A Newsletter Published by the Department of Philosophy

The University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma 73019-0535

(405) 325-6324

Number 2 Fall 1995


Due to your support, our first departmental newsletter was a major success! Many faculty members, students, staff members, and alumni enjoyed our first issue and expressed their interest in an annual departmental newsletter. I hope that you will find our second newsletter as informative and as helpful as the first. Let us know what you think.

The 1994-95 academic year was a very good year for the department. First, we did extremely well on a very thorough external program review: our record on research, teaching and service was judged to be impressive at all levels in spite of our limited resources. Second, we made two important positive tenure and promotion decisions. Third, we added a new member to our faculty. And, fourth, we graduated some more majors and placed some more Ph.D. students in good teaching jobs.

This new academic year promises to be an exciting one. Next spring, we will offer for the first time our Philosophy Capstone Course for senior majors. Plans are under way to establish a one-time award for the best graduate research paper. And we are planning some exciting colloquia.

I would like to thank all of the alumni who contacted me after receiving the first newsletter. As you will read below, they are doing splendidly. We are eager to hear from others. I invite you to share your thoughts and comments with us.

Have a wonderful year!

--Reinaldo Elugardo, Chair--

J. CLAYTON FEAVER, 1911-1995

It is with great sadness and a sense of personal loss that we report the death of J. Clayton Feaver, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Oklahoma. He was born the 24th of June 1911, in Fowler, California, and died the 14th of July 1995, in Norman, Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife, Margaret; a son, John; and two daughters, Elaine and Ellen.

Clayton came to the University of Oklahoma in 1951, as the first tenant of the Kingfisher College Chair in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Over the next thirty years--until his retirement in 1981--he taught, quite literally, thousands of students--probably more than any teacher in the history of the University. In 1959, he was awarded a David Ross Boyd Professorship, in recognition of his outstanding work in teaching and advising. After his retirement from teaching, he continued to serve as director of the Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP) for an additional six years. And he regularly took part in jointly taught courses at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha--for the last time in the spring of this year. Clayton was alive all his life.

Clayton's passion for teaching extended to adult education. In the early 1960's, he played a major role in the establishment of the College of Liberal Studies, where he continued to teach for the next three decades. He was also instrumental in establishing the Southwest Center for Human Relations.

It is a safe bet that none of the thousands of students in Clayton's classes ever forgot him. He was a memorable teacher. His friends and colleagues remember him as a man in whom endless patience was combined with liveliness and a great sense of humor (which could sometimes be puckish). He sought always to emphasize the things that bring people together rather than what separates them. He exemplified in his life one of his favorite sayings: "There are no boundaries."

--Kenneth R. Merrill--


The Department is pleased to announce that two of its faculty members were promoted last year. Professor James Hawthorne was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. Professor Chris Swoyer was promoted to Full Professor. Thanks to all of you who participated in some way in the process that resulted in two decisions that will greatly strengthen and benefit the Department.


The Department is pleased to announce Wayne Riggs' appointment to its faculty this fall. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Wayne earned his B.A. degree in philosophy at Texas A&M University (College Station). He completed his Ph.D. degree this past summer at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) under the joint supervision of William G. Lycan and Michael Resnik. His area of specialization is epistemology. We are very happy to have him in our department.


Tom Boyd was selected as the UOSA Professor of the Year for 1994-1995! He is most deserving of the honor. In addition to his excellent teaching performance, Tom did an outstanding job as Chair of OU's Faculty Senate. He also co-chaired President David Boren's Panel on Reinvigorating the Undergraduate Experience. Quite a year, Tom!


In honor of Professor Clayton Feaver's contributions to the Philosophy Department curriculum while he served as the Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, the J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship was established by Mrs. Audrey Maehl. The recipients are undergraduate Philosophy majors and Ethics & Religion majors who are selected on the basis of their academic records. Mrs. Maehl was the first Kingfisher College Fellow at the University of Oklahoma. The department is very grateful for her tribute to Dr. Feaver, which has enabled us to recognize some of our outstanding undergraduate majors.

The 1994-95 J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship recipient is Jeff Winesett, a double major in Philosophy and Physics. Jeff has an overall 3.7 GPA with a combined 3.9 GPA in his two majors. His main interest is philosophy of physics; he plans to attend graduate school. Other honors include the J. Karcher Scholarship for Physics (three years standing), the Dean's and President's Honor Roll (every semester), the Physics Departmental Award for Meritorious Scholarship (every year).


