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2013 Candidates for At-Large Members of the Board of Officers
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Candidate Statements

The ten candidates for election have submitted candidate statements, listed below in alphabetical order. Please read the candidate statements before voting. When you are ready to vote, return to the voting survey.

Please note: only full (regular and emeritus) members of the association are eligible to vote. If you are an international, student, or teacher associate member, you will be unable to access the voting survey.

R. Lanier Anderson, Stanford University

I am a historian of modern philosophy focused on Kant, Nietzsche, and (nascently) Montaigne. I am currently chair of my department and co-director of Stanford's Mellon humanities postdoc program, and I co-founded a dynamic Philosophy and Literature program here. I also direct (from the Stanford end) a student exchange partnership with CCNY.

The coming years will be important ones for our Association. The APA has reformed its governance and brought dynamic new leadership into the national office. At the same time, philosophy and the rest of the humanities face serious challenges at the national level. The basic institutional arrangements that supported our work over the past century will face real pressures from efforts to reduce costs in higher education and from new technologies that disrupt traditional patterns of teaching and scholarly communication. These developments promise opportunities as well as challenges. The APA must cooperate with other scholarly societies to advocate for the essential role of higher education in our broader social life, as well as work on its own to identify and promote conditions of work enabling philosophy to thrive—not only through the training of students and the publication of research results, but also by bringing philosophical reflection to a wider public audience. Since I would fill an At-large seat, I seek to bring the broadest possible perspective to the Board, looking for ways to broaden the appeal of philosophy to new groups of undergraduates and the public, and focusing the work of our Divisions on issues of general concern to philosophers. Philosophy was a practice and a way of thinking long before it was a profession, and as we confront today's challenges to our professional life, our reforms should be guided by the long term goal of supporting that underlying activity and its values.

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Sara Bernstein, Duke University

I am honored to be nominated for an at-large position on the national APA board.

I am the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Duke University. My research focuses on the metaphysics of causation and on questions at the intersection of causation and moral responsibility. My Ph.D. (2010) and A.B. (2004) degrees are from the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago, respectively.

I bring to the position the perspective of an early career faculty member with active involvement in professional activity. As visitor to the Australian National University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and MIT, and organizer for numerous local, national, and international conferences, I am familiar with the range of issues facing different kinds of departments and philosophical communities. I have given over fifty lectures and commentaries, and regularly serve as speaker, commentator, and chair at APA meetings. I frequently referee for journals and academic presses.

There are three ways in which I believe that the APA can better serve its members. First, the need for better data has been a theme common to recent discussions about a variety of issues in the profession, from graduate admissions to placement and employment statistics. I have a special interest in exploring ways for the APA to provide leadership in data collection and dissemination. Second, I appreciate the progress that Amy Ferrer and the national board of the APA have made in streamlining the job-seeking process for junior candidates, and I would like to see these efforts expanded. Third, I support the APA’s role in identifying strategies to foster inclusiveness at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels, having already served as an informal advisor on this topic to many colleagues.

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Saul Fisher, Mercy College

I would be honored to help strengthen the APA and further its mission through Board service.

In these changing academic times, philosophers look to foster healthy innovation in the APA and preserve the organization’s value. I would work to build the APA’s success, growth, and distinction—as well as good governance, fiscal soundness, successful advocacy, and membership engagement and rights. I seek to advance intellectual, professional, and institutional capacity and accomplishment; inclusiveness and diversity; and international pursuits.

I have a firm grasp of institutional and scholarly issues that learned societies and philosophy face today. In senior academic management in two colleges, I have developed a keen sense of the place and potential of philosophy in higher education instruction. At the Mellon Foundation and ACLS, I developed sound practical knowledge of the organizational, economic, financial, and social and global dimensions of the humanities, research, and their infrastructures among colleges, universities, libraries, and publishers.

I have worked with Boards of nonprofits in and out of philosophy, and bring a sense of institutional mission; command of nonprofit fundraising, finances, and budgets; grasp of communications for nonprofit success; and commitment to organizational and Board ethics.

Biography. Saul Fisher is Executive Director of Grants and Academic Initiatives and Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy at Mercy College (NY). He is Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College. Previously, Fisher was Associate Provost and Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College (CUNY); Director of Fellowship Programs of the American Council of Learned Societies; and program officer at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He is past chair of the APA Committee on Non-Academic Careers, past member of the APA Committee on the Status and Future of the Profession, and past president of HOPOS—the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.

