Department of Philosophy e-Newsletter, Fall 2020
View this email online

OCTOBER 2020 | Issue 12
Dear Alumni and Friends,

The time that has passed since the last edition of our e-news in April has proved challenging for everyone as we realize that the coronavirus pandemic may be around for longer than many of us had expected. I miss the in-person exchanges with colleagues and students, but I am grateful to everyone for their efforts in moving us to an online community over the past few months. The start of the fall term last month turned out to be a great success, and much smoother than expected. It feels great to be back in the classroom, even if only a virtual one for the moment. Our courses continue to be in high demand, with students vigorously engaging as always. I hope you enjoy reading about some of our recent accomplishments. The 2020-21 academic year, which is now well underway, has a lot to offer for the coming months. Please check our website or social media for more news and upcoming events.

— Martin Pickavé
Chair and Graduate Chair of Philosophy (Faculty of Arts & Science, St. George Campus)
Welcoming New Faculty and Lecturers
We are thrilled to welcome three new faculty: Assistant Professor Elisa Freschi brings to the department her expertise in South Asian philosophy; Jonardon Ganeri (pictured), Bimal K. Matilal Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, also works on South Asian philosophy, as well as epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy and literature; and Trevor Teitel returns to his alma mater as assistant professor with research interests in philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, and metaphysics. Also joining us as freshly minted lecturers are Julia Smith and Michael Blezy on the St. George campus, and Etye Steinberg at UTM.
Aristotle Contest Winners
The pandemic couldn’t hold them back: for the 2020 edition of the Aristotle Contest, an essay competition for high school students sponsored by the department and the Ontario Philosophy Teachers’ Association (OPTA), submissions almost doubled from last year. In a highly competitive field, Darwin Pitts (pictured) from Lisgar C.I. in Ottawa emerged as the winner, followed in second place by Justin Liu from St. George’s School in Vancouver, and in third place by Andrei Li from Monarch Park C.I. in Toronto. The judges also awarded three honourable mentions: Ariel Wang (Port Moody S.S. in British Columbia), Ryangwon Kim (Brentwood College School, Mill Bay, B.C.), and Zeeniya Waseem (Turner Fenton S.S., Brampton).
Read the winning essays.
Faculty Awards & Promotions
We celebrate our faculty members’ many successes over the past six months: Jennifer Nagel and Denis Walsh were appointed part of the inaugural Research Leadership Team of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. David Dyzenhaus received a Guggenheim Fellowship, while Joseph Heath was awarded a Killam Research Fellowship. Mark Kingwell’s 2019 book, Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface, won the 2020 Media Ecology Association’s Erving Goffman Award, and Christian Pfeiffer received a 2020 Connaught New Researcher Award. SSHRC Insight Grants went to Nate Charlow for “Non-Truth-Conditional Content”; David Dyzenhaus for “The Politics of Legal Space”; Joseph Heath for “How to Criticize Society”; Arthur Ripstein for “Members of the Public”; and Jonathan Weisberg for “Centrality & Belief.” Peter King forms part of the SSHRC-funded “Practices of Commentary” project. Finally, congratulations to Waheed Hussain (pictured), Jim John, and Owen Ware for their promotions to the rank of associate professor.
Recent PhDs
Nine graduate students successfully defended their doctoral dissertations in the past six months: Jessica Wright (pictured), “Owning Implicit Attitudes” (supervisor, Jennifer Nagel); Daniel Rabinoff, “Making Sense of Relativized Identity” (supervisor, Jessica Wilson); Mason Westfall, “Understanding Minds: Essays on Social Cognition” (supervisor, Jennifer Nagel); Evan Taylor, “Knowledge and Anxious Thought” (supervisor, Jennifer Nagel); Julia Smith, “Unacknowledged Permissivism” (supervisor, Jennifer Nagel); Manish Oza, “Logical Form and the Limits of Thought” (supervisor, Gurpreet Rattan); Daniel Walsh, “Action, Causation, and Discretion: An Essay on the Metaphysics of Intentional Action” (supervisor, Philip Clark); Douglas Campbell, “Circles and Rivets: Cosmology and Teleology in Plato’s Theory of the Soul” (supervisor, Rachel Barney); and Geordie McComb, “On Thought Experiments and Literary Learning” (supervisor, James Robert Brown). Heartfelt congratulations to all of them on their superb achievement!
Graduate Student Successes
Congratulations to two of our (former) PhD students: Parisa Moosavi (pictured) took home the 2019 David Savan Dissertation Prize for her thesis titled “From Function to Flourishing: Neo-Aristotelian Ethics and the Science of Life,” while Daniel Munro garnered accolades for his essay “Remembering the Past and Imagining the Actual,” which won the inaugural Philosophy of Memory Essay Prize.
Off the Press
We are proud to announce the following book publications by members of the department: Jacco Bomhoff, David Dyzenhaus, and Thomas Poole, eds., The Double-Facing Constitution (Cambridge University Press); Lloyd P. Gerson, ed., The Plotinus Reader (Hackett); Joseph Heath, The Machinery of Government: Public Administration and the Liberal State (Oxford University Press); Mark Kingwell, On Risk (Biblioasis); and Owen Ware, Fichte’s Moral Philosophy (Oxford University Press).
Faculty Searches
We are currently inviting applications for three tenure-track positions at the rank of assistant professor. A position in the area of Ethics and Applied Ethics, with a focus on Biomedical Ethics, is open at UTSC (application deadline: November 2, 2020), while the St. George campus is seeking to make two appointments: one in Continental Philosophy, the other in Philosophy of Science. The deadline to apply for both is November 16, 2020.
Honouring the Late Joseph Boyle and André Gombay
We continue to raise funds in memory of two of our department’s respected late philosophers, Joseph Boyle and André Gombay. Donations will go toward the planting of two trees dedicated to these spirited teachers as part of U of T’s Landmark Project, a people-centric makeover of the downtown campus core featuring new paths, gardens, and gathering spaces. If you wish to support this project, please visit the donation page.
Department of Philosophy
170 St. George Street
Tel: 416-978-3311
This e-mail was sent to
Update contact information
Opt out of future messages
University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science
The University of Toronto respects your privacy. We do not rent, trade or sell our mailing lists. Copyright © 2020 University of Toronto. All rights reserved. This e-mail was sent to