A Newsletter Published by the Department of Philosophy
The University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma 73019-0535
(405) 325-6324

Number 3 Spring 1997


July 1, 1996

As many of you may know, Ray decided to step down from his duties as chair and I was asked to step in. I am sure that I speak for everyone associated with the department in the last five years when I say that we will miss his strong, fair, and effective leadership. But we are happy to see Ray finally and deservedly get the opportunity to take pleasure once again in his teaching, his research, and indeed life itself.

Not surprisingly, Ray’s last year as chair--the 1995-1996 academic year--was a very good year for the department. First, we offered for the first time our Philosophy Capstone Course for senior majors. Second, we completed some rather extensive curricula development. Third, we successfully initiated what we hope to be an annual event--the University of Oklahoma Undergraduate Colloquium. Fourth, we graduated some majors and placed Barry Vaughan, who promises to be our next Ph.D., in a good teaching job. And, fifth, we welcomed Wayne Riggs as the newest member of the faculty--as well as Michael Riggs, the newest member of Wayne’s family!

Finally, I look forward to my new responsibilities with considerable fear and trembling. But I also anticipate with great pleasure the opportunity to work and to interact with you--the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the department--in the years to come. Have a wonderful year!

Hugh H. Benson, Chair 


Tom Boyd was named a 1996 Oklahoma Foundation for Exellence recipient of the Medal for Excellence in Teaching at the college level. The award recognizes Tom for his many important contributions as an educator, role model and leader in the continuing pursuit of excellence in higher education in the state of Oklahoma. Congratulations, Tom! 


On April 20, 1996, the Philosophy Department held its first Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. It was both well-attended and well-received by students and faculty. The conference was sponsored by the OU Philosophical Society, the University of Oklahoma Department of Philosophy, and the University of Oklahoma Student Association. Randy Ridenour, who is one of our graduate students, did an outstanding job in seeking funding for the conference and in organizing it. Another graduate student, William Ferraiolo, assisted Randy in organizing the conference. Papers for the conference were solicited statewide and were refereed by Randy and William. Four papers were presented, two by three of our majors, and all of them were commented on by some of our graduate students:

Frank Page (University of Central Oklahoma), "Active Voluntary Euthanasia?" Respondent: TJ Singleton.

Chad Burrow and Les Bussell (University of Oklahoma), "An Early Dialogue on the Nature of Humor: A Neo-Platonic Existentialist Comedy." Respondent: Barry Vaughan.

Kelsey Avants (Cameron University), "Justice, A Way of Looking Forward To." Respondent: Chris Springer.

William Allen Buck Jr. (University of Oklahoma), "Truth and Tolerance." Respondent: Steve Forrester.

William Ferraiolo, Steve Forrester, Randy Ridenour, and Vassiliki Papapostolou chaired sessions at the conference.

The department would like to thank all the students who participated in the conference and congratulate them for their outstanding work.


In honor of the late Professor J. 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 1995-1996 recipient of the J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship is Kevin Daryl Smith, a philosophy major taking minors in psychology and history. Among the awards he has received are memberships in Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Golden Key National Honor Society, and Alpha Lambda Delta national Honor Society. He is a National Merit Scholar, Oklahoma Chancellor Scholar, Oklahoma Summer Scholar and Oklahoma Academic All-State. Kevin's special intrests in philosophy include ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, logic, and the free will vs. determinism debate. Upon receiving his B.A., he intends to enter law school.


In October 1995, the Philosophy Department selected Lee Basham as the second recipient of the $1,000 Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award. He was selected for the second year in a row. The Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award is given to recognize outstanding teaching by a Philosophy Department graduate student.

In 1995-1996, Lee taught a section of Introduction to Philosophy in the fall and 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.

The award is named in honor of Professor Kenneth R. Merrill for his long and distinguished career in teaching and in service. We are grateful to Mark L. Conkling, a Ph.D. philosophy alumnus, for his generous donation and for his help in establishing the award.


The following speakers presented papers to the department in 1995-1996: Jean Hampton (University of Arizona), "Punishment, Feminism, and Political Identity: A Case Study in the Expressive Nature of the Law"; Tibor R. Machan (Auburn University), "Liberty, Decency and Racial Justice"; Alan Ryan (Department of Politics, Princeton University), "Pragmatism, Patriotism and American Identity"; William Lycan (University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill), "Real Coherentism"; Colin Allen (Texas A&M University/College Station), "Why Be Conscious?"; Denise Meyerson (University of Cape Town), "On Being Oneself"; Paul Taylor (University of Cape Town), "Spontaneity and Meaning in Speech and Writing"; Russell Shafer-Landau (University of Kansas), "Ethical Intuitionism." All departmental colloquia were co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the OU Philosophical Society.

