Number 11

The University of Oklahoma

Summer 2005



A newsletter published by the University of Oklahoma Department of Philosophy


Yet another busy and exciting year!  I am getting too old for this.

Let me begin by welcoming Professor Amy Olberding (Ph.D., Hawaii), who joined our department last fall in a joint appointment with the Department of International and Area Studies.  Amy's research is in Chinese and Stoic philosophy, and she has already had a positive impact on the life of the department.  I am also happy to announce that Sherri Irvin (Ph.D., Princeton) has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position with us beginning next fall.  Sherri works primarily in aesthetics and her appointment followed an intensive national search.  The applicants were absolutely incredible.  (Thank goodness I have a job!)  We are thrilled that Sherri accepted our offer and look forward to her joining us in the fall.

On the downside, Professor Kenneth Merrill has decided to take a well-deserved retirement.  I am sure that this will come as a shock to you, as it did to me.  I can't quite imagine what the department will be without him.  I am happy to say, however, that Ken will continue to roam the 6th floor--especially in the evenings--for years to come.  Indeed, I hope to persuade him to teach a few courses for us as an Emeritus faculty member, once he realizes how much he misses the classroom experience.  We hope to conduct a national search in the History of Modern Philosophy next fall.  While we have no hope of replacing Ken with this search, we do anticipate that successful candidates will have an appreciation of a good comic strip and an excellent grasp of OU football history [editor's addendum: and a recognition that Mozart--or his music--is a sound proof of the existence of God].

In addition to these personnel changes, I am pleased to report that the faculty and students continue to flourish.  Professor Linda Zagzebski saw her latest book--Divine Motivation Theory--appear in print.  Linda chaired the Central Division APA Program Committee; was elected President of the Society of Christian Philosophers; and was awarded the 2005-'06 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship.  Whew!  While the rest of us faculty were left in her dust, we did manage to publish nine journal articles or book chapters and gave numerous presentations at various regional, national, and international conferences.  The department continued its active colloquium series and hosted the tenth annual undergraduate colloquium with Professor Eric Mack (Tulane University) as the keynote speaker.  We also hosted our eighth David Ross Boyd Lecture Series, with Professor Julia Annas (University of Arizona) presenting a series of talks entitled "Virtue Ethics: The Real Thing."  Our pilot program to improve the philosophical writing skills of our undergraduate majors has now become a permanent part of our major; we have introduced majors-only sections for some of our core 3000-level courses; and we have revamped our Graduate Syllabus.  In CY2004, the Department taught more than 3,500 students, awarded 23 B.A.'s, one M.A., and one Ph.D.  The Ph.D. recipient--Rob Thompson--won the Provost's Dissertation Award.  Congratulations, Rob!

Next year promises to be another exciting one.  In the fall, we will host the ninth David Ross Boyd Lectures (with Professor Hilary Putnam, of Harvard University, as the speaker); welcome the arrival of new and exciting graduate and undergraduate students; and much, much more.  Next spring we will host our eleventh annual undergraduate colloquium.  We continue to receive excellent undergraduate submissions and we look forward to another invigorating colloquium.  As you can see, this continues to be an exciting time in the life of the philosophy program at OU and we have no intention of sitting still.

Finally, I would like to thank all our alumni who have responded to our previous newsletters and various questionnaires.  A special "thank you" goes to those who have contributed financially to the department.  It is important, however, for us to hear from all of you, especially as we try continually to improve our program.  The department web-site includes, among other things, an on-line form that alumni can fill out to provide information about themselves.  Please let us know how you are doing!

Hugh H. Benson, Chair

Ken's retirement

As of July 1, 2005, Kenneth Merrill will be officially retired!  Though he will continue to do some teaching, he has attended his last faculty meeting and done his last administrative work (Gott sei Dank!, as Ken would say).

Ken came to the University of Oklahoma in 1958, and over the years he has served three times as chair or acting chair of the department.  He has been a mainstay in our teaching of modern European and British philosophy, American philosophy, and Whitehead, and has been particularly active in his work on Hume.  Besides teaching courses central to the mission of the department, he has chaired and served on a large number of M.A. and Ph.D. committees.  A token of the esteem that his students hold for him is that in 1994 Mark Conkling, a former graduate student, gave his generous support to establish the Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award.

