1 Philosophy Newsletter Minnie Randle Ted Benditt Greg Pence Lynn Stephens David Morrow Marshall Abrams Carl Sachs Mary Whall Marjorie Price Court Lewis Kevin McCain The Philosophy Department has undergone many changes over the last decade. The objective of this newsletter is to communicate with students, faculty, and alumni about the department. If you know of anyone else who would like to receive that newsletter, please provide us with his or her Name and address. If you have any news you would like to report, we would love to share it. We hope that you enjoy reading about how the UAB Department of Philosophy is changing and improving.
2 Retirements After many decades of service, Scott Arnold and Lynn Stephens retired from full-time teaching. Lynn will retain his office and divide his time between Colorado and Birmingham. He will continue to teach one course a year during the spring semester for the Department. Don Ross and Nelleke Bak returned to South Africa, followed by Harold Kincaid, who retired from UAB in Jackie Sullivan movec to the University of Western Ontario, and Erik Angner started teaching at George Mason University. Sara Vollmer also retired. New Faculty Three new professors have joined the faculty. The Philosophy Department welcomes them. Carl Sachs received his doctorate from the University of Departmental News Philosophy and Your Career California, San Diego in His areas of specialization include American pragmatism, critical theory, and phenomenology. Kevin McCain obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. His primary philosophical interests concern epistemology and philosophy of science, but he also teaches in the fields of ethics, metaphysics, modern philosophy, and philosophy of mind. Court Lewis recently earned a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and specializes in bioethics and applied ethics. Has been involved in organizing an Ethics Bowl competition for high school students in Tennessee. Administrative Updates Gregory Pence is serving as Interim Chair. Philosophy Department Programs The legal studies program is poised for a takeoff at UAB, with Professor Ted Benditt leading the way. Professor Benditt, who holds degrees in both law and philosophy, offers a course titled Rule of Law that has proven invaluable to pre-law students due to its clarity and breadth. Few American philosophy departments have such a skilled professor teaching such a unique course, so it has become increasingly popular. If the Board of Trustees permits it, a new UAB major will be introduced that focuses on philosophy of law, political science, and justice sciences. PPE (Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics) is also burgeoning under the careful hand of Professor David Morrow. Last spring, students in Professor Morrow s course presented their research on improving UAB in a special poster session in Heritage Hall; the event was attended by UAB President Carol Garrison, Provost Linda Lucas, and CAS Dean Thomas DiLorenzo in addition to other illustrious UAB faculty and administration. Dr. Morrow s other classes have become increasingly popular among students from various backgrounds. A degree in Philosophy has proven to be a very useful degree for alumni. After graduation, many former students of philosophy turn to medical school. For example, Daniel Sandlin and Charles Diskin are currently studying at UASOM, and Sara Sasse and Victor Chin are practicing physicians. Other students turn to what Aristotle called reason free from passion. Practicing lawyers include Laurel Thorpe, Adrian Dunning, Benjamin Jarrell, Cherie Minor, Anna Laura, and Shelley Serwitz. Some students pursue careers in teaching philosophy, like Robert Lane who is now a full professor of philosophy at the University of West Georgia. Shannon Nolen is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin, Both aspire to teach after graduation. Alan Nichols is tenured at Georgia Perimeter College, while David McNaron enjoys his tenured position at Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Rhonda Smith is on her second contract teaching Philosophy at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Mary Whall teaches as an assistant professor within the same department where she began her studies. The possible applications of a philosophy degree are endless. The education you receive could be used in a career in medicine, law, healthcare administration, economics, or even philosophy in its purer forms. A more detailed list of UAB philosophy 2
3 Philosophy Department Alumni MEDICINE Richard Barret, UASOM, internal medicine John Bouldin, UASOM Tracy Chang, MD, pediatrics Victor Chin, MD, anesthesiology, Rome, GA Christina Cooley, MD, JD, UASOM, emergency medicine Charles (Dyer) Diskin, UASOM Christopher Graves, UASOM Bayne Heersink, DMD, Huntsville Leigh Ann Lindsey, MD, psychiatry Ajay Kamireddi, MD, radiology, Atlanta, GA Kiran Lagisetty, MD, surgery, Harvard Hospital Jason Lott, MD, dermatology, Yale Nicole Mims, MD Rashmi Murthy, MD, BA in bioethics from University of Pennsylvania Matt Malone, UASOM, medical/pediatrics Anand Bosmia, UASOM Aadia Rana, MD, dermatology Daniel Sandlin, UASOM Anita Saxena, OD, optometry, Pelham, AL Anish Shah, MD, radiology Satya Shreenivas, MD, cardiology Sara Singhal, MD, emergency medicine Sara Sasse, MD, internist, Winnipeg, Canada Kexuan Wang, MD, hospitalist, Tulane Sukhkamal Bhullar, UASOM HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION Karen Brown, UAB, Department of Gynecology, Women s and Children s Hospital, UAB Jeremy Scrimsher, MA in Hospital Administration, Executive Director, Cardiovascular Associates of the Southeast LAW Katherine (Elizabeth) Bannister, Cumberland Law School Anna Laura Adam Shanko Orion Parrish Melinda Chapman Richard Pena Georgette Hanks Greg Denny, practicing attorney, Birmingham Craig Hudy, Wisconsin David Rohwedder, MA in Bioethics from University of Pennsylvania, Macon, GA Cherie Minor Scott Mears, Birmingham School of Law Shelley Serwitz, University of Colorado Law School, Assistant District Attorney, Atlanta/Fulton County, GA Zac