William Lycan also presented a public lecture, entitled "What is the ‘Problem of Consciousness’?" His lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the OU Philosophical Society, and the OU Speaker’s Bureau. 


The Philosophy Department sent questionnaires in summer of 1995 to all philosophy alumni majors who graduated from OU between (and including) the years of 1982 and 1992. The survey was part of the department's self-assessment study of its undergraduate program. We would like to thank those of you who sent us your completed questionnaires. Your replies were very helpful and will help strengthen our undergraduate program.


B.A. degrees were conferred to the following philosophy majors in 1995-1996: Sharail Lynn Cluck, Kay Gooch, Rodney Bruce Killgore, Chris David Springer, Roksana Alavi, Jesse Wade Butler (special distinction), James M. Forgotson, III, William Joseph Gibson, Charles J. Libro Jr., Leslie M. Miller, Michael Dale Rose, Kyle J. Standeford, Robert C. Yandian.

William Allen Buck Jr. and Amy Ziettlow presented papers at the Undergraduate Religious Studies Conference, which was held in March at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri).

Ty Nance was selected by the College of Arts and Sciences to receive a 1996-1997 Friends of the College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship. Congratulations, Ty! 


During 1995-96, the Ph.D. degree in philosophy was conferred to Arthur Prince (supervisor: Merrill).

The M.A. degree (with thesis) in philosophy was conferred to Mark Mitchell (supervisor: Sankowski) and Steve Forrester (supervisor: Riggs) in 1995-1996.

The M.A. degree (non-thesis) in philosophy was conferred to the following students in 1995-1996: Roxanne Holder, Kathleen Poorman, and Michelle Bushore.

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

Barry Vaughan accepted a teaching position at Mesa Community College (Mesa, Arizona) as a lecturer for 1996-1997. Congratulations, Barry!

John Bradshaw taught an introduction to logic course for us in 1995-1996 as an adjunct instructor. John also taught at the University of Central Oklahoma as an adjunct.

Lee Hester taught at Oklahoma City University during 1995-1996. He received a $2,000 summer 1996 graduate research assistantship from the University of Oklahoma Graduate College. Lee accepted a visiting assistant professor position for 1996-97 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Kathleen Poorman Dougherty was selected in a nationwide competition to participate in a Teaching Seminar for Advanced Graduate Students, held at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Virginia), July 31-August 4. The seminar was presented by Professor Martin Benjamin (Michigan State University), and was co-sponsored by the American Philosophical Association and the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. It was part of the 11th International Workshop and Conference on Teaching Philosophy. Well done, Kathleen!

William Ferraiolo was selected by OU’s Humanities Center Board to be its first recipient of the $500 Dissertation Award. The award recognizes dissertations-in-progress that make an outstanding contribution to knowledge in the humanities. Ferraiolo’s dissertation is a critical study on relativism and different versions thereof. Professor Chris Swoyer is his supervisor. Congratulations, Bill!

Several students either presented a paper or commented on a paper at a philosophy conference during 1995-96. Edward Cox commented on Murat Aydede's paper, "Pure Informational Semantics and the Problem of Non-Disjunctive Content," at the Mid-South Philosophy Conference. William Ferraiolo delivered a paper, entitled "Black’s ‘Twin Globe’ Counterexample," to the North Texas Philosophical Society last April. Steve Forrester had a paper accepted at a conference at SUNY Binghampton last October, but was unable to attend. His paper was a study on the connection between Aristotle’s Poetics and Aristotle’s ethics. Chris Herrera presented a talk, "Applying Kant’s Ethics to Deceptive Psychology Experiments," at the November 1995 Southwestern Philosophical Society meeting, in Austin, Texas. He received travel support from the Graduate College. Lee Hester commented on Jordan Curnutt's "A New Argument for Vegetarianism" at the 1996 Pacific APA meetings. Randy Ridenour delivered a paper, "Fisk on the Ontological Status of Relations," to the Mid-South Philosophy Conference, which was held at the University of Memphis, in February. He also commented on a paper by Mylan Engle, entitled "The New Presumption of Atheism," at the same conference. Randy presented another paper, "Psychological Realism, Moral Objectivity, and Christian Ethics," at the Midwestern Regional Meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers, which was held at Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa). He received travel support from the Graduate College. Barry Vaughan presented a paper, entitled "Socrates’ Commitment to Biconditionality in the ‘Protogoras’," at a Departmental Brown Bag Luncheon in October.

