Newsletter Summer 2014 From the Chair


Hegel isn't a philosopher who is taught much in our Department. His works are difficult and sometimes obscure, seemingly far from the model of clarity and rigor that we preach. But I think that he got at least one thing right. In his most famous work, The Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel described what he calls the "struggle for recognition," which consists of the idea that our recognition of other beings as self-conscious is essential to the awareness of ourselves as conscious subjects. The end of the year at the UW is the time when we become Hegelians. At graduation, we highlight the achievements of our students and in that way become aware of our own worth as teachers. Likewise, family and friends gather to celebrate the graduates and at the same time come to know and feel the value of their own contribution.

Our own Department ceremony at the lovely Center for Urban Horticulture was complemented this year by what we hope will be the start of a new tradition, a reception at the University of Washington Club the evening before for those who have received special recognition for their achievements. We were delighted to give our first Kenneth Clatterbaugh Scholarship to Spencer Paulson, a particularly promising undergraduate student. Andrea Woody was given a Friends of Philosophy Faculty Course Development grant to help her integrate technology into her new Introduction to Philosophy class. And we were delighted to have a member of the family of Professor Melvin Rader present as we talked about the fascinating dissertation work of Elizabeth Scarbrough, a past winner of the Rader Summer grants for innovative projects. And it isn't just within the University that our excellence is recognized. Arthur Fine, our distinguished and (alas) newly retired faculty member, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of only two faculty at the UW to be honored in this way.

It is through these ceremonies and honors that we become aware as a community of the remarkable achievements of the individuals among us and how much effort it takes by all of us to make this possible. Thank you for your interest and support of the Department. I urge you to read all the articles in the newsletter, which highlight just a few of the great things our students and faculty have undertaken. I hope that learning about their work will lead you to become aware of your own potential to make a difference. But before you become subsumed in these dialectical processes, I also hope that you have a chance to take a break and enjoy a moment of summer relaxation, whether here in the glorious Puget Sound or somewhere else. We all deserve it!

 

 

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