Hensley, University of Alabama Law School Arthur Dunning, practicing attorney, Southside Birmingham, AL Benjamin Jarrell, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, practicing attorney, Huntsville, AL William Paulk, University of Alabama Law School Laurel Hinote Thorpe, University of Houston Law School, MA in Health Policy/Bioethics, University of Houston ACADEMIA Dennis Ford, ThD, Boston University David McNaron, PhD, University of Miami, Professor, Nova Southeastern University Robert Lane, PhD, University of Miami, Associate Professor, University of West Georgia Alan Nichols, PhD, Assistant Professor, Georgia Highlands College Rhonda Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, United States Air Force Academy Jason Wasserman, PhD, UAB, Assistant Professor of Bioethics, Kansas City Univresity of Medicine and Bioethics Mary Whall, PhD, Assistant Professor, UAB Maria Vargas, PhD Julia Lewis, MS, Library Sciences, UAT Julie McIntosh Shannon Nolen, MA in Philosophy, Georgia State, PhD, University of Wisconsin Sara Ruiz de Molina, academic administration, UAB BUSINESS Chuck Ewing, WBHM, Birmingham Dyan Patterson, head of communications, Clearwater Police Department, Clearwater, FL BANKING Melissa McClure, Manager, Regions Banking System Billy Sanford, Chief Financial Officer, Birmingham Advertising Firm ATHLETICS Elijah Milsaps, Los Angeles D-Fenders Two-Boys Gumede, River City Rovers Andrew Channing Toney Alan Ogg (deceased). 3
4 Recent Books Produced by Faculty Student Organization Spotlight: Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Philosophy students have always played important roles on the UAB Ethics Bowl Teams. Philosophy majors Mallick Hossain, Christopher Graves, Rachael Rosales, and Ayushe Sharma comprised four of five members of the 2010 team that was one of five teams to make the National Finals, in which 32 teams from ten regions competed. Miraculously, the UAB team captured the National Championship, becoming the Cinderella team of the tournament. The following year, the team did not qualify for the national competition. Determine to debate, the team reformed itself and entered the National Bioethics Bowl Championship at Duke University. Composed of veterans Mallick Hossain and Rachael Rosales and newcomers Kevin Kiang, Majaliwa Mzombwe, and Aditi Jani, the team won the 2011 National Championship in Bioethics. In 2012, UAB sent two teams to the Southeastern regional. The senior team advanced to the National Championship, and the freshmen team won two of its three matches. At the National tournament, UAB lost to DePauw University twice. Although DePauw did not win the tournament, they won the 2012 National Bioethics Bowl Championship the next month. In preparation for competitions, students must prepare analyses of fifteen applied ethics cases during each semester. During the competition, they comment on the presentations of others and respond to judges questions about the positions they endorse. Competitive success requires knowledge of ethical theory, understanding of practical details of cases, as well as succinct synthesis of the arguments and questions of others. The UAB Ethics Center Funds the teams, and Mrs. Minnie Randle often accompanies the teams, and provides logistical, emotional, and professional support. 4
5 Additional Updates Mary Whall was a key professor in the fall University Honors Program course entitled, "Knowledge and Ways of Knowing." She lectured throughout the semester on topics such as David Hume s skepticism and Ignaz Semmelweis s empirical investigation. She continues to teach a wide range of courses for the Philosophy Department, from ancient Greek philosophy to Existentialism to bioethics, and recently won a teaching award from the new College of Arts & Sciences. Gregory Pence will deliver an endowed lecture about stem cells at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 6 th. He continues to coach the UAB Ethics Bowl teams, to direct the Early Medical Student Acceptance Program. Since 1974, Pence has published 54 op-ed essays in newspapers and magazines. His 53 rd discussed presymptomatic genetic testing and was nationally reprinted. Ron Bailey attacked it in an article in Reason magazine titled Bioethicists Can t Handle the Truth. His 54 th in the Sunday Birmingham News discussed the suicide of his nephew Jordan, who suffered from schizophrenia. Marshall Abrams has published over ten papers in peer-reviewed journals and written one chapter in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Social Sciences. His research focuses on causation, probability, biology, mind, culture, and society. He has been developing a new conception of what probability is, and he collaborates with researchers in the Department of Biostatistics in a project looking for evidence of certain kinds of natural selection in the human genome over the last tens of thousands of years. Recently, he started developing software that incorporates subtle relations of coherence into models of the dynamics of cultural evolution. UAB Philosophy Club The UAB Philosophy Club was very active last year. It brought in five young, upcoming philosophers, especially in neuroscience. It also sponsored a talk in bioethics by Micah Hester of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Medical Center Check out the Philosophy Department Library and Seminar Room! Conference Review Together with UAB s Center for Ethics and Values and the Sciences, Philosophy Professor David Morrow attracted nearly two dozen philosophers from around the country to a November 2011 conference on the normative implications of recent empirical work in moral psychology. The presenters addressed such questions as: What role should neuroimaging studies have in the courtroom? Are philosophers intuitions about moral cases more trustworthy than nonphilosophers intuitions? Can we learn what is right or wrong by studying the psychology of morally bad people? What are the psychological mechanisms behind the judgments of free will and responsibility? What can psychology teach us about how to conceive of and measure well-being? 5