Letter from the Chair

Michael Rosenthal

When spring arrives on the quad at the UW, it means that the cherry trees blossom in all their glory and the crowds arrive to revel in the scene. What surprises me every year is the generosity of nature: its willingness to give to us this beautiful spectacle for our enjoyment. It is a fitting symbol for the spirit that animates our philosophical community. When I read through the articles in this newsletter what ties them all together for me is the incredible generosity that I find expressed in each of them. Dan Gerler, alumnus and member of the Department’s Advisory Board, has given us two extraordinary gifts this year: the first, a faculty fellowship that will allow one of our philosophers the time and resources to develop an innovative project; the second, two fellowships for our students who want to work for the UW Center for the Philosophy for Children. I was a judge at the Washington State High School Ethics Bowl, and I saw once again how the Center, so ably directed by Jana Mohr Lone, helps us reach out and give the gift of philosophical discussion to a broader (and younger) community.

 In both medical and environmental ethics, the Benjamin Rabinowitz endowments have transformed our Department. Carina Fourie is teaching us how we can think about extending the benefits of health more widely and equitably. Steve Gardiner is helping us think about how environmental justice is an intergenerational issue. Likewise, Michael Blake, who was just awarded a highly-competitive summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, examines how the idea of mercy might inform the politics of migration.

 Thanks to the Deans’ support of our mission we have another new member of the Department, Ian Schnee, who is bringing his energy and enthusiasm—for everything from logic to the philosophy of film—to hundreds of our students and has reenergized the undergraduate philosophy club. Our faculty give themselves—to their work, to our institution, to our students—over and over again so that others may learn and benefit from their skill and insight.

 Two of our long-time and respected faculty members, Lynn Hankinson Nelson and Ron Moore, are retiring at the end of this academic year. I invite you to join us at 4:30pm on Wednesday, May 11th at the UW Club to celebrate their many contributions. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of philosophers, so rich in spirit, to teach our students. I am grateful for their generosity and for yours. Whether you donate money, support our students, or give your time and energy to think about or advocate for philosophy, you make our Department a better place. Thank you!