In honor of Professor Kenneth R. Merrill's long and distinguished career in teaching and in service, the Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award was established to recognize graduate-student teaching excellence. It carries a one-time cash prize. The recipient is selected in the fall from nominations submitted on the basis of teaching during the previous academic year. We are grateful to Mr. Mark L. Conkling, a Ph.D. philosophy alumnus, for his generous donation and for his help in establishing the award.

In October 1994, the Philosophy Department selected Lee Basham to receive the first Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award. In 1993-94, Lee taught two sections of Introduction to Philosophy. He received some of the highest teaching evaluations in the College of Arts and Sciences. Lee was recognized for his innovative teaching methods, class organization and lectures, and his concern for students.


Professor Alvin Plantinga, University of Notre Dame, presented the third David Ross Boyd Lectures on October 5-7, 1994. He presented three lectures on the general topic Warrant and Christian Belief: "What's The Question?"; "Warranted Christian Belief"; and "An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism." His lectures were thought-provoking and well-received by the university community. Copies of Professor Plantinga's lecture outlines may be obtained from the Department. Please contact: Reinaldo Elugardo. E-mail: relugardo@uoknor.edu.


The following speakers presented papers to the Department in 1994-95: Alvin Goldman, University of Arizona, "Social Epistemology" (co-sponsored with the OU Philosophical Society, UOSA, and the OU Speakers' Bureau); Yael Tamir, Tel Aviv University and The University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, "Are We All In It Together? Reflections on the Nature of Collective Guilt, Collective Punishment and Collective Rights"; Steven Nadler, University of Wisconsin/Madison, "God and Motion: Causation Among the Cartesians"; Seth Crook, Reed College, "On Some Epistemological Objections to Mathematical Platonism"; Wayne Riggs, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, "Truth, Justification, and Epistemic Value."

Among the speakers we plan to have in 1995-96 is Lawrence Thomas, Syracuse University. For more information about this year's colloquia schedule, please contact Professor Chris Swoyer (E-mail: cswoyer@ou.edu). To add your name to our mailing list, please call the department or contact Shelley Konieczny (E-mail: skonieczny@uoknor.edu).


You are cordially invited to present a paper at our Philosophy Brown Bag Series. The paper should be work-in-progress and may be on any topic in philosophy. The Series provides students and faculty an informal context to share their current work with others. They are scheduled on Friday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Department's Lounge. If you are interested in presenting an informal talk, please contact Professor Chris Swoyer.


Our annual fall picnic was held at the Andrews Park pavilion. As usual, we had great food and lots of it. And with the cold weather that day, we were glad to have the indoor setup. After eating, we enjoyed a roaring fire in the outdoor fireplace. You are always invited to bring your guitars and join us!


This summer, the Philosophy Department mailed questionnaires to all OU philosophy undergraduate alumni who graduated between (and including) the years 1982 and 1992. The survey is part of the Department's self-assessment of its undergraduate program.

If you have received a questionnaire, we ask that you please complete it and mail it back to the Department. If you did not receive a survey form and you wish to participate, please contact Ms. Susan Nostrand by writing or calling the department office. You may also reach Susan by E-mail: snostrand@uoknor.edu.

Your response is very important to us. Thus, we would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you.


During 1994-95, five Philosophy majors were awarded B.A. degrees: Tamara Celeste Faust, Jeffrey Winesett (with distinction; double-major in philosophy and physics), Alan Ray Laird, Edward Privett Leader and Michael Smalley.

Three Ethics and Religion majors also received B.A. degrees: Jason Bradley Simpson, Jennifer Bennett Wares (with special distinction) and John David Rhea.


The Ph.D. degree in philosophy was conferred on the following students in 1994-95: Barney Jack Doss (supervisor: Merrill) and Michael Silberstein (supervisor: Elugardo).

The M.A. degree (with thesis) in philosophy was conferred on Vassiliki Papapostolou (supervisor: Swoyer) in 1994-95.

The M.A. degree (non-thesis) in philosophy was conferred on the following students in 1994-95: Edward Cox, Maria Paleologou, Guy David Roberts and Steven Henry Wyre. In our first newsletter, we neglected to mention that William Ferraiolo received his M.A. degree (non-thesis) in 1993-94. We apologize for the oversight, Bill.

We are all very proud of our students and wish them continued success in their programs and in their careers.

Karen Mizell was reappointed as a visiting assistant professor at Brigham Young University for 1995-96.