Faculty and students over the years will remember Ken's immense fund of anecdotes and jokes.  And they will remember his impressive command of the English language, both in his ability to write and in his extensive vocabulary.  We are not surprised when we hear that a commentator in an APA session repeated a sentence from Ken's paper "just because it was such a nice sentence!"  Nor are we surprised when we hear that a former graduate student, hearing Ken comment on the 'fenestration' of a building, wanted to 'defenestrate' him.  And then there are the legends about Ken--most notably about how he once threw a rock over Dale Hall Tower (or was it just on top of the tower?--a prodigious enough feat in itself).

It will still be safe to come to the office at night and depend on Ken's being there.  Ken is trying to finish his book on Hume and will continue to have an office in the department.


During the calendar year 2004, the following students graduated with a degree in Philosophy or in Religion and Ethics: Austin P. Bond, Willard J. Davis II, Clayton T. Gaddis, Brett M. Gilliland (with distinction), Kenneth R. Hardyman, Ryan L. Helms (with distinction), Jay S. Hendricks, Nicholas A. Hudson, Jerry W. Jackson, Wes D. Kennedy, Austin R. Kinzle, Stephanie A. Luce, Natalie J. McClanahan, Christiaan D. Mitchell, Esq., Christopher W. Nichols, Jacob D. Palmer, Shyam Patwardhan (with distinction), Aaron B. Pence, Justin J. Peters, William H. Powell III, Tyler M. Samson, Shane A. Schauf, Jason T. Seay, Jason E. Smith (with distinction), Matthew L. Tandy (with special distinction), Brian M. Thompson (with distinction), Ryan T. Vaughan, and Jacob A. Wilson.


Robert Thompson was one of three OU students who received a prize for dissertations completed in 2004.

Matthew Hodge was Program Director of the Ninth Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, April 2004.  Ruth Dysart, Edward Giles, Mary Gwin, Robert Johnson, Alexus McLeod, and David Slakter served as commentators for papers delivered at the conference.

Alexus McLeod presented his paper "Contemporary American Conceptions of the Theravada 'Not-Self'" at the Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion Conference on Globalization.

Timothy Miller's "Desgabets and the Cartesian View of Mental Substance" was accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association.

Dara Fogel attended the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the Religious Studies Department Study Abroad program.


Christiaan D. Mitchell, Esq. received the J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship for 2004.  This scholarship honors the memory of J. Clayton Feaver (1911-1995), who was the first Kingfisher Professor of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at the University of Oklahoma (1951-1981).  It is funded by Audrey Ellsworth Maehl (M.A., 1955), who was the first Kingfisher Fellow.

Nathan G. Foell was chosen as the 2004 recipient of the Elizabeth Wade Scholarship, which was established in honor of Elizabeth Wade (a Philosophy alumnus) by her parents, Larry R. and Mary Jane Wade, of Elk City, Oklahoma.

Jesse Butler received the Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award for 2004.  This award was initiated by Ray Elugardo and has been funded from the beginning by Mark Conkling, a Philosophy alumnus who received a Ph.D. in 1974.

To the students who won these awards--congratulations!  To the donors whose generosity made the awards possible--our hearty and heartfelt thanks!


Neera Badhwar presented a paper-"Does Happiness Entail Virtue?  The Unhappy State of Arguments Against an Ancient Thesis"-at the 2004 Joint Session of the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society, in Kent, England.  She presented "International Aid: When Giving Becomes a Vice" at Georgia State University and at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center. Bowling Green University: and a third paper, "Happiness as the Highest Good," at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She participated in a workshop at Brown University and was a discussant in the Liberty Fund Conference on International Ethics.

Hugh Benson made three presentations about matters Socratic: "Socratic Learning," at the Arizona Colloquium on Plato and at the TCU International Symposium on Socrates; "The Socratic Method," at the University of Central Oklahoma; and "The Socratic Elenchos," at a joint graduate seminar at the University of California/Irvine and the University of California/San Diego.

