. Costelloe (William and Mary)

5:30-7:30  North American Kant Society: The Mary Gregor Lecture
Heiner F. Klemme (Mainz): “Kant on Moral Self-Determination and Self- Knowledge”
Commentator: Susan Meld Shell (Boston C.)

5:30-7:30  Hume Society
5:30-6:30  Miren Boehm (Wisconsin–Milwaukee): “Hume’s Two and the Same Definitions of Cause”; commentator Abe Roth (Ohio State)
6:30-7:30  Jonathan Cottrell (New York U): “Hume’s Propriety Principle”; commentator Donald L. M. Baxter (Connecticut)

7:40-10:40  Adam Smith Society
Speakers and topics TBA.

Friday, Feb. 17
9:00-12:00  Kant and Hegel
9:00-10:00  Tim Jankowiak (UC San Diego): “Space and the Objectivity of Sensation in Kant”; commentator Lisa Shabel (Ohio State)
10:00-11:00  Bryan Hall (Indiana U Southeast): “Identifying the Gap in Kant’s Critical Philosophy”; commentator David Landy (San Francisco State)
9:00-10:00  Paolo D. Bubbio (Sydney): “God, Incarnation, and Metaphysics in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion”; commentator Mark Alznauer (Northwestern)

12:45-2:45  Symposium: Sextus and Hume
Donald L. M. Baxter (Connecticut): “Assent in Sextus and Hume”
Commentator: Richard Bett (Johns Hopkins)

3:00-6:00  Symposium: The Three Hundredth Anniversary of Rousseau’s Birth
Frederick Neuhouser (Barnard C., Columbia): “The Critical Function of Genealogy in Rousseau’s Second Discourse
Kate Abramson (Indiana): TBA
Commentator: Hans Lottenbach (Kenyon C.)

3:00-6:00  Symposium: Learning from the Past: Why Study the History of Philosophy?
Daniel Garber (Princeton): TBA
Robert Pasnau (Colorado–Boulder): “Philosophical Beauty”
Rachel Barney (Toronto): TBA

Saturday, Feb. 18
9:00-12:00  New Approaches to Old Figures: Recent Work in Feminist History of Philosophy
Karen Margrethe Nielsen (Western Ontario): “Aristotle on the Imperfect Deliberative Capacities of Women”; commentator Julie Ward (Loyola, Chicago)
Karen Detlefsen (Pennsylvania): “Cavendish on Women’s Education and Freedom”; commentator Eileen O’Neill (Massachusetts–Amherst)

9:00-12:00  Colloquium: British Empiricism
9:00-10:00  Julie Walsh (UC San Diego): “Locke and ‘the Hinge upon Which Liberty Turns’”; commentator Shelley Weinberg (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
10:00-11:00  Krista Rodkey (Indiana): “Good Breeding and Its Laws: Hume on Politeness, Conversation, and Delicacy of Taste”; commentator Livia Guimaraes (U Federal de Minas Gerais)
11:00-12:00  Lewis Powell (Wayne State): “Reid’s Complaint against Hume’s Maxim: Conceivability, Possibility, and Reductio Reasoning”; commentator Todd Buras (Baylor)

12:15-2:15 p.m.  International Berkeley Society Session
Katia Saporiti (Zurich): “Berkeley’s Concept of Time”
David Raynor (Ottawa): “Berkeley’s Reticence about Divine Archetypes”

2:30-5:30  Author Meets Critics: Georges Dicker’s Berkeley’s Idealism: A Critical Examination
Critics: Margaret Atherton (Wisconsin–Milwaukee) and Samuel C. Rickless (UC San Diego)
Response: Georges Dicker (SUNY College at Brockport)

2:30-5:30  Colloquium: Rationalism
2:30-3:30  Shoshana R. Brassfield (Frostburg State): “Descartes and the Danger of Irresolution”; commentator Lisa Shapiro (Simon Fraser)
3:30-4:30  Andrew R. Platt (Delaware): “Johann Clauberg’s Account of Mind-Body Interaction”; commentator Raffaella De Rosa (Rutgers–Newark)
4:30-5:30  Alexander Paul Bozzo (Marquette): “Spinoza’s Theory of Attributes”; commentator Diane Steinberg (Cleveland State)

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