Undergraduate major awarded the Koury Walker First-Generation Student Summer Scholarship

Undergraduate Award thumbnail IMG 0274

Xudong Ma, a double major in philosophy and linguistics, has been selected as a recipient of the Koury Walker First-Generation Student Summer Scholarship for his research on 'Reference and Variability of Semantics' under the supervision of Professor Pietroski. Congratulations Xudong! 

We regret to announce the passing of Emeritus Professor Frederic J. Schick

schick frederic

Professor Schick worked on decision theory, philosophy of action, and philosophy of economics. He is the author of, among other things, Understanding Action: An Essay on Reasons (1991), Making Choices: A Recasting of Decision Theory (1997), and Ambiguity and Logic (2003). You can learn more about his writings here.

Professor Schick taught at Rutgers for over fifty years. Prior to that, he held appointments at Cambridge University, Columbia University, Connecticut College, Brandeis University, and the University of Washington. He earned his PhD, MA, and BA from Columbia University.

According to an obituary here, there will be a memorial service for Professor Schick on Thursday, October 20th at 3:00 pm, at The Riverside, 76th and Amsterdam Avenue, in New York City.

(via Martin Bunzl)
By Justin Weinberg. October 7, 2022 at 9:07 am

Undergraduate major to present at the 2023 Eastern Division Meeting of the APA

Jake Khawaja to give a Symposium at the 2023 Eastern APA

"My paper Rationalizing the Principal Principle for Non-Humean Chance. The paper is about the intersection of two questions. (1) what is the right way to think about the metaphysics of objective probability (i.e., chance)? And (2) what are the rational credences to adopt in light of information about the objective probability of some event?

JAKE IMG 0065Answers to the first question broadly define between Humean and Non-Humean accounts of chance. Humeans think that there is some kind of constitutive link between chances and (perhaps among other things) frequencies: when I tell you that the chance of some coin coming up heads is 0.5, I'm telling you something simple and informative about the entire actual history of occurrent sequences of coin tosses. Non-Humeans think that chance does more than play the descriptive, summarizing, information-giving role that Humeans posit: chances are additions to the fundamental furniture of the world, and (in principle) any chance distribution is compatible with any frequency of outcomes for chancy processes. 

It is generally agreed that something close to David Lewis' Principal Principle gives the correct guidance for how we should set our credences given our beliefs about the objective chances: given that you believe the chance of some proposition A is x, you should set your own subjective degree of confidence in A to x. And that's it! (Well, not really, but almost.) Humeans allege, though, that the Non-Humean account of chance is unable to explain why you should obey the Principal Principle. In particular, because chances are these additional things, detached completely from the determinate outcomes that we care about, it is unclear why we should give the chances any purchase when we are figuring out what to believe (or what credences to have).

My paper aims to provide an answer to the question. I offer two separate attempts at vindicating adherence to the Principal Principle which, I think, are as available to Non-Humeans as to Humeans."


Click here for more information about the 2023 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association. 

Alex Guerrero and Denise Dykstra recognized for contributions to Undergraduate Education

Professor Guerrero and Denise Dykstra received the 2022 School of Arts and Sciences Award for their Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Each year, awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education are given to professors and teaching assistants in the School of Arts and Sciences to recognize their outstanding achievements in and beyond the classroom, their engagement with their students and pedagogic communities, and their overall commitment to the undergraduate education mission." Click here for more information and [other] awardees.


"Professor Alex Guerrero is a leading figure in Philosophy at Rutgers, as a scholar, instructor, and staunch proponent for diversity in the curriculum and field. He has expanded the department’s course offerings by teaching courses in non-Western Philosophy and creating a safe space for engagement and growth in his classroom. One student described him as “a phenomenal instructor who encourages students to interact with him at all stages of their philosophical thinking (i.e., when they have budding ideas when they’re struggling to form an idea, when things have hit a snag, when things need polished, etc.).” His generosity with his time supporting students is also evidenced by the number of honors theses he has supervised, his often-crowded office hours, and his online writings, which offer insight for aspiring graduate students into the graduate school application process.

