Category Archives: philosophy

Book review: How We Hope, by Adrienne Martin

Just about one year ago, I started reading Adrienne Martin’s book, How We Hope: A Moral Psychology, which I had been asked to review for the journal Mind.  I really enjoyed reading it, especially Martin’s dualist theory of motivation, and the book review was a good project to work on during my stay in Seattle that summer. Over these last months, I had nearly forgotten about my book review, but then I got an email this week saying that it is now available via advance access. You can read the full text here, or a pdf here. You don’t have to be a Mind subscriber to access the review for free via these links (thank you, Mind)!

European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions in Athens

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a paper at the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions (EPSSE) in Athens, Greece. I have to say that it was a wonderful experience!

I also presented at the group’s inaugural conference in Lisbon in 2014, and both times, it was the kind of conference I really look forward to: the attendees included people from all sorts of different places who were friendly and supportive while still giving interesting and challenging feedback, which was informed by a wide range of different philosophical methods and areas of expertise. I highly recommend EPSSE to anyone who has a philosophical interest in the emotions!

I would like to mention just a handful of my favorite talks from the conference, which include “Admiration and Moral Responsibility,” by Alfred Archer, “Affective Consciousness and Moral Responsibility,” by Alex Madva, “The Break-Up Check: Testing Theories of Romantic Love in Relationship Terminations,” by Pila Lopez-Cantero, “Moral Regret and the Psychological Constitution of the Kantian Agent,” by Katherine Giambastiani, “Emergent Emotion,” by Elaine O’Connell, and “Scaffolded Affectivity,” by Achim Stephan and Sven Walter. Now if only my paper would revise itself in light of everything I learned …

Northwestern University Society for the Theory of Ethics and Politics (NUSTEP)

I want to express my appreciation to the organizers of NUSTEP for inviting me to serve as commentator at this year’s conference; I had a really good time. The highlight for me was Nomy Arpaly’s talk about “good old-fashioned benevolence,” which was an excellent model of how to make precise and rigorous argument using well-crafted examples but without using any jargon, while expressing a great sense of humor, all at the same time!

Of course, some nice walks along Lake Michigan and good local food were also very welcome. Regarding food in Evanston, Found Kitchen deserves a special mention – the many dishes I tried were all delicious, the space had a great atmosphere, and the people involved enact a worthy social mission of hiring and training people coming out of homelessness.

Thanks, ASPiRE Program!

I’m grateful to share the good news that I have received a New Faculty Start Up Grant from the ASPiRE Program at Ball State University. Specifically, this $3,000 grant will enable me to travel to a couple of additional conferences in the coming year and buy some books to help me advance my research on collective moral responsibility.

The experience of writing my grant proposal was really valuable, in that it helped me reflect on my current research and do some long-term planning. Even more importantly, the success of the proposal means I’ll get additional institutional support as I move forward with my work. So thank you very much, Sponsored Projects Administration and ASPiRE Program, for helping me prepare my grant and for accepting my proposal!

WOGAP tomorrow

Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing some of my work at WOGAP, the workshop on gender and philosophy that is hosted at MIT. The topic of my paper, moral responsibility and its relation to one’s conceptual repertoire, is one that I have found very interesting and challenging over the past year and change, so I’m eagerly looking forward to the discussion.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to share my work with folks whose company and insights I have so enjoyed during all the other WOGAP sessions I’ve attended these past two years, and for the chance to thank them for the good times in person before I move away this summer.

New job at Ball State University starting Fall 2015

I am simply thrilled to say that this coming fall, I’ll be joining the faculty at Ball State University as Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies! While those who need to know have known about this for a while, there is an extra dose of niceness in sharing the good news publicly.

Though I’ll miss some wonderful people in New Hampshire when I’m gone and I won’t get to continue participating in some important ongoing projects here, moving to Ball State is going to open up lots more opportunities for me to meet my long-term goals (professionally and otherwise), so I am really looking forward to what lies ahead.



Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews

Many of my fellow nerds (ahem, professors) have probably already seen or heard about this, but I just have to post a link to this amazing, interactive chart that is chockablock with data about how students writing online evaluations use different words to describe professors of different genders/sexes and in different disciplines.

I linked to one of the iterations of the chart that makes me feel good, but if you search for different words, you can find other patterns that may make you feel good and patterns that may make you want to cry and/or scream. Some of them are unsurprising, but some of them honestly blew my mind. For instance, why would students regularly use ‘the’ more times per million words when evaluating male professors and ‘when’ more times when evaluating female professors?

Lots of food for thought here, so bon appetit!


Exploring Collaborative Contestations and Diversifying Philosophy

Deeply nestled into multiple feet of snow, with more on the way, I’m longing for spring and so looking forward to presenting a paper at the Hypatia and APA Committee on the Status of Women conference being hosted by Villanova University in May. The joint conference is itself a great idea, Philadelphia is a wonderful city, and my last Hypatia conference (the 25th anniversary one in Seattle) was nothing short of stellar, so there is plenty to be happy about right there.

But wait, there is more! I’m adding some extra specialness by taking the train from Boston to Philly. I rode Amtrak from Iowa to Boston with my family as a kid, went back and forth between Portland and Seattle multiple times on Amtrak, made it from Denver to Iowa in a blizzard on a train, and have had some unforgettable trips on trains in Europe and Morocco. Despite the major unpleasantness of that seemingly endless trip out of Denver, I really enjoy the experience of being on a train. Of course, train travel also emits much less carbon than going by car or plane, so that is one more thing to paste a smile on my face (although it doesn’t make my toes any warmer)!

“Courage as an Environmental Virtue” just published in Environmental Ethics

The latest issue of the journal Environmental Ethics contains an article by yours truly, which is called “Courage as an Environmental Virtue.” Here is a brief abstract:

In this paper, I argue for the claim that we should give courage a more significant place in our understanding of how familiar virtues can and should be reshaped to capture what it is to be virtuous relative to the environment. After discussing the virtues that tend to be emphasized by environmental virtue ethicists and some ways that courage is different from them, I build on Matthew Pianalto’s account of moral courage to explain what a specifically environmental moral courage would look like. Then I discuss three benefits that we can expect to gain by recognizing courage as an environmental virtue: (1) it helps us recognize the high stakes nature of much environmental activism, (2) it can make environmental activism (or tolerance of it) appealing to a broader audience, and (3) it aides in the de-militarization of the concept of courage.