Rafael Rondón has accepted a tenure-track teaching position in philosophy at California State University/Pomona beginning fall of 1995.

John Bradshaw is teaching an undergraduate course for us this fall as an adjunct instructor. John also taught this past year as an adjunct at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Lee Hester continues teaching at Oklahoma City University this year. He contributed a solicited entry on "Sovereignty" for the Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia, edited by Christopher Gray (Garland Publishers). He has completed two entries ("Annuities" and "Guns") and is working on two more ("Native American Philosophy" and "Moieties") for Don Birchfield (general editor), The Encyclopedia of Native North America. Lee has been elected to the Word Craft Circle Writers Group.

Several students have either commented on or presented a paper at a philosophy conference last year. Gordon Dabbs delivered a paper, "Descartes on Thought and Language," to the Mid-South Philosophy Conference, which was held at The University of Memphis, last February. His commentator was the distinguished philosopher, Gareth Matthews (University of Massachusetts/Amherst). Last October, William Ferraiolo presented his paper, "Individualism and Descartes," at the 1994 National Graduate Student Conference, which was held in St. Louis at Washington University. Last March, T.J. Singleton commented on a paper, entitled "The Communitarian Criticism of Liberalism", at the Syracuse University Graduate Philosophy Conference. Both Dabbs and Singleton received travel support funding from the Graduate College.

Stefan Forrester and Rafael Rondón co-authored a paper, "A Pragmatic Perspective on the False Dichotomy Between the Sacred and the Profane," which was accepted for the October 1995 International Conference on The Sacred and the Profane. "A Bayesian Prospective on Peircean Probability and Induction," co-authored by Rondón and Professor James Hawthorne, was accepted for the August 1995 Tenth International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, held in Florence, Italy.

Chris Herrera's article "Civil Disobedience and Plato's Crito" appeared in Vol. XXXIII (1995) of The Southern Journal of Philosophy.

Arthur Prince, who resides in Memphis, is a member of a newsletter committee for The Memphis Race Relations and Diversity Institute. According to Arthur, the committee's function is to broaden its coverage of diversity issues in the Institute's official quarterly publication, The Same Difference.

During 1994-95, Kathleen Poorman was appointed to the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Student Advisory Committee as part of the Support for Faculty Teaching and Research. Kathleen was also active in student government, serving as Chair of the External Affairs Committee for the Graduate Student Senate. During 1995-96 she is serving as GSS Secretary.

T. J. Singleton has been very active in the Graduate Student Senate. During 1992-93 and 1993-94, he was elected Philosophy Department representative; he served as GSS Chair during 1994-95; and for 1995-96, he was elected GSS Vice-Chair in addition to representing Philosophy.

During 1993-94 and 1994-95, we welcomed several new students to our graduate program: Chip Barrett, Michelle Bushore, Edward Cox, Michelle Crocheron, Stefan Forrester, Ki-Soo Kim, Albert Kostelny, John Loffland, Brint Montgomery, Kathleen Poorman, Donald Wolf, and Steven Wyre.

Congratulations and best wishes go to Michael Tetzlaff (M.A., 1987) and his wife, Sylvia Jane Wallace, who were wedded at OU's Medieval Fair last April. We would also like to send our congratulations and best wishes to Kathleen Poorman and her husband, Michael Dougherty (Psychology Department), who were married in Ohio last August.


Each newsletter will cover faculty academic activities over a one-year period, from the beginning of one fall semester to the beginning of the next fall semester.

Neera Badhwar presented a paper, "Moral Agency, Commitment, and Impartiality," at the Social Philosophy and Policy Conference on Community, Individual, and the State, which was held in Palo Alto, in October 1994. This paper is forthcoming in Social Philosophy and Policy and in an anthology entitled Community, Individual, and the State, edited by E.F. Paul (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Neera also presented a paper, "Aristotle and Altruism," at the American Philosophical Association Meetings, Eastern Division, in December 1994.

Hugh Benson presented his paper, "The Sufficiency of Definitional Knowledge," at the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, in March 1995. His paper, "The Dissolution of the Problem of the Elenchus," is forthcoming in The Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Another paper, "The Aims of the Socratic Elenchos," is forthcoming in an anthology from the 1993 NEH Summer Institute on Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom. His review of Walter T. Schmid's On Manly Courage: A Study of Plato's Laches is forthcoming in Ancient Philosophy. His review of Richard Kraut's anthology, The Cambridge Companion to Plato, appeared in Ethics (1994). His paper "The Priority of Definition and the Socratic Elenchos" will be reprinted in Irwin (ed.), Socrates and Contemporaries (Garland). Hugh has completed his year-long sabbatical as a Howard Foundation Fellow and returned to the faculty full-time for the 1995-96 academic year. We welcome him back.