We welcome the following new students to our graduate program: Daniel Biederman, Anita Chancey, Dustin Denson, Kevin Durand, Eric Scott Jones, Mark Lindell, Rick Roberson, and Robert Thompson


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

Neera Badhwar has a forthcoming paper, "The Limited Unity of Virtue," in Nous. She has another forthcoming paper, "Self-Interest and Virtue," in Social Philosophy and Policy and in Self-Interest, edited by E.F. Paul (Cambridge University Press). An article on friendship is forthcoming in the new Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Routledge, 1998). She presented her paper, "Self-Interest and Virtue," at the Social Philosophy and Policy Conference on Self-Interest last September and at the University of Florida last March. Neera also commented on Barbara Mackinnon’s "Intending Harm" at the 1996 American Philosophical Association Meetings, Pacific Division, in Seattle.

Hugh Benson completed his book manuscript, Socratic Wisdom: The Model of Knowledge in Plato’s Dialogue, which Oxford University Press is currently reviewing for possible publication. He has a forthcoming paper, "Socrates and the Beginnings of Moral Philosophy," in History of Philosophy: From the Beginning to Plato, edited by C.C.W. Taylor (Routledge, 1998). He presented a paper, "A Framework for a Socratic Dynamic Theory," at the Arizona Colloquium on Socrates, which was held at the University of Arizona in February. He delivered another invited paper, "Aristotelian Teleology," at a conference on historical perspectives on teleology. The conference was held in Saarbrucken, Germany, and was sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation. The conference directors were Nicholas White (University of Utah) and Kuno Lorenz (University of Saarbrucken). He commented on Rebecca Pagen’s "The Over-Intellectualization of Socrates" at the 1996 APA Pacific Division meetings. Pagen’s paper is a discussion of a paper that Hugh presented at the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings, entitled "The Sufficiency of Definitional Knowledge." Hugh served on the Program Committee for the 1996 American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting.

Tom Boyd agreed to be the first OU faculty member to participate in the new Faculty-in-Residence program in student residence halls initiated by President David L. Boren. The program is intended to promote student development and to create a greater sense of community. Tom was appointed by the OU Board of Regents to serve as residential dean of Couch Center.

Monte Cook presented a paper, "The Ontological Status of Malebranche’s Ideas," at the 1996 APA Central Division meetings in Chicago.

Reinaldo Elugardo commented on a paper, "Varieties of Quotation," co-authored by Herman Cappelen (UC/Berkeley) and Ernest Lepore (Rutgers), at the 1996 APA Pacific Division meetings. He also was the guest editor of the special Philosophical Studies volume of papers from the 1995 APA Pacific Division meetings.

James Hawthorne completed his book manuscript, Bayesian Induction, Probabilistic Logic, and the Logics of Defeasible Support. Kluwers Academic Publishers is considering it for possible publication. Jim was on sabbatical for 1995-1996, working on his book. We welcome him back!

Kenneth R. Merrill read a paper at the meetings of the Hume Society at the University of Nottingham, England, in July. The paper is entitled "Hume and Peirce on the Laws of Nature: Nominalism Versus Realism."

Jeffrey S. Purinton commented on Timothy O'Keefe's "The Ontological Status of Sensible Qualities for Democritus and Epicurus" at the 1996 APA Central Division meetings.

Wayne Riggs has a forthcoming paper, "The Weakness of Strong Justification," in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Edward Sankowski presented five conference papers this past year: "Post-Aparthied Higher Education in South Africa" (co-authored with Professor Betty Harris, Department of Anthropology and the Director of Women’s Studies at OU) at the "Africa 2000" conference, Mid-America Alliance for African Studies, University of Kansas (Lawrence), last September; "Film and the Politics of Culture," American Society for Aesthetics Meetings, St. Louis, in November; "Community in Recent Political Theory," American Anthropological Association Meeting, Washington D.C., in November; "Autonomy, Institutions, and Education," Society for Social and Political Philosophy, in April; and, "Autonomy, Blame, Fiction, and Emotion," American Society for Aesthetics, Rocky Mountain Division Meeting, St. John’s College, Santa Fe New Mexico, in July. Ed also commented on a paper on political philosophy at the Central States Philosophical Association meeting, Mount Pleasant Michigan, last October.