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Erin Kelly, Tufts University

I would like to contribute to the APA’s efforts to serve the needs of members and aspiring members of the profession. In the face of budget cutbacks, market pressures, MOOCs and their kin, philosophy’s future in higher education is under pressure. The APA might need to play a stronger role in helping to articulate the value of philosophy to higher education and in working to broaden philosophy’s appeal. This could potentially involve reaching beyond the academy in an advocacy role.

I am very much concerned about the underrepresentation of women and historically disadvantaged minorities within philosophy. I support efforts to promote diversity within the profession. I also support outreach to high school students, for example, through the "Ethics Bowl,” and I am interested in current efforts to incorporate philosophy into high school curricula.

I am interested in learning about the interests and concerns of both established and aspiring members of the profession. I would aim conscientiously to communicate those concerns to the Executive Committee and more broadly, as appropriate.

As more schools choose to interview remotely rather than in person at the Eastern APA Meetings, the role of those meetings within the profession may shift. I would support efforts to reconsider the purposes of those meetings.

I have administrative experience as a department chair and I have served and chaired the APA Program Committee (2008-10, chair 2009-10). My own interests in philosophy range broadly in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law.

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Jennifer Lackey, Northwestern University

I am Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, and my central area of research is epistemology, with a special interest in social epistemology. I have written and edited several books in these areas, such as Learning from Words: Testimony as a Source of Knowledge (OUP, 2008), Essays in Collective Epistemology (forthcoming, OUP), The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays, co-edited with David Christensen (OUP, 2013), and The Epistemology of Testimony, co-edited with Ernest Sosa (OUP, 2006). I am currently writing a book on the epistemology of groups.

I have served in a variety of positions for the American Philosophical Association, including as a member of the Central APA Nominating Committee (2012-2013), the APA Committee on Lectures, Publications, and Research (2010-2013), and the Central APA Program Committee (2011-2012). I am the recipient of a Mellon Foundation Grant for a Sawyer Seminar (2014), the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2007), the Young Epistemologist Prize (2005), and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (2002). I am also Editor-in-Chief of Episteme: A Journal of Individual and Social Epistemology, Associate Editor of Philosophical Studies, and Subject Editor in Epistemology for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

There are several issues that I would like to help the APA address. (1) The job market should be organized in a way that is simpler and less expensive, both for applicants and for hiring departments. (2) Philosophy needs to become more diverse. Not only is this an important goal from the point of view of individual students and faculty, it is also a demographic necessity for philosophy itself. (3) The standing of philosophy, both in the culture in general and in relation to fellowship-granting institutions, needs to be strengthened. The APA should lead the way in articulating a clear and compelling case for the necessity of philosophy.

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Hilde Lindemann, Michigan State University

Hilde Lindemann is Professor of Philosophy and Associate of the Center for Ethics Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University. A Fellow of the Hastings Center, she is former editor of both Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and The Hastings Center Report. Her ongoing research interests are in bioethics, feminist ethics, the ethics of families, and the social construction of persons and their identities. Her most recent book is Holding and Letting Go: The Social Practice of Personal Identities, forthcoming in December from Oxford University Press. Earlier books include An Invitation to Feminist Ethics (McGraw-Hill 2005) and (as Hilde Lindemann Nelson) Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair (Cornell University Press 2001). With James Lindemann Nelson she coauthored Alzheimer’s: Answers to Hard Questions for Families (1996) and The Patient in the Family (1995), and coedited the Reflective Bioethics series for Routledge. She also coedited the Feminist Constructions series for Rowman & Littlefield.

She has served on the APA Committee on Philosophy and Medicine and several divisional program committees, and is the current chair of the Committee on the Status of Women. As a Past President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, she has some experience of leadership of a scholarly professional organization, and hopes to draw on those skills to help the APA move forward in its many initiatives to makes the discipline of philosophy more hospitable to everyone.

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Joseph Rouse, Wesleyan University

I am the Hedding Professor of Moral Science in the Philosophy Department and Chair of the Science in Society Program at Wesleyan University; I work in the philosophy of science, and the history of 20th Century philosophy.

I would come to the APA’s Board of Officers with three priorities. One is to help ensure that the organization maintains core professional services for professional communication among and to the membership, job placement, and recognition for excellence. Maintaining these activities in a fiscally responsible and sustainable way is a sine qua non for a professional organization. The fiscal challenges facing non-profit organizations are significant; changes in professional practices, technological resources, and career patterns also require ongoing review of which activities best serve the profession and its members, and how the APA can best match its resources with the needs of the membership.

