Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From Historical to Eliminative Materialism (via German Idealism), part 4: the 1990s

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The 1990s

One can gauge the reputation of the Department during the 1990s by considering that UCSD Philosophy Professors thrice gave Presidential Addresses to the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association during the 1990s: Pat Churchland, 'Can neurobiology teach us anything about consciousness?' (1993); Henry Allison, 'We Can Act Only under the Idea of Freedom’ (1997); and Philip Kitcher, 'Truth or Consequences?' (1998).
On top of these honors, Patricia Smith Churchland won a McArthur Fellowship in 1991. Later, in 1997, the department hired a 1994 McArthur Fellow, Professor Nancy D. Cartwright. As far as I can tell, UCSD is the only Philosophy Department in which there were, until the Churchlands’ retirement in 2010, simultaneously active in the same philosophy department two former McArthur Fellows.
By the end of the decade Nancy Cartwright had published The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science (Cambridge 1999). She added considerable strength to a Department whose profile in the philosophy of science was raised by Philip Kitcher who published two important books in the 1990s, The Advancement of Science (Oxford, 1993), and The Lives to Come: the genetic revolution and human possibilities (New York and London).
Robert Pippin chaired the Department for the first half of the decade (1990-1995), a period in which the history faculty continued an impressive streak of publications in history of philosophy: Henry Allison, Kant's Theory of Freedom (Cambridge, 1990); Nicholas Jolley, The light of the soul: theories of ideas in Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes (Oxford, 1990); Robert Pippin, Modernism as a Philosophical Problem: On the Dissatisfactions of European High Culture (Oxford, 1992); Patricia Kitcher, Kant's Transcendental Psychology (Oxford, 1993),; and Georgios Anagnostopoulos, Aristotle on the Goals and Exactness of  Ethics (California, 1994). The department also added two more faculty members in the area of German idealism. The first was Assistant Professor Wayne M. Martin in 1994, who published Idealism and objectivity: understanding Fichte's Jena project (Stanford, 1997). The department also added Associate Professor Michael Hardmon in 1995. Michael had recently published Hegel and Social Philosophy (Cambridge, 1994).
During this period the logician and epistemologist Gila Sher, who had been hired as an Assistant Professor in 1989, published The Bounds of Logic: A Generalized Viewpoint (Cambridge, MA, 1992). She won tenure in 1994 and remains Professor (as of 2001).
Patricia W. Kitcher was Chair for the second half of the decade (1995 -1999). In addition to her book on Kant published in 1994 mentioned above, and an impressively diverse and interesting set of articles, she published in 1996 Freud's Dream: A Complete Interdisciplinary Science of Mind (Cambridge MA).
In 1995 the department hired, in addition to Michael Hardimon, Associate Professors David O. Brink and Frederick W. Neuhouser in the field of social and political philosophy. Gerald Doppelt, who had developed several innovative undergraduate courses in the area, was honored for this by his colleagues with an Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997.

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