Chris Swoyer has three forthcoming papers: "Theories of Properties: From Plenitude to Paucity," Philosophical Perspectives; "Complex Predicates and Theories of Properties and Relations," Journal of Philosophical Logic; and "Complex Predicates and Conversion Principles," Philosophical Studies. His previously published paper, "The Nature of Natural Laws," will be reprinted in a book in a series under the general editorship of John Skorupski and published by Dartmouth publishing company. The book that will contain Chris’s paper is Theory, Evidence and Explanation. He has two entries, "Relativism" and "Properties," for the Stanford University/CSLI Electronic Dictionary of Philosophy. Chris also presented a paper, "The Autonomy of Relations," to the Philosophy Department at the University of Florida (Gainesville), last March. He presented another paper, "The Preface Paradox," at the Southwest Philosophical Society Meetings last November.

Zev Trachtenberg has a forthcoming paper, "The Takings Clause and the Meanings of Land," in the inaugural issue of Philosophy and Geography. He presented a paper, entitled "Identifying Environmental Takings," at the 1996 APA Central Division meetings. Zev also presented a Brown Bag Luncheon talk to the Department on "Active Learning Techniques for Teaching Philosophy" last November. 


Neera Badhwar, "Friends as Ends in Themselves," previously published article reprinted in On Love and Friendship: Philosophical Readings, edited by C. Williams (Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1995), pp. 202-218.

Hugh Benson, "The Aims of the Elenchos," in Knowledge, Teaching, and Wisdom, edited by K. Lehrer, B.J. Lum, B. Slichta, and N.D. Smith (Kluwer, 1995), pp. 21-33. Monte Cook, "Descartes and the Dustbin of the Mind," History of Philosophical Quarterly, January (1996).

James Hawthorne, "On the Logic of NonMonotonic Conditionals and Conditional Probabilities," The Journal of Philosophical Logic 25 (1996), pp. 185-218.

Edward Sankowski, "History of Political Philosophy," "Justice," and 10 other entries in The Oxford Companion-to-Philosophy, edited by T. Honderich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

Chris Swoyer: Zev Trachtenberg, "Rousseau's Critique of Cartharsis," Pensee Libre, No.5, (1995).


The following faculty members received grants, honors, or appointments during 1995-1996. We congratulate them all for their fine accomplishments.

Neera Badhwar was selected, from an international competition of top scholars, as a 1996-1997 Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. She was one of only six scholars to be chosen for this prestigious honor. Neera will be in residence at Princeton’s The University Center for Human Values, and will be devoting her time on her research in virtue ethics and in participating in the activities of the University Center.

Edward Sankowski was named a faculty administrative fellow for the University of Oklahoma, Norman campus, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. His work in the Provost’s Office includes coordination of the Campus Department Review Panel, strategic planning, issues of faculty evaluation procedures, and conflict of interest issues. Ed also received a $1,000 internal NEH 1996-1997 Fellowship Award from the Research Council in May 1995 for preparation and submission of proposal for a 1995-1996 NEH Fellowship.

Zev Trachtenberg received a $1,000 internal NEH 1996-1997 Fellowship Award from the Research Council for preparation and submission of a proposal for a 1996-1997 NEH Fellowship. 


Shelley Konieczny and her husband, Robert Konieczny, are members of a musical band, "SFB." Their band plays mainly blues, pop, and older rock and roll music. Bob plays guitar and Shelley sings. Thus far, SFB has played at local parties. Best wishes to Shelley and Bob on their musical ventures!

Susan Nostrand had a good reason to celebrate last year. Her husband, Professor Richard Nostrand of OU’s Department of Geography, became the first recipient of the Angie Debo Prize for his book, The Hispano Homeland. The prize, named after the famed Oklahoma historian, is for the best book on the American Southwest published by the OU Press. The book is about the Spanish-speaking people of New Mexico and is the culmination of 10 years of detailed research and writing. Professor Nostrand’s book was also selected as a ‘Choice Outstanding Academic Book" in 1994 and received honorable mention for the "Spain and America in the Quincentennial of the Discovery Prize." Professor Nostrand was also honored as a David Ross Boyd Professor in 1995-1996. Congratulations to Richard and Susan! 


The Philosophy Department would like to express its appreciation to the following individuals and corporations for their contributions over the years to our OU Foundation Scholarships and Funds. Their generous efforts have helped enrich our students' educational experience and have helped our faculty to conduct their research. Matching contributors are also listed below. We thank you.