What makes Professor Guerrero truly stand out, though, is his commitment to ensuring that efforts to diversify the philosophy curriculum are broad-ranging and sustainable. He recognizes that asking instructors to diversify the curriculum is not reasonable if they do not have adequate preparation, and therefore engages in a number of “teaching the teachers” efforts. He has also helped to ensure a broad pool of promising applicants for graduate studies in Philosophy by leading the acclaimed Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity for two years, acting as a bridge between directorships. The Summer Institute is renowned for bringing in promising undergraduate students from various cultural, ethnic, and social-economic backgrounds to inform and encourage them to consider a career in academic philosophy.

Professor Guerrero is not just an advocate for diversity in a field that is staunchly Anglo-American in its traditions. He is an agent for change; his individual commitment and institutional service are leaving a lasting effect on the Rutgers University–New Brunswick Department of Philosophy and the discipline of Philosophy more broadly. He is well-deserving of this Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education."



"An introductory class in Philosophy is designed to raise expansive questions about ethics, morality, and truth, and to invite students to think deeply about these questions and participate in lively debates about the possible answers. Stepping into her role as a lead instructor of Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Logic, Denise Dykstra was committed to maintaining this lively engagement in an online format. Based on the comments from her students and Philosophy faculty, she did just that. In fact, according to Assistant Undergraduate Director and Professor Alexander Skiles, “Denise’s asynchronous courses are a model of how they should be conducted.” As we all know from our experiences during the pandemic, this is no easy feat.

Student evaluations consistently praise Dykstra’s pedagogical approach. As one student wrote, “This was the most effectively structured asynchronous course I have taken at this university in five years. The format of the assignments/papers were extremely fair and did a great job tying real life to philosophical debates centuries old. I am not being disingenuous when I say I would tell my friends about what I learned in a given week for this course and just discuss the topic with them to hear their thoughts leading to debate, which is what this class is meant to do.”

For first-time students of Philosophy, working through logic can be daunting. But students write that Dykstra explains assignments with clarity, grades fairly, and “encouraged opinionated thinking and writing” in a way that lessened the pressure.

We are very pleased to recognize her efforts with this Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education."



Rhymes and Reasons: Hip Hop and Philosophy

Socrates dj 1x1Rhymes and Reasons: Hip Hop and Philosophy
01:730:256 (3 credits) Core: CCD
Professor Derrick Darby, Philosophy

Hip hop is great for partying but what can we learn if we study the rhymes?

Chuck D—pioneer from the hip hop group Public Enemy—once said that “rap is black America’s CNN.” In addition to gaining insight about the realities of life in America’s dark ghettos, studying rap rhymes can aid philosophical reflection and reasoning about identity, injustice, and inequality in these impoverished and racially segregated spaces. This course will feature lectures, interviews, music clips, and guest speakers including hip hop artists and prominent scholars. Our goal will be to contemplate philosophical questions raised by the existence of dark ghettos with the help of beats and rhymes. The course payoffs for students will be threefold: (1) sharpening critical reasoning skills, (2) sharing and acquiring knowledge of hip hop, and (3) gaining deeper insight about race, racism, and poverty in America.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders courted controversy when he said, “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto.” Some people took offense but the truth is that ghettos are as American as baseball and apple pie. In New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Florida, and elsewhere, they are home to a disproportionate number of black and poor people. Why do ghettos exist? What problems do ghetto dwellers face and how should society deal with them? What do we owe ghetto residents and what do they owe each other? What lessons do ghettos offer about our racial, gender, and sexual identities? We will read widely in the humanities and social sciences but hip hop and philosophy will take center stage to address these challenging questions.

Students from all schools and disciplines are welcome to sign up for this course. Rhymes and Reasons: Hip Hop and Philosophy can be used to meet the Core Curriculum goals Contemporary Challenges [CCD]


Derrick 5I2A4104

Click here to view a video about the class

Alex Guerrero Awarded 2022 Lebowitz Prize

2022 Lebowitz Prize Awarded to Philosophers Cristina Lafont and Alex Guerrero

thumbnail IMG 4692

The American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK) are pleased to announce that Dr. Cristina Lafont, Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, and Dr. Alex Guerrero, Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, have won the 2022 Dr. Martin R. Lebowitz and Eve Lewellis Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution. Awarded annually by PBK in conjunction with the APA, this prize recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of philosophy.