Stephen Ellis presented his paper "The Main Argument for Value Incommensurability (and Why it Fails)" at the Special Conference on Values: Values, Rational Choice, and the Will, at Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Reinaldo Elugardo attended the Conference on Compositionality, Concepts, and Cognition, in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he presented his paper "Fodor on Compositionality and the Argument from Inexplicitness."  He gave another paper­"Identity Through Change and Substitutivity Salva Veritate"­at the meeting of the Northern Ontario Philosophical Association.

James Hawthorne delivered a paper­"A Better Bayesian Convergence Theorem"­to the Austin-Berkeley Formal Epistemology Workshop.

Kenneth Merrill is retiring the first of July 2005, after teaching at OU since 1958 (that's forty-six years).  He hopes to have his Hume book finished in time to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Hume's birth in 2011 (he is joking--he thinks).

Adam Morton departed OU after the spring 2004 term, to take an appointment at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.  Notwithstanding certain similarities between Oklahoma and Alberta, Adam notes two important climatological differences:  Alberta does not have tornadoes but is much colder.  Adam has learned to "free mount" his unicycle--i.e., get on it and go without the aid of a wall or kerb (or curb, if you prefer the American spelling).  He has forsworn (or at least abandoned) playing the oboe (to the relief, he says, of his musical friends); but he still uses tuning forks to develop his ear for discriminating pitches, both musical and otherwise.  (That is not a weird or ignoble exercise.  At age two, Mozart exclaimed "G sharp" when he heard a pig squeal.  Of course, the two-year-old Mozart did not need a tuning fork.)

Jay Newhard made two conference presentations:  "Grelling's Paradox," at the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association; and "The Chrysippus Intuition and Contextual Theories of Truth," at The Society for Exact Philosophy.

Wayne Riggs presented ""Insight, Open-Mindedness and the Highest Epistemic Good," at a meeting in Stirling, Scotland; and "Why Epistemologists are so Down on Their Luck," at the University of Missouri.

Chris Swoyer presented two papers (on properties) at the University of Kansas.  He continues to serve as a co-editor of the philosophy of science section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  This excellent encyclopedia is available free of charge to users all over the world.  In the same spirit of freely disseminating information (in a way that bypasses big business and big government), Chris has put on the internet his 640-page textbook (including slides) on critical reasoning.

Zev Trachtenberg presented a paper­"Universalism vs. Particularism in Rousseau's Moral Thought"­at the annual meeting of the Rousseau Association.  He presented "Environmental Citizenship" at the Workshop on Integrating Ethics into Environmental Studies: Ethics, Science, and Civic Responsibility.

Linda Zagzebski gave the keynote address ("The Admirable Life and the Desirable Life") at the annual meeting of the Illinois Philosophical Association.  At the same meeting, she commented on three papers given in a special session on her philosophy.  (She delivered the same paper in three other places­the University of Virginia, the Baptist Philosophical Association meeting in Dallas, and Dundee, Scotland.)  She was elected president of the Society of Christian Philosophers and was named the Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Professor for 2005-06.


Monte Cook.  "Comments on 'Leibniz's Attractive Trilemma'," Southwest Philosophy Review, 20, 2 (July 2004), pp. 207-09.

Stephen Ellis.  "Rational Choice" (with Chris Swoyer), New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, vol. 5. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004.

Ray Elugardo.  "Skidmore on Properties," Southwest Philosophy Review.  "Shorthand, Syntactic Ellipsis, and the Pragmatic Determinant of What Is Said," Mind & Language, 19, 4 (September 2004), pp. 442-71.  (Co-author: Robert J. Stainton)  Ellipsis and Non-Sentential Speech.  Kluwer Academic Press.  (Elugardo and his co-editor, Robert J. Stainton, edited and provided the introduction for this anthology.)  "Leonard Linsky," Dictionary of Contemporary American Philosophers.  "Lynne Rudder Baker," Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition (forthcoming).  "Analytic/Synthetic; Necessary/Contingent; A Priori/A Posteriori," Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition (forthcoming).

James Hawthorne.  "Resolving Irrelevant Conjunction with Probabilistic Independence" (written jointly with Branden Fitelson), Philosophy of Science, 71, 4 (October 2004), pp. 505-14.  "Three Models of Sequential Belief Updating on Uncertain Evidence," Journal of Philosophical Logic, 33, 1 (February 2004), pp. 89-123.  "Inductive Logic," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line).

