Chair’s Letter to Alumni on March 3, 2005

March 3, 2005

Dear alumni,

As we approach mid-term in the Spring 2005 semester, I want to take a few moments to send you greetings and bring you up to date on the life of the Philosophy Department. With Professor Griswold on sabbatical for the year, I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as the department’s acting chairman.

Last Fall we welcomed to our ranks the highly distinguished Kant scholar Manfred Kuehn, and we look forward to greeting two new colleagues next year. Professor Kuehn succeeds the internationally renowned Kant scholar Henry Allison who upon his retirement from Boston University was appointed Professor Emeritus. Searches are underway for a senior appointment in the area of modern philosophy and a junior appointment in phenomenology and/or continental philosophy. These new faculty will replace Knud Haakonssen, who has departed for a position at Sussex University, England, and Alfredo Ferrarin who has joined the faculty of the University of Pisa, Italy. We are pleased, though, that Professors Haakonssen and Ferrarin will continue to be affiliated with our department as adjunct professors.

Our faculty continue to be productive scholars. To mention only the recent book publications from among the numerous other contributions by philosophy department faculty:

  • Tian Y. Cao, Ontology, Structures and Constructions (Tsinghua University Press: 2004) (in Chinese)
  • Jaakko Hintikka, Analyses of Aristotle. Selected Papers vol. VI (Kluwer Academic Publishers: 2004)
  • David Roochnik, Retrieving the Ancients: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Blackwell: 2004)
  • Stanley Rosen, The Web of Politics, French translation (J. Vrin: 2004)
  • Stanley Rosen, The Mask of Enlightenment: Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, 2nd edition (Yale University Press: 2004).

We are also proud of the accomplishments of our graduates. Elisabeta Sarca was awarded this year’s Matchette Prize for the best graduate student paper. The title of her paper was “Cross-World Identity in Leibniz and Kripke”. Please see our website for the many activities of our graduate students’ workshops. I will have more news on the accomplishments of our undergraduates in our next letter when I will be able to report on our graduation ceremonies.

The current semester promises to be a full one. The finalists in our two searches have already visited the campus, meet with faculty and students and gave talks. As a follow-up to last spring’s conference on philosophy and the environment, we plan to be hosting two scholars-in-residence, who will each spend a number of days here; in addition to giving public lectures, they will be guest speakers in my class on ethics and the environment as well as in other classes with related topics, and will meet with students. Kenneth Winkler, Professor of Philosophy at Wellesley College, who joined us for the semester as the Findlay Visiting Professor, is teaching two courses and delivered the annual Findlay Lecture. His topic was “Nature and Evil”, and a central issue in his talk was the question of how to justify attributing intrinsic value to forms of life other than human life. And of course, the annual lecture series of both the Center for the Philosophy and History of Science and the Institute for Philosophy and Religion continue in the Spring semester.

Meanwhile, we continue to be in the process of enlarging our quarters. As you may recall from the previous update, we now occupy the entire fifth floor of the School of Theology building, along with some additional space on the floors directly above and below. Our philosophy majors now have a room of their own for those informal interactions that are so important a part of a good education. We thank Mr. Brad Manson for his recent gift to the department which we will use towards making the undergraduate lounge a welcoming place. And thanks to the generosity of alumnus Sam Hallowell, who generously responded to the Karbank Challenge, we will soon have a new departmental library and seminar room. The Karbank Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City contributed magnificently towards the Karbank Challenge. Our colleague Edwin Delattre and his wife Alice likewise responded with great generosity to the Karbank Challenge by making two significant contributions to the department’s Gift Fund. Finally, I am extremely pleased to inform you that Dr. Hideo Itabashi (CAS 49, MED 54) has again made an annual gift to the department’s Bertocci Fund which we use to award fellowships and prizes in recognition of excellent achievements of our graduate students.

We hope you will have an opportunity at some point to drop by the department and see for yourself how things are progressing. We would also be delighted to see you at any of the lectures this Spring or in future semesters. (For information on dates and times, you can check our website,, or call the department at 617/353-2571.) And whether you live near or far, we are eager to hear from you and learn of your doings since graduating from Boston University. I would be very pleased to be able to include your news in future letters to our alumni. You can reach me by e-mail at, or if you prefer traditional mail, at the address on this letter.

If you know of philosophy alumni who are not on our mailing list, do let us know. And in this age of electronic communications, it is also helpful to have e-mail addresses. If the alumni office doesn’t already have yours, you can send it to them at, or directly to us at

Wishing you all the best,

Yours cordially,

Klaus Brinkmann
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Acting Chairman