I will also support a leadership role for the APA in seeking to enhance the diversity of the profession. By many familiar and telling measures, our discipline is among the least diverse academic disciplines. Encouraging and supporting diversity within our membership, and among the students we teach in a wide range of institutions and settings, should be a high priority for the profession, and our professional organization has an important role to play in that effort. Sustaining an intellectually and socially diverse profession also requires encouraging collegial communication and mutual recognition among us as professional philosophers.

Finally, the APA also needs to be attentive and responsive to the broader institutional challenges confronting the profession and the universities and colleges. The APA should speak and work effectively on our behalf in defending the importance of philosophy and the humanities in higher education, and in articulating and defending the value of higher education in its many forms.

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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Philosophy Department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He received his BA from Amherst College in 1977 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1982, and then he taught at Dartmouth College until 2009. He has visited or held fellowships at Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and UC Santa Barbara as well as in Australia, Brazil, and Taiwan. Walter publishes widely in normative moral theory, meta-ethics, applied ethics, moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, and philosophy of religion. His current research focuses on philosophical aspects and implications of empirical moral psychology and neuroscience.

For the APA, Walter has served on the Eastern Division Program Committee and Executive Committee, as Chair of the APA Committee on Lectures, Publications, and Research and as Chair of two Executive Director Search Committees, and as Vice-chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association in 2005-13. If he is elected to the APA Board of Officers as a member at large, Walter's main goals will be to improve services of the APA to its members and also to improve the public perception of philosophy. The APA should promote philosophy. The best way to do so is to facilitate high-quality work by its members by providing efficient and effective services so that members can do their research and teaching as easily and as well as possible. In addition, philosophy suffers from a lack of public support that can be overcome only by a vigorous program of outreach to society at large.

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Helga Varden, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I am an Associate Professor in Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My main area of research is legal-political philosophy, with a focus on the Kantian and Lockean traditions. I am honored to be standing for election for at-large member of the APA Board of Officers.

I greatly value our profession’s commitment to facilitating engaged and fruitful philosophical interaction and its current efforts to make it more diverse. I have been fortunate to benefit from others’ work in both regards, and have enjoyed the opportunity to join in such work since entering the profession in 2006. Since then, I have been involved in a wide variety of philosophical organizations. My involvement comprises leadership roles, hosting and organizing conferences, and serving on program and prize committees. Promoting a greater role for women and other minorities in philosophy is of special importance to me. For instance, one of my primary aims in helping to revive the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love was to facilitate philosophical discourse concerning LGBTQ issues. Additionally, throughout my career, I have made it a priority to participate in a wide range of conference types, in the US and abroad. As a result of these professional experiences, I have gotten to know a cross-section of APA members from different backgrounds, stages of career, institutions, and sub-disciplines. These interactions have exposed me to a significant variety of perspectives and concerns among APA members. They have also given me a sense of how to work within an organization to address member concerns, for example, to counteract implicit bias by carefully developing selection procedures for conference participants and to advance diversity by designing special conference panels. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to represent the APA members at large.

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James Woodward, University of Pittsburgh

Jim Woodward is Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh and prior to 2010 was the J.O. and Juliette Koepfli Professor of Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. 

While all members should applaud the great improvements in the APA as a professional organization over the past few years, a number of challenges remain.

1) It is not news that there are serious problems with the representation of women in philosophy and with attitudes and behavior directed at women by some in the profession. The APA has undertaken a number of measures to address these problems, which I believe should be supported and strengthened. Among many other steps, the APA should gather more systematic empirical information about the processes that lead to the under-representation of women at various stages of their career ladder. Why, for example, so few women (in comparison with men) continue on to a second undergraduate philosophy course after taking their first course? Similar issues arise in connection with the underrepresentation of minorities.

2) What should be the role of the APA in organization of the philosophy job market given the dramatic technological changes over the past few years, which affect everything from the application process to the ways in which interviews are conducted? The APA should make recommendations about this and should formulate a set of "Best Practices” for hiring institutions.

3) Speaking as someone who is primarily a philosopher of science, but who maintains serious interests in other areas of philosophy such as philosophy of psychology/mind, ethics and political philosophy, I regard the current intellectual separation of philosophy of science from other parts of philosophy as unfortunate, leading to many missed intellectual opportunities. More generally, it is important to the future of philosophy that it be better integrated with both the sciences and the other humanities. The APA should consider what role it might play in facilitating this, both in connection with convention programs and by other means.

Relevant Experience/Qualifications. I served two terms as Executive officer for the Humanities (Philosophy, Literature, and History) at Caltech, before moving to the University of Pittsburgh, where I am currently based. I am also the immediate past President of the Philosophy of Science Association. So I have some experience with broader issues in philosophy and its relation to other disciplines.

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