Adam Morton.  On Evil.  Routledge, 2004.  "Against the Ramsey Test," Analysis, 64, 4 (October 2004), pp. 294-99.  "Indicative versus Subjunctive in Future Conditionals," Analysis, 64, 4 (October 2004), pp. 289-93.  "Epistemic Virtues, Metavirtues, and Computational Complexity," Noûs, 38, 3 (September 2004), pp. 481-502.  "Inequity/Iniquity: Card on Balancing Injustice and Evil," Hypatia, 19, 4 (2004), pp. 197-201.  "Knowledge," book chapter in Philosophy.  Duncan Baird Publishers, 2004.

Jay Newhard.  "Disquotationalism, Minimalism, and the Finite Minimal Theory," Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 34, 1 (March 2004), pp. 61-86.

Amy Olberding.  "The Consummation of Sorrow: An Analysis of Confucius' Grief for Yan Hui," Philosophy East and West, 54, 3 (July 2004).

Wayne Riggs.  Review of Jonathan Kvanvig, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, March 2004.

Chris Swoyer.  "The Autonomy of Relations," Factica.  "Subjectivism," New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, vol. 5.  Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004.  "Rational Choice" (with Stephen Ellis), New Dictionary of the History of Ideas.  Ibid.  "Abstract Entities and Philosophical Quandaries," Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics.  Basil Blackwell (forthcoming).  "Whatever Became of Conceptualism?"  Universals, Concepts and Qualities (forthcoming).  "Multi-entity Solutions to the Problems of Universals," Oxford Studies in Metaphysics (forthcoming).  Review of Brian Ellis, Scientific Essentialism, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming).  Review of C. Stephen Layman, The Power of Logic (2nd edition) in The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 10, 2 (June 2004), 218-19.

Linda Zagzebski.  Divine Motivation Theory.  Cambridge University Press, 2004.  "Epistemic Value Monism," book chapter in Sosa and His Critics.  Blackwell, 2004.  "The Epistemology of Religion: The Need for Engagement," book chapter in Proceedings of the 26th Annual Wittgenstein Symposium.  "Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  "Morality and Religion," Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion.  "Omniscience, Time, and Freedom," Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion.  "Virtue Epistemology," Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


Roksana Alavi (B.A., 1996; is ABD in the philosophy department of the University of Kansas.  She has a paper forthcoming in Philo: "Robert Kane, Free Will and Neural Indeterminism."  She won three competitions--the Graduate Distinguished Service Award, the Summer Templin Fellowship, and second place in the Robinson Essay Contest.  Her picture appears on the 2004-2005 University of Kansas Women of Distinction Calendar.  Roksana and her husband, Lee Basham (an OU alumnus) are parents of Havah Alavi-Basham, who was born in December 2004.

Susan Alvarado (M.A., 2001; is an instructor in philosophy at Austin (Texas) Community College.  She also works at the University of Texas as a teaching administrator--a job that includes advising first-generation, low-income students and teaching for the College of Liberal Arts as an assistant instructor.  At the end of the summer (2005), she will move to Germany for a year, during which she will take many weekend trips throughout Europe and plans to write a book titled The Chicana Socratese (the details are not clear yet).  Susan's son, Michael-Raz, is fourteen and about to become a high school student; and her daughter, Megan, is rising twelve and will be a seventh-grader in the fall.

Lee Basham (Ph.D., 1998; has taken a permanent, full-time position at South Texas Community College in McAllen, after teaching at Baker University (Kansas) from 2001 through 2004.  He presented papers at two sessions of the APA:   "God as Radical Skepticism" and "The Challenge of Conspiracy."  He has published three articles in the last few years-- "Living with the Conspiracy" (Philosophical Forum, 2001); "Why God Lied to Me" (Journal of Religious Ethics, 2002); "Malevolent Global Conspiracy" (Journal of Social Philosophy, 2003).  The conspiracy papers will be published in an anthology, Philosophers and Conspiracy Theory, in the summer of 2005 (by Open Court).  With his brother-in-law, he has co-directed and produced the award-winning documentary "Cerrado: The Closing of the Historic Rio Crossings in the Big Bend of Texas."  Best of all, Lee and his wife, Roksana Alavi (an OU philosophy alumnus), are the parents of Havah, a marvelous baby who was born on Lee's birthday.