Professors Lafont and Guerrero's topic for the 2022 Lebowitz Prize is "Democracy: What’s Wrong? What Should We Do?" They will present their views and engage in a dialogue at an annual Lebowitz symposium, held during an APA divisional meeting, and in an episode of the podcast Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa.


Alum Eddy Chen wins Popper Prize

chen eddy kemingRecent Ph.D. Eddy Chen, now an assistant professor at UCSDhas won the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science’s Popper Prize, for best article  [Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State] published in the journal in 2021. Congratulations to Eddy!

The Popper Prize (formerly the Sir Karl Popper Essay Prize) is awarded by the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (BJPS) “to the article judged to  be the best published in that year’s volume of the Journal, as determined by the Editors-in-Chief and the BSPS [British Society for the Philosophy of  Science] Committee.”


In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition (the past hypothesis, PH) to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this article, I show that the PH also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a natural initial condition. First, I introduce ‘density-matrix realism’, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and impure. This stands in sharp contrast to wave-function realism, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and pure. Second, I suggest that the PH is sufficient to determine a natural density matrix, which is simple and unique. This is achieved by what I call the ‘initial projection hypothesis’: the initial density matrix of the universe is the (normalized) projection onto the PH-subspace (in the Hilbert space). Third, because the initial quantum state is unique and simple, we have a strong case for the nomological thesis: the initial quantum state of the universe is on a par with laws of nature. This new package of ideas has several interesting implications, including on the harmony between statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, theoretical unity of the universe and the subsystems, and the alleged conflict between Humean supervenience and quantum entanglement.

Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy

Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy Profile

by Mercedes Diaz & Maryellen Stohlman-Vanderveen

March 16, 2022

Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy is a seven-day program on the Rutgers University Campus in New Brunswick designed to encourage students from various cultural, ethnic and social-economic backgrounds to consider a career in academic philosophy. Under the supervision of the institute staff, these students will explore various areas and methodologies in philosophy, hear philosophy lectures, interact with professional philosophers about their experiences in the profession, and attend workshops on developing skills for doing successful graduate work. Students will also interact with graduate students from various backgrounds and graduate programs. They will also receive advisement and assistance about applying to graduate schools. The Institute will cover travel and living expenses for the seven-day period and provide a stipend of $250. Students must be in their sophomore or junior years in college; demonstrate that they can contribute to creating greater diversity in the discipline of philosophy; be enrolled full-time in a college or university in the United States; maintain good academic standing; and be interested in exploring philosophy as a career. Up to fifteen to twenty students from around the country are selected each year based on a review of the student’s academic background; personal statement, writing sample, grades, and faculty recommendations. Applications for Summer 2022 are due on April 29, 2022.

When did Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy begin and what motivated its inception?

It first started as a roundtable discussion with faculty and invited graduate students in 1996 spearheaded by Prof. Howard McGary. Prof. McGary felt that there needed to be a program to encourage students of underrepresented groups to consider majoring in philosophy and going into the profession. He applied for a grant. After this first conference, Prof. McGary and Prof. Jorge Garcia held their first undergraduate summer program in 1997. The idea was to get ambitious students, bring them to Rutgers, and give them a better idea of what philosophy is all about on a day to day basis. It has flourished so much over the years and served as an example for other diversity institutes that have come to fruition. This impact testifies to how important our institute has been.

What has evolved or changed about the institute over the years?

We have had more female applicants applying to our program since 2013 and it has increased every year.

What does a typical diversity institute program look like? What sort of activities do students do?

On the first day, students will arrive and get settled in their rooms, later we have dinner and a reception to greet everyone and allow the student participants, director, coordinator and grad student speakers to get to know each other. Monday through Friday will be a day full of two faculty talks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). Students will get a chance to interact with faculty again during lunch and dinner. Time will also be set aside for a graduate student panel and a panel to discuss preparing for graduate school and philosophy as a profession. There are sets of readings that we ask each faculty speaker to send ahead of time so I can distribute them out to the student participants. In the past, we have held a mini writing workshop where students have shared their writing samples with each other to get feedback or a workshop where students discuss a suggested reading. The dinners are usually at the Inn and Conference Center on campus, but twice during the week we change it to sandwiches in the Rutgers Gardens or pizza at the department and chat with each other followed by jazz or dinner at a local restaurant in town.

