Chair’s Letter to Alumni on November 10, 2005

November 10, 2005

Dear Philosophy Graduate:

Greetings to you from the Philosophy Department! As we approach the end of the fall semester, I’m writing to fill you in on the department’s recent accomplishments. We have things to share with you to that end; exciting news, changes within the department, and ways for you to become involved in achieving our goals.

When I last wrote to you in the spring, we were in the midst of recruiting new faculty. Today I am happy to report that we have hired two outstanding new faculty members who have both joined us as Assistant Professors.

* Dr. Walter Hopp received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He brings to the department expertise in phenomenology, epistemology and philosophy of mind. Dr. Hopp will be teaching introductory courses, such as Introduction to Ethics and Reasoning and Argumentation (no doubt these are familiar to many of you from your own undergraduate days) as well as a variety of advanced level courses in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and the history of philosophy.

* Dr. Peter Bokulich will add to our strengths in the philosophy of physics. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and has spent time in Boston at M.I.T. as a post-doctoral fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. I am also thrilled to report that Dr. Bokulich has been appointed Associate Director of BU’s Center for the Philosophy and History of Science. His research focuses on the ontology of the material world; in particular the metaphysics of causation and reduction. He is also very much interested in the mind-body problem, a problem with a long history that you may have first learned of in your History of Ancient Philosophy course when discussing Aristotle’s analysis of the relationship between the soul and the body in On the Soul.

Our efforts to fill a senior position in the department continue. We will be sure to update you as to any new appointments as they take place.

I’m appreciative for this opportunity to update you on the work of our many outstanding students. May’s Commencement was, as always, truly delightful. It is wonderful to meet the parents and loved ones of the graduating students, particularly because many of our graduating students earned various distinctions within their class. Apart from the annual Philosophy Department awards and prizes, our students were recognized at May’s Commencement exercises in several ways:

* Two philosophy students in the class of 2006, Julie Ackerman and Frederick Nitsch, received a Humanities Foundation Award for senior undergraduates.

* Matthew Batterton, Jared Miller, Stepen Miran, and Jennifer Rosenberg, all philosophy majors, were elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa this year.

* Several philosophy graduates received graduation awards from the College of Arts and Sciences:

* Adam Marushak: CAS/GRS Alumni Association Award for Writing Excellence in the Humanities
* Stepen Miran: Excellence in Economics Award
* Jared Miller: The Warren O. Ault Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement in History

I am also happy to report another exciting achievement on the part of our students: The papers of three of our graduates, Adam Marushak, Jared Miller, and Aaron Wilson, were accepted by the First National Undergraduate Student Conference at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Only fifteen papers were accepted for that conference from students nationwide, and the fact that three of those were submitted and presented by our students is truly a remarkable achievement!

Please visit our website ( for the names of graduates who received the annual Philosophy Department Awards; you can also read the speeches that were given at the Philosophy Department graduation ceremony ( The speech given by our Student Speaker, Jared Miller was outstanding, and the speech given by our Alumni Speaker, Steven M. Karbank, was particularly noteworthy as just the day before he hadreceived the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. Steven has been a generous benefactor and sponsor of the philosophy department for several years, and helped us revive and develop our ties to our alumni. Steven’s support, both tangible and intangible, has been vital to the growth of the department; his generosity has helped to defray the cost of our new departmental library, and we were able to organize two very successful conferences on the environment to date.

The department’s space has undergone significant renovation this year. These renovations were made possible by the generosity of Sam Hallowell, CAS ’70, who responded to the Challenge established by Steven Karbank in making his gift. The Machette Library has moved from its old location into space once occupied by faculty offices. The results of the renovation are first-class and very comfortable, with new bookshelves, computers, and furniture. The old library has been converted into much needed faculty office space. We are indeed grateful to Mr. Hallowell and to Mr. Karbank for their generosity has brought about this important addition to the department’s facilities. Please see the last page of this newsletter for recent changes to terms of the Challenge Fund, and for more information on how you can help and directly impact the work we do here.

As always, we hope you will have an opportunity to drop by campus and the department, to see for yourself how things are progressing. We would also be delighted to see you at any of the lectures this spring (or, of course, in the future). For information on lecture dates and times, please visit our website, or feel free to 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. We would be very pleased to be able to include your news in future letters to our alumni. You can reach Dr. Griswold, who has resumed his chairmanship after a year’s sabbatical, 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 very helpful to have e-mail addresses. If the alumni office doesn’t already have yours, please send it to them at, or directly to us at

Wishing you all the best,

Yours cordially,

Klaus Brinkmann
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Associate Chairman