Greg Bassham (B.A., 1982; M.A., 1985; is professor of philosophy and department chair at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he began teaching shortly after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.  A 2nd edition of Critical Thinking: A Student's Introduction (written jointly by Greg and three associates) is coming out in 2005.  He is co-editor of The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy; has contributed essays to Baseball and Philosophy, Mel Gibson's "Passion" and Philosophy, and More Matrix and Philosophy.  His article "Gracia on Divine Revelation" appeared in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2004).  He ran a 5K in 19.32--a feat that he describes as his greatest achievement during the past year.

Stephen Brown (Ph.D., 2003; is an assistant professor in the Department of Theology and Philosophy at Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa.  His paper "Naturalized Virtue Ethics and the Epistemological Gap" was published in The Journal of Moral Philosophy.  A second paper­"Naturalized Virtue Ethics and Same-Sex Love"­is forthcoming in Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

Carol Caraway (Ph.D., 1982; is a full professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania [sic], where she is about to become the senior member of her department (upon the imminent retirement of a colleague).  She has been teaching, at IUP and elsewhere, for twenty-eight years.  She continues to work on Wittgenstein's epistemology (among other things) and began a year-long sabbatical at the end of the spring term 2005.

Jack Doss (Ph.D., 1995; is completing his tenth year at Southeast Arkansas College, in Pine Bluff.  It will be his last: He will retire at the end of the spring 2005 semester.  He has been appointed a member of the Pine Bluff History Commission, whose main task is historic preservation­a kind of renewal of his service on the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program back in the 1970's.

Kathleen Poorman Dougherty (Ph.D., 2000; was the Philosophy Department speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences FOCAS week, an annual event sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.  Kathleen gave a fascinating presentation about her experiences teaching philosophy at Bowie State University (Maryland), a historically black school.  Her daughter, four-year-old Emma Claire, provided an exciting send-off by cutting her own hair shortly before Kathleen departed for Norman.  (Exciting is not the word that Kathleen used to describe the event.)

John Duncan (Ph.D., 1998; is Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, where he has worked to design responses to the methamphetamine epidemic in Oklahoma.  He is clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the OU Health Sciences Center, and also adjunct assistant professor in the OU College of Liberal Studies.  He has won two awards from the College of Liberal Studies: the Kenneth Crook Distinguished Faculty Award (2002) and the Superior Teaching Award (2004).  He was recognized by the University of North Texas (his undergraduate alma mater) as one of this year's Outstanding Alumni.  John continues to play guitar for the Joe Whitecotton Jazz Quintet.

Bill Ferraiolo (Ph.D., 1997; teaches at San Joaquin Delta Community College (in Stockton, California), where he has been lodged since 1997.  He has published three articles in the past couple of years: "Eternal Selves and the Problem of Evil" (Quodlibet, 2004); "Stoic Counsel for Interpersonal Relations" (International Journal of Philosophical Practice, 2004); "Against Compatibilism: Compulsion, Free Agency and Moral Responsibility" (Sorites, 2005).

Tony Flood (Ph.D., 2003; holds a joint appointment at Cardinal Muench Seminary and North Dakota State University (both located in Fargo).  He finds the schedule demanding but was able to present a paper on Aquinas and Self-Government at the annual Medieval Conference in Kalamazoo.  It is a rare day (e.g., when the temperature is forty below zero [Fahrenheit or Celsius]) when he questions his good sense in moving to schools so far north.

Michael Hamilton (M.A., 1969; attended OU under the name Michael Snipple.  He later adopted the name of his natural mother.  He teaches at Austin Community College, where he is a colleague of Susan Alvarado, an OU alumnus.

Curtis Hancock (M.A., 1974; is professor of philosophy at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri.  In the past two years he has published one book--A Philosophy of Catholic Elementary Education--and co-edited another--Faith and the Life of the Intellect.  In April 2005 he delivered two lectures at Lublin University, Poland:  "Philosophy and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Culture" and "Four Criticisms of Philosophical Naturalism."