What value does a diversity institute have to students?

Providing outreach to students from underrepresented groups helps in creating mentorship and a sense of community and I hope that we have created that for all the students that have participated in our program – that they have mentors and community for life.

I also hope that we have encouraged students to realize their potential and that they have faith in themselves to continue on in their future goals. Hopefully, they will come back as graduate student speakers and/or faculty speakers in the future.

Why is it important to cultivate the careers of philosophers from traditionally underrepresented groups?

Many of the student participants that take part come from small colleges where the philosophy department is not as large. Meeting diverse faculty from various universities across the country exposes them to different ways of approaching philosophy. It helps in having them understand what it means to be a professional philosopher and what is entailed.

What lesson(s) have you learned since beginning your work with this program?

When I first started working in this program in 2000, I did not realize all the work involved. The more I was immersed in the process and started attending the dinners and creating fun activities for the students apart from the actual panel talks, the more I realized everything that needs to be done to create a successful program. Diversity comes in different facets. There is no one way about it. Being open and willing to listen to the students during the downtime is essential and important to running a successful institute.

What other advice would you give to an institution that wants to create its own diversity institute?

Funny enough, I’ve had conversations over the years with graduate students who were working on creating diversity institutes at their respective universities and we discussed what is entailed in getting funding and organizing this type of event. Apart from that, it’s important to have engaging topics available to the student participants. We always try to have different topics being discussed by our faculty speakers.

Besides topics, I feel creating a sense of community is one of the most important for the students that will be attending. Over the years, former student participants have said that they kept in touch with their cohorts as well as graduate student speakers and faculty. It is one thing they cherished and are glad to have experienced.


Are you or a student you know interested in applying to a summer diversity institute? A complete list of diversity institutes, their application requirements, and their respective deadlines can be found here.

We regret to announce the passing of Emeritus Professor Laurent Stern

Laurent Stern v1Laurent Stern was a member of the Rutgers faculty for more than 30 years.  Professor Stern began at Rutgers College, and helped unify the scattered departments of the various colleges into the unified department we have today.  His scholarship on interpretation, including his book, Interpretive Reasoning, had an impact in both the philosophic and the general academic community. The department extends its deepest condolences. 

Rutgers Junior Second Beinecke Scholar in School History

Triple major Nate Serio to pursue PhD in philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science


Nate Serio arrived at Rutgers three years ago with lofty goals: publish a paper as an undergrad, graduate summa cum laude and earn a scholarship to help him pursue his PhD.

His plan was to shoot for the stars and if he landed on the moon, that wasn’t half bad either.

Today Serio’s star is still rising. A triple major in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick, he is on track to graduate with high honors, has a paper being published this summer in the Journal of Philosophy of Life, and has the distinction of becoming the second student in university history to earn the Beinecke Scholarship.

This prestigious scholarship accepts one nomination per accredited school annually, granting only 18 juniors nationwide $34,000 each to further their academic pursuits. Serio, 20, of Edison, who majors in philosophy, linguistics and cognitive science, had his sights set specifically on the Beinecke since his first year at Rutgers.

“I would post little Post-It notes in my freshman dorm room, things like: ‘Before you leave today, remember why you started,’” said Serio, who credits his tenacity and discipline to his mom, Kristi, who worked two and three jobs at a time while he was growing up to support her three sons. “I always had to work harder for what I wanted because it wasn’t going to be given to me.”


2020 Beinecke Scholar Nate Serio with his mom Kristi.

Edison's Nate Serio, right, and his mom, Kristi.

Courtesy of Nate Serio

His love of academics, in particular, philosophy was fostered by a high school history teacher with a PhD in the subject. He was the first to encourage Serio to revel in life’s deepest questions rather than regurgitate lessons. His teacher, Gene Nasser, introduced him to Larry Temkin, a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers and one of the world’s leading philosophers of ethics and morality. With assistance from Nasser, Serio and his peers formed a philosophy club and during his junior year organized a trip to Rutgers to sit in on one of Temkin’s lectures. He was hooked.