Contributors to the Mueller Fund: Neera Badhwar, Thomas W. Basham, Walter L. Conner, Darian DeBolt, Virgil M. Harry III, Robert Wayne Hopper, June Howland, Gary Huffaker, Nancy McClelland, Thomas M. Murphy, Janie Robertson, Edward Rousar, Christopher M. Schultz, Dr. Alfred D. Stewart, Michael Jay Strait, and Chris Swoyer.

Matching Contributors: Kerr-McGee, General Electric Foundation, Martin Marietta Corporation, and the Edward Rousar Living Trust.

Contributor to the J. Clayton Feaver Scholarship Fund: Audrey Maehl.

Contributor to the Kingfisher College Trust Fund: O.K. Detrick Foundation.

Contributor to the Kenneth R. Merrill Graduate Teaching Award: Mark L. Conkling. 


The Department of Philosophy is very happy to announce the addition of two new members to its extended family. Wayne and Karen (Antell) Riggs introduced Michael Elliot Riggs to the world on June 24, 1996. Michael has a proud sister, Savannah, to help Mom and Dad care for him. Marc and Nika (Lee) Elugardo introduced Consuela Olivia Elugardo on September 20, 1995. Consuela has four grandparents, including Ray and Rose (Martinez-) Elugardo, and gazillions of aunts and cousins, to dote over her. 


Under this rubric, we intend to report news sent in by students and colleagues of the long and recent past. If you know of any graduates or faculty alumni not receiving copies of our newsletter, please inform us of their present addresses for our mailing list. We would like to hear from all of our alumni.

John Biro, former chair of the OU Philosophy Department and now chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Florida (Gainesville), published his anthology, Frege: Sense and Reference--One Hundred Years Later (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996). He and Corliss Swain, former philosophy faculty member of St. Olaf’s College, were married in 1995. Congratulations and best wishes to both!

Anne M. Edwards (Ph.D., 1993) accepted a tenure-track teaching position at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, beginning in fall 1996. Her paper, "A Writing Approach to Teaching Philosophy," appeared in Teaching Philosophy, June 1996.

Clark Glymour, a former OU philosophy professor and current professor in philosophy at Carnegie-Mellon University, was appointed the 1996-1997 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professor in Philosophy by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Matthew Hallgarth (M.A., 1992) is captain in the U. S. Air Force and is stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also an assistant professor in philosophy at the Air Force Academy. He published a book review of Sandra Rosenthal’s Charles Peirce’s Pragmatic Pluralism in the Review of Metaphysics. Matt was a panelist on "Teaching Ethics at Service Academies," sponsored by the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, at the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Meetings, in December 1995. In March 1996, he presented a paper at the Sixth Annual Conference on Applied Ethics in Long Beach, California, on the topic of "Whistle Blowing: Heroism or Moral Obligation." In August 1996, he presented another paper, "Environmental Obligation and Just War Theory," at the Institute for Advanced Philosophic Research, which was held in Estes Park, Colorado. The Institute was on the general topic of "Nature and Human Nature."

Donald Jones (Ph.D.,1979) was appointed director of liberal studies and distance learning at the University of Central Florida, which is where he currently teaches philosophy.

Judith Little (Ph.D., 1994), who teaches philosophy at SUNY (Potsdam), was a participant in a 1996 NEH summer seminar, supervised by Chandra Talpade Mohanty (Hamilton College), in Potsdam. The seminar was on Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Globalization.

Michael Silberstein (Ph.D. 1994), who teaches philosophy at Elizabethtown College, received its Templeton Award, which is a college-wide, competitive, research award for junior faculty. As part of his award, Michael did some summer research at Oxford University. The award also includes $10,000 to cover his expenses to Oxford and to organize a small philosophy workshop at Elizabethtown College.

Michael Tetzlaff (M.A., 1987) is entering the Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland (College Park).

Reverand Laurence G. Varvel (M.A., 1983) is the senior pastor at Quail Springs United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He received his master's of divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California) in 1986.

James Kythe Walkswithwind (B.A., 1992) completed her M.A. in philosophy at the University of Arizona in June. She moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, where she now works as a bookkeeper for her family.

Lea Wolfe (B.A. in Ethics and Religion, 1992) will be attending Oklahoma State University, College of Medicine, in Tulsa in fall 1996.


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 73019-0535. Or fax it: (405)325-2660.


Mailing Address:

E-Mail Address:

Phone number: FAX Number:

Year graduated: Degree(s) earned:



Return to OU Philosophy Home Page