Peter Hutcheson (Ph.D., 1979; is professor of philosophy at Texas State University (San Marcos), where he has taught since 1979.  His article "Swinburne's Earlier Theodicy" is forthcoming in Southwest Philosophical Studies.  He has presented or shortly will present a couple of papers--"Luper and Dretske on Knowledge Closure" and "The Best of All Possible Worlds Revisited"--to philosophy conferences in Texas.  His oldest daughter, Vanessa, will be a college student this fall (2005).

Royce Jones (Ph.D., 1972; is on leave from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, where he was recently named Capps Professor of Humanities.  He and his wife, Becca, are living in Eugene, Oregon, where he is pursuing his research.  He also teaches courses at Oregon State University, in Corvallis.

Scott Jones (Ph.D., 2001; became the pastor of the Oklahoma City Cathedral of Hope on the 1st of May 2005.  He looks forward to being close enough to OU to attend functions, renew old acquaintances, and make new ones.

John Link (B.A., 1965; M.F.A. in painting, 1968; is professor of art at Western Michigan University.  (He notes that his school has been unable to devise a way to demote him.)  He is co-editor of, a website devoted (in John's words) to "plain talk about art." John has a provocative essay on the site: "The Slippery Slope of Hope."  Check it out at

Judith Little (Ph.D., 1994; teaches at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where she has been chair of the Department of Philosophy since the fall of 2004.  Her anthology Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction will be published next spring by Prometheus Books.

Dean Luthey (B.A., 1976; J.D., 1979; is a partner in a Tulsa law firm that specializes in commercial trials and appeals.  For the past twenty-one years he has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Tulsa.  He and his wife, Debbie, have been married twenty-six years.  Their older daughter graduated from OU in December 2004 and will enter medical school in the fall of 2005 (following in the footsteps of her maternal grandfather, Gerald McCullough, a Norman physician for many years).  Their younger daughter is a Letters major at OU.

Jeff McLaughlin (1985-87; teaches in the Department of Philosophy, History, and Politics at Thompson Rivers University (founded in 1970 as Caribou College), Kamloops, British Columbia.  His book Comics as Philosophy is being published by the University of Mississippi Press.  The same press will publish Conversations with Stan Lee, which is a kind of biography by way of interviews (Stan Lee is the creator of Spiderman and other superheroes).  Jeff will be on leave next fall to work on several projects he has underway or in mind.  During that time he will be a visiting professor at the University of Graz, Austria, where he will be teaching a course on applied ethics.

Brint Montgomery (Ph.D., 2002; is an assistant professor of philosophy in the School of Theology and Ministry of Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Oklahoma.  He and his wife have a third son­Jackson David.  The David is after the great Scottish philosopher le bon David, but his wife balked at adding Hume.

Arthur Prince (Ph.D., 1996) is an associate professor of general studies at Baptist College of Health Sciences in Memphis, Tennessee, his home town.

Murali Ramachandran (M.A., 1985; was a student at OU in the early 1980's.  He teaches at the University of Sussex in England and sends his greetings to anyone who may remember him.

Albert B (Bert) Randall (Ph.D., 1972; continues to teach in the Department of History and Philosophy at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee.  He has a book manuscript--The Beatitudes in World Religions--under review.  One publisher has agreed to publish it, but their books cost about the same as a baby-grand piano; so Bert is trying to find a more suitable company.  Besides doing his normal teaching, Bert is often called on to talk about Islam and Arabs (inasmuch as he knows a little about the subject in an area where most people know next to nothing).  He has worked with more than two hundred local police and first-responders, including the local Hostage-Negotiation Team; and he has just begun an eight-session series with members of the First Brigade at Fort Campbell (Kentucky).  Bert has two grandchildren (a girl and a boy) and two horses--all of whom are sources of joy (but not in equal measure).

Doren Recker (Ph.D., 1983; has been Head of the Philosophy Department at Oklahoma State University for six years (he noted with a sigh).  In July 2004 he taught a course at Magdalene College, Cambridge, on the social and political background of The Origin of Species.  This summer he will return to Cambridge to teach (jointly) a course on the 17th century (Milton, Cromwell, and Newton--three famous Cantabrigians).  Doren's daughter, Laurel, is graduating from OSU this spring, with a degree in English Literature (with minors in French, Studio Art, and Philosophy).  She has spent this semester in the Netherlands, taking courses at the University of Utrecht.  She is not sure what she will do next, but fireman and welder still have some attraction.  Doren hopes to offer some sage counsel if asked.

