Our academic year in review, 2020-2021

Photo Credit: Year in Review 2020-21 text over aerial photo of campus
July 9, 2021

We can safely say it was a strange academic year. We are so proud of all the accomplishments that our faculty and students have made, working hard despite the circumstances.

New Program Option

New law and ethics option

Last fall, we started offering an Ethics and Law Option for the undergraduate major, providing students with a concentration in Law—a great opportunity for pre-law students.

New Faculty

We were delighted to welcome new faculty member, Assistant Professor Quinn White.

His primary research interests are in ethics, metaethics, ethics of technology, bioethics, and metaphysics.

Quinn White


In spite of restrictions, we utilized the virtual format to host several departmental events, allowing us to feature presentations from guests.

Jean Cahan

In February, Jean Cahan presented the lecture “Two Concepts of Humanism: Heideggar contra Spinoza”. She addressed the statement that “western humanism is a lie” and argued that it is not a lie, so much as a half-truth.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Harris Center for Judaic Studies.

In March, we held our annual colloquia. The virtual format allowed us to bring in speakers from far and wide. We kicked off with a talk by Helen Beebee and Anne-Marie McCallion, who discussed their paper “In Defense of Different Voices.” Duncan Pritchard talked about “Anti-Risk Virtue Epistemology” and the things that set apart anti-risk and anti-luck epistemology on March 16 and “Epistemic Angst” on March 26.

In April, we were excited to host Brie Gertler, who gave a talk on “Self-knowledge and Moore’s Paradox,” and Matt King, who spoke on “How to Blame Without Really Trying.”


Experience and Possibility cover

Joe Mendola had the book “Experience and Possibility” published in March by Oxford University Press.

The book focuses on the detailed ontology of objects as we experience them and expands traditional conceptions of what is present in experience.


John Brunero published “The Conclusion of Practical Reasoning” in the Journal of Ethics where he argues that it should be considered that practical reasoning could conclude in either an intention or a belief with normative content. Brunero also published “Reasons and Defeasible Reasoning” in The Philosophical Quarterly.

Albert Casullo published “Is Knowledge of Essence the Basis of Modal Knowledge?” in Res Philosophica. He addressed E. J. Lowe’s account of modal knowledge and defends four conclusions of his own.

Jennifer McKitrick contributed the chapter “Powers in Contemporary Philosophy” to Powers: A History.

Mendola published an article in the Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism, “Conflicts and Cooperation in Act Consequentialism,” exploring links between different types of act consequentialism.


John Brunero

Brunero was appointed Associate Editor for metaethics in The Journal of Ethics.

The journal publish articles on a wide range of topics in ethics, philosophically construed. Brunero's research focuses primarily on questions in ethics and metaethics concerning reasons and rationality.

Guest lectures

At the Central Division meeting of the APA, Brunero spoke on “The Rationality of Intention Persistence.” He also spoke at the Surrey Center for Law and Philosophy, Philosophy of Action Group on “How Does Practical Reasoning Conclude?”

Student Events

Ratio Christi event God and Evil

We’re incredibly proud of our Philosophy Club, who stuck it out all this year, holding their regular meeting via Zoom.

They also helped to coordinate the event “God and Evil,” co-hosted by Ratio Christi.

Graduate student Janelle Gormley gave the talk “Wondering in the Woods: Philosophy of Friendship,” which addressed the idea of nature and requirements of friendship and why (or if) it’s necessary for a good life.

Zachariah Wrublewski, a graduate student, co-presented “Impossible Worlds and the Safety of Philosophical Beliefs” with Zack Garrett at the New Directions in Metaphilosophy Conference.

Student Awards

Congratulation to graduate student Christopher Stratman who was awarded our Hinman Dissertation Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year!


We want to recognize all our dedicated students who graduated in the past year with an Arts and Sciences degree: Liam Hay, Eden King, Gillian Allison, Aden Davis, Chase Porter, and Cole Shardelow.

Congratulations to all our hardworking faculty and students on a wonderful year completed. We look forward to another great (and hopefully in-person) year ahead!