“Philosophy makes you approach your beliefs in a logical and rational way, sometimes questioning the very nature of things they are about,” said Serio. “The more I did that, the more I realized this is what I wanted to do with my life.”

Shortly after starting at Rutgers, his interest gravitated toward the intersection of philosophy and language while taking several courses on the subject with professor Paul Pietroski. He joined Kristen Syrett’s Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies in the spring of 2018, followed by a research position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Child Language Lab this past summer. He is currently studying how socio-economic disparities affect language acquisition in children as a Lloyd C. Gardner Fellow at Rutgers.

“As an aspiring philosopher and cognitive scientist, I hope to continue to develop a research program centered around these interests and, in doing so, contribute to our understanding of the mind, brain, and human nature,” he wrote in his Beinecke application 

Rutgers philosophy professor Larry Temkin leads Edison High School philosophy club in discussion.

Nate Serio wanted to study philosophy at Rutgers after his high school philosophy club sat in on one of professor Larry Temkin’s lectures.

Courtesy of Nate Serio

It’s Serio’s hope that the scholarship’s cachet will go a long way when he starts courting the schools of his choice – Yale and Stanford. And the cash that comes with the scholarship certainly will make life as an academic less stressful.

“No matter how highly ranked, the graduate school Nate Serio chooses will be getting a young man of high character and rare determination,” said Arthur D. Casciato, director of Rutgers’ Office of Distinguished Fellowships. “The word ‘journey’ is overworked these days, but in Nate’s case it is clearly earned.”

Serio said $4,000 from the grant can be used immediately to cover travel expenses when visiting schools. He plans to put the second $30,000 grant toward living expenses once he starts a graduate program: “PhDs are usually fully funded at the top tier philosophy programs, but this takes a huge weight off my shoulders.”

By Lisa Intrabartola

Rutgers Students Learn the Art of Argument

Students in Justin Kalef’s “Logic, Reason, and Persuasion” class at Rutgers University take a deep dive into some divisive issues.

And they can expect, over the course of the semester, to have their positions challenged—perhaps by the person sitting next to them.

ID19 PHILOSOPHY 01479editedKalef, a teaching professor in the Department of Philosophy, School of Arts and Sciences, gets this undergraduate course underway by surveying students on such topical hot buttons as abortion, gun control, and tax policy. “Then I put them on teams for the rest of the semester with people who disagree,” Kalef says. “They have to sit with, make alliances with, and do collaborative work throughout the course with people whose positions they oppose.”

He’s not out to provoke a collegiate version of Crossfire. His goal is for students to develop the skills that a good philosopher—and engaged citizen—should have: the ability to master a complex issue, construct an argument, and meticulously evaluate how well it holds up against those of their peers.

“It’s really easy to criticize others, so I put an emphasis on finding flaws in your own reasoning,” Kalef explains. “That’s the advantage of having teams with diverse views. There’s always going to be somebody who says: ‘Wait, how do you know you’re right?”’

The novel approach reflects Kalef’s passion for teaching. He is the first-ever director of teaching innovation in the philosophy department at Rutgers—a department routinely ranked among the top three philosophy programs in the world.

Dean Zimmerman, the department Chair, says Kalef is one of just several teachers worldwide who are applying a team-based learning approach to philosophy. And the results are revelatory.

“Rather than lecturing to students and debating with the more ambitious ones, Justin’s goal has been to ensure that every student does some original philosophical work every day,” Zimmerman says. “In addition to creating challenging, engaging activities that push students to excel at doing philosophy, his approach has the benefit of making students responsible for their learning — not just to themselves, but to one another.”

Kalef's job also includes working with doctoral students and part-time lecturers, helping them grow and develop into effective teachers. He also creates innovative new undergraduate courses, including a series of “Rutgers Philosophy All Stars” online courses in which students study the work of the department’s great scholars.

For the “All Stars” courses, which will later be released as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Kalef worked with James Chun of the Cyberlearning Innovation and Research Center (CIRC) to create a tightly structured course that—even in the online format—offers ways for students to collaborate with one another and with Kalef.

Senior Daniel Cappell said the combination of online work and then an in-person meeting of the entire class on the last day were effective, and even inspirational. “In the online forums you get to know other students through their writing style and their positions,” he notes. “Then when you see them in person, the personal element comes through and you feel like you really know them.” He adds that the course inspired him to become a philosophy major.

ID19 PHILOSOPHY 01432editedMeanwhile, students in the “Logic, Reason, and Persuasion” course—most of whom are not philosophy majors—said they emerged from the experience with a new depth to their thinking.

“The course takes you a step backward so you can observe the way you argue,” says sophomore Ying Zhang. “It forces you to ask yourself: ‘Am I arguing my feelings or arguing the facts?’”

Each group must complete weekly collaborative assignments and a final project in which they take a position on an issue and demonstrate expertise down to the smallest details. Students must also show a command of the techniques of argument—claims and counter-claims, objections and responses. On the final day, the groups present physical tables of supporting and opposing arguments.

“A lot of work went into these,” Kalef says. “I can see from looking at the tables whether they have done a good job or not.”

Luke McCarty, whose group focused on whether sex work should be legalized, started out strongly supporting legalization. “But over the course of the project I changed my mind,” says McCarty, a microbiology major. “I found many statistics showing that legalizing prostitution doesn’t mitigate sex trafficking, and in many cases can increase it.”

Lily Black, an environmental sciences major, said the course has had a lasting impact. “I wanted to learn how to argue without emotion,” she states. “Now, in my everyday life, I analyze arguments like I have been taught in this class.”

For Kalef, the job of teaching has long been a personal mission. His mother and her parents were teachers. And Kalef says he struggled as a student.

“I was more aware than most people of the difficulties of learning from others,” he says. “When I found someone who could teach me, I asked myself how it had happened. It’s a question my evolving work still seeks to answer today.”

Howard McGary Presented 2019 Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award

thumbnail pastedImage

We're happy to announce that Howard McGary, Professor of Philosophy, received a 2019 Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award for outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion through his work with the annual Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy for 25 years. The Institute provides outreach to undergraduates on a nationwide basis to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in philosophy graduate programs and faculty positions. Meeting every summer for the last two decades, the institute has had an impact on the field. About 60 percent of past participants have gone on to pursue graduate studies in philosophy. The institute received the 2004 Award for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs sponsored by the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy Documentation Center. And the institute has become the model for schools starting similar programs (for the full article, please refer to the link below).

Congratulations Professor McGary!


Rutgers Class of 1970 Annual Lecture presents Gideon Rosen

Managing Moral Outrage: How Philosophy Can Change Your (Emotional) Life (click for flyer)

thumbnail IMG 5943

This year's undergraduate committee: Rivky Brandwein, Aysenur Guc, Matthew Rotolo and Andreas Kauderer.

Professor Rosen is a professor of metaphysics, ethics, metaethics, and philosophy of mathematics at Princeton University. He currently serves as Chair of Princeton’s Philosophy Department in addition to holding the position of Stuart Professor of Philosophy. Since joining the department at Princeton in 1993, Rosen has proved to be a prolific scholar in his various specializations. He is most noted for proposing the idea of modal fictionalism in metaphysics. Perhaps his most recognized work is A Subject with No Object: Strategies for Nominalist Reconstrual in Mathematics (1997), coauthored with John Burgess.


thumbnail IMG 5927


"We were thrilled with the turn out (a full house!) and I think it made it for a fantastic dialogue between students and the larger community. It was great to meet Professor Rosen and get a chance to talk with him over dinner as well -- I'm very grateful for the Rutgers Philosophy department's active, consistent commitment and support towards undergraduates!" - Aysenur Guc, Committee member

Thanks to everyone who attended this lecture and supported our undergraduate community. This was one of the largest turnouts in years. A special thank you is owed to Professor Rosen for agreeing to speak!



Photos by Aysenur Guc

Alex Guerrero --featured in Rutgers Today--Are Politics Broken?

72w NR18GuerreroAlexander6955N a1cb0

Rutgers Today talks with Guerrero about how ending elections would free us from the tyranny of false campaign promises and wealthy special interests, and make government look more like a cross section of American society. He also proposes a smaller-scale version to solve intractable issues like climate change.

Please read the Q&A here.




A Conference in Memory of Peter Kivy (1934-2017)

Kivy Memorial Conference Announcement Final 2 ec8a1Over the course of his 49 year career (48 years of which were spent at Rutgers), Peter established himself as a giant in the field of aesthetics, especially in the philosophy of music. Sadly, Peter passed away in 2017. To honor his memory, the Rutgers Philosophy Department is hosting a one-day conference on October 26, 2018, celebrating his life's philosophical work.

The Conference will include talks by Christy Mag Uidhir (Houston), Jenefer Robinson (Cincinnati), Jerrold Levinson (Maryland), and David Davies (McGill). In addition, Aaron Meskin (Leeds) will introduce and read Peter Kivy's unpublished 'The Case of (Digital) Wagner.' Finally, there will be a time set aside for remembrances from Peter's friends and colleagues.

All are welcome to attend the conference. There is no registration fee; however, attendees are encouraged to pre-register (so that we have an accurate headcount for the lunch and reception). To pre-register, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Marcos Dees 0040064703 4ac23 Remembering Marco Dees

It is with profound sadness that we report the death of Marco Dees on July 22 in a climbing accident in Grand Teton National Park. Marco came to Rutgers after studying philosophy at Saint Andrews. He wrote a dissertation on the metaphysics of quantities, space, and time, receiving his Ph.D. in 2015. Dean Zimmerman and Jonathan Schaffer were his co-advisors. He had begun to publish papers based on his thesis (in Thought and Pacific Philosophical Quarterly), and to teach, first at Bard College and then Vassar.

Marco was a beloved member of our community. He brought a kind, encouraging spirit to every conversation — philosophical or otherwise. His passing is an incalculable loss for all who knew him.

For information about memorial services, or to leave remembrances and pictures, visit


callender 02f17Rutgers Alumnus Wins Lakatos Award!

Craig Callender has been announced as one of the recipients of the 2018 Lakatos Award for his book What Makes Time Special? (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Craig Callender is a Professor of Philosophy at UC San Diego. Prior to that he worked in the Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method at the London School of Economics. He obtained his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1997. Congratulations Craig!





The Philosophy Department hosted public lectures by Patrick Byrne (CEO and Stanford Philosophy P.h.D.) in Spring 2016:


Faculty. Ernest SosaErnest Sosa will give the 18th annual Muenster Lecture in Philosophy at the University of Muenster on November 4th. The lecture, entitled “Judgment and Knowledge as Forms of Action,” is part of a two-day workshop where Professor Sosa will respond to critics. Details here.






With sadness the department announces the untimely passing of our colleague Mark Colby, beloved teacher of many of our students since his initial appointment at Rutgers in 2002. He will be greatly missed. More information here.



Ruth Chang's Ted talk on Hard Choices



The Phi Beta Kappa Society, in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association (APA), has awarded the 2014 Lebowitz Prizes to Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers) and Jessica Wilson (The University of Toronto) for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution for their symposium titled "Grounding in Metaphysics." The symposium will take place this winter, December 27-30, at the APA's Eastern Division meeting. The Lebowitz award recognizes the work of celebrated philosophers for their excellence in thought, in addition to awarding an honorarium of $30,000 to each recipient. See here for more details.



There will be a memorial conference and celebration in memory of our late colleague Brian Loar on October 9, 2014 at 1 pm in the Philosophy Department seminar room. Speakers will be Stephen Schiffer (NYU), Katalin Balog (Rutgers), and David Chalmers (NYU/ANU). There will also be time for remembrances and discussion of Brian's contributions to philosophy. All are invited. For more information contact Barry Loewer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



Peter Kivy at 3:AM Magazine.



The Mellon Foundation endows the first Philosophy Chair at Rutgers. More details here.



Ruth Chang was interviewed by 3:AM Magazine. For other faculty interviews in this series see here, here, here, here, and here.



We are sad to report that our colleague Brian Loar passed away on March 31 after a long illness. Brian taught at the University of Michigan and USC before coming to Rutgers in 1994. He retired in 2009. Brian was a subtle and elegant philosophical thinker who influenced generations of students and colleagues and a great friend to many in the profession. He made major contributions to the philosophy of mind and metaphysics and is especially known for developing a novel account of phenomenal states and phenomenal concepts. There will be a memorial that will be announced in this space.



Elisabeth Camp was interviewed by 3:AM Magazine. For other faculty interviews in this series see here, here, here, and here.



Rutgers is co-sponsoring a Networking and Mentoring Workshop for graduate student women in philosophy, to be held at Princeton University in August 2014. Submissions are due March 1st. See here for details.



Jeffrey King published New Thinking About Structured Propositions, (co-authored with Scott Soames and Jeff Speaks), Oxford University Press, New York, 2013.



Jeff McMahan's op-ed piece, "Why Gun 'Control' is Not Enough," in the New York Times Opinionator blog was awarded an American Philosophical Association Committee on Public Philosophy Op-ed Essay Award.



Alec Walen received a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship at the Princeton University Center for Human Values in 2014-2015. He will work on his book Detention in a Liberal State.



Larry S. Temkin presented the distinguished Annual Lecture for the Society for Applied Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, in October, 2013.



Susanna Schellenberg was interviewed by 3:AM Magazine. For other faculty interviews in this series see here, here, and here.



Virtuous Thoughts: the Philosophy of Ernest Sosa, edited by John Turri, was published by Springer, with twelve chapters on respective topics in Sosa's philosophical output.


With sadness the department announces the death of our colleague Allan Gotthelf on August 30th, 2013. A tribute by Alan Code here .


The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce the founding of the Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion, and the appointment of Marilyn McCord Adams and Robert Merrihew Adams as Distinguished Research Professors. More information here .


Jeff McMahan has teamed up with Major Ian Fishback (West Point Military Academy) to teach a seminar on the ethics of war.


Ernie Lepore wrote a piece for The New York Times on the seminal Donald Davdison conference in 1984.


Holly Smith has won a fellowship at the National Humanities Center (NHC) for the 2013-2014 academic year, turning down fellowship offers from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and the Princeton University Center for Human Values. The NHC will award individual fellowship grants to enable scholars to take leave from their regular academic duties and pursue research at the center. The NHC receives grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other sources. Holly's plans are to complete a book for Oxford University Press in which she develops "a new approach to show how to configure moral theories so they serve both as standards to evaluate conduct and as decision-making guides when we wish to act as morality demands.”


Anthony Gillies has been named Associate Editor of Semantics & Pragmatics: A Journal of the Linguistic Society of America.


In November, 2012, Martha Bolton was an invited speaker at the international conference, 'Harmony and Reality in the Philosophy of the Late Leibniz', held at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Muenster, Germany.


Alvin Goldman delivered "Toward a More Fruitful Conception of Embodied Cognition" at the Institute for Cognitive Science, Lyon, France, at a symposium in honor of Marc Jeannerod, October 30, 2012.


Barry Loewer gave an invited talk "The Objective Probability Structure of the World," at a conference in Taiyuan, China on September 28, 2012 and another talk at Beijing University.


In August 2012 Jeff McMahan was one of two keynote speakers at a conference on “Mortality, Death, and Dying” at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki.


Jonathan Schaffer presented "Monistic Structural Realism" at The Metaphysics of Relations, Oxford on 10/1/12.


At the final conference of Phenomenal Qualities Project, University of Hertfordshire in March 2012, Susanna Schellenberg presented “Phenomenal Qualities and Perceptual Content.”


In October of 2012 Ernest Sosa presented "Epistemic Agency" at the University of Leipzig and at the University of Barcelona, and "Descartes and Virtue Epistemology" at the University of Barcelona.


Larry S. Temkin presented "Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning," as the Fifth Annual Law, Ethics, and Philosophy (LEAP) Lecture at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona in October 2012. This year's LEAP Lecture was the keynote address of a special conference on Temkin's recent book Rethinking the Good. The same lecture was also delivered as part of the Legatum Book Forum Series at the Legatum Institute, London, October, 2012.


The summer 2012 issue of Utilitas, a journal of moral philosophy, contained a symposium on Professor Jeff McMahan’s 2009 book, Killing in War.


More News