Darian DeBolt, who was on the faculty last year as a Visiting Lecturer, commented on a paper by Andrew Ward (San Jose State) entitled "Hume on Justified Concerns with Past and Future Actions," at the Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference. The conference was held at Creighton University in October 1994. Darian will be on the faculty as an adjunct during 1995-96.

Reinaldo Elugardo organized the main program of the 1995 American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Meeting. He was scheduled to deliver a paper entitled "Can You Have Water-Thoughts In A Waterless World?" at the 1994 Central States Philosophical Association Meeting, which was held at Vanderbilt University, last October. Due to a schedule conflict, he was unable to attend but Professor Fred Adams (Central Michigan University) read his paper in his place. Elugardo's review of Paul Moser's Philosophy After Objectivity was published in The Review of Metaphysics. His review of George Graham's Philosophy of Mind is forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology.

James Hawthorne presented a paper, "On the Nature of Bayesian Convergence," to the 1994 Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, in New Orleans, Louisiana, last October. He commented on a paper by John Halpin (Oakland University), entitled "Empiricism and Scientific Law: The Question of Necessity in Nature," at the 1995 APA Pacific Division Meetings. He has two articles forthcoming in the Journal of Philosophical Logic: "On the Logic of Nonmonotonic Conditionals and Conditional Probabilities" and "Mathematical Instrumentalism Meets the Conjunction Objection." Jim is on sabbatical leave for 1995-96 and will be working on his book on Bayesian probability and non-monotonic logic.

Kenneth R. Merrill presented "Hume on Suicide" at the 1995 APA Pacific Division Meetings.

Jeffrey S. Purinton, who joined the faculty last year as a Visiting Assistant Professor, commented on a paper by John Ferguson Heil, Jr. (University of Texas/Austin) entitled "Plato's Desire: Intentionality and the Mental in the Philebus," at the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings. Jeff is on the faculty as an adjunct during 1995-96.

Edward Sankowski presented a paper, "Racism, Human Rights, and Universities," at the American Anthropological Association, in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 1994. He also commented on a paper by Aaron Ben-Ze'ev (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) entitled "Appraisal Theories of Emotions," at the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings. In April, he gave a paper, "Justice, Humans, the Environment, and Health," at The Society for Applied Anthropology, in Albuquerque. In July, he presented another paper, "Fiction, Autonomy, and Community," to the American Society for Aesthetics, Rocky Mountain Division Meetings, in Santa Fe.

Chris Swoyer presented a paper, "Conceptions of Properties: Sparseness vs. Plentitude," in a major symposium on metaphysical theories of properties at the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings. He also has two forthcoming papers: "Theories of Properties: From Plenitude to Paucity", which will be appearing in Philosophical Perspectives, and "Designation and Conversion," which will be published in Philosophical Studies. His review of John Carroll's Laws of Nature will appear in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

Zev Trachtenberg presented "Hobbes on Civic Virtue: Sovereignty, the Will, and Right Opinion" at the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings. He presented another paper, "Rousseau on the Institution of Theatre," at the Ninth Biennial Meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Rousseau, which was held at Wabash College, Indiana, in June 1995.


Neera Badhwar, "The Circumstances of Justice: Liberalism, Community, and Friendship," in Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love, edited by Robert Stewart (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Tom Boyd, "Is Spirituality Possible Without Religion?", in Divine Representations, edited by Ann W. Astell (New York: Paulist Press, 1994).

Monte Cook, "Malebranche and Arnauld: The Argument for Ideas," in The Great Arnauld and Some of his Philosophical Correspondents, edited by Elmar J. Kremer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994).

James Hawthorne, "On the Nature of Bayesian Convergence," Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1, 1994.

Kihyeon Kim, "Deontological Conception of Epistemic Justification and Doxastic Voluntarism," Analysis, Vol. 54, 1994.

Jeffrey S. Purinton, "Magnifying Epicurean Minima," Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 14, 1994.

Edward Sankowski, "Serious Art and Autonomy," Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 28, 1994.

Chris Swoyer

Zev Trachtenberg, "Rousseau's Critique of Catharsis," Pensee Libre, No.5, 1995.

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