Randy Ridenour (Ph.D., 2000; has returned to Oklahoma Baptist University after a year of military duty at Fort Hood, Texas.  Randy is an assistant professor of philosophy at OBU.

Rafael Rondón (Ph.D., 1997; teaches at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Florida.  He has five sections of philosophy and helps coach the football team after school.  He lives in Miramar, Florida, with his wife, Mary, and their two young children, Rafael (who celebrated his second birthday in March) and Charlotte Mary (who was born in February 2005).

Michael Silberstein (Ph.D., 1994; is associate professor of philosophy at Elizabethtown College (in Pennsylvania); he holds an adjunct appointment at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Also at the University of Maryland he is a faculty member of the Foundations of Physics Program and a Fellow on the Committee for Philosophy and the Sciences.  His recent and forthcoming publications include "In Defense of Ontological Emergence and Mental Causation" in The Re-emergence of Emergence (Oxford U. Press); "Minkowski meets Hilbert: No Time for Quantum Mysteries in the Relational Blockworld"; "Ontological Emergence versus Causal Closure and Physicalism" (in a forthcoming book from MIT Press).  He has been busy presenting papers (in the philosophy of science) at various places, from Stanford to Boston.  Michael's son, Robin, will be a high school senior in the fall of 2005.  Michael and Elizabeth Newell (a physical anthropologist at Elizabethtown College) were married in June 2004.

Michael Snipple.  See Hamilton.

Herbert Snitz (a graduate student in the late 1960's and early 1970's) is a mathematics instructor in the Upper School of Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  His students think that he teaches mathematics "philosophically," because he urges them to consider the "deeper" reasons for things being the way they are.  Those who know Herb will readily believe that his students have it right.

Alfred D. (Fred) Stewart (M.A., 1968; is associate professor of English at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he has taught philosophy as well as English for a good many years.  He and his wife, Margaret, are celebrating the arrival of their first (and still brand new) granddaughter­Macaela Kierston Stewart, the daughter of John Williams Stewart, youngest son in the Stewart clan.

Robert J. Thompson (Ph.D., 2004; is teaching in the philosophy department of Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho), where he will become department chair in the fall of 2005.  He received the 2004 Provost Dissertation Award (at OU).

Barry Vaughan (Ph.D., 1999; continues to teach at Mesa Community College (Arizona) and do various other things.  He is director of MCC's Study Abroad in Ireland program (a summer program centered in Athlone, Co. Westmeath) and is an at-large representative of MCC on the Maricopa Community College District Faculty Executive Council (the union).  He presented a public lecture, "Syncratism and Religious Identity in Ireland: Reflections on Art, Iconography, Architecture, and the Future Public Identity of Ireland," and participated in a public lecture/debate on cloning.

Don Viney (Ph.D., 1982; has been named a University Professor at Pittsburg [no final h] (Kansas) State University, which has been his academic home since 1984.  He has an article--"Process Theism," listed under "Theism, Process"--in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online); "A Lamp to Our Doubts: Ferré, Hartshorne, and Theistic Arguments," in a festschrift for Frederick Ferré soon to be published by Heritage Press.  He delivered a couple of papers at Claremont School of Theology--"Teilhard and Process Philosophy Redux" and "Whitehead's Adventurous Religion as His Legacy to Theology"--the first of which will appear in Process Studies.

Sahabeddin Yalçin (Ph.D., 2001; is an assistant professor (with an imminent promotion to a tenure-track associate professorship) at Muðla University in his native Turkey.  He has been serving as the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at his university since last August.  He is teaching and trying to work in some research as well.  He would be pleased to hear from anyone in the OU Philosophy Department.


We welcome your updates and comments.  Please fill out this page and return it to Editor, OU Philosophy Newsletter, Department of Philosophy, 455 West Lindsey, Room 605, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-2006; or fax it to (405) 325-2660.  You can also respond online at the department's Web site  Thank you.


Mailing Address:



E-Mail Address:      

Phone number:                                                                                                Fax Number:

Year graduated:                                                                                             Degree(s) earned: