Recent News

Melvin Rader Endowment The Melvin Rader Endowed Fund was established in October of 2009 by Philip and Estelle DeLacy. It will provide funds for student fellowships in philosophy. The generous endowment honors former philosophy faculty, Professor Melvin Rader. Rader was born in Walla Walla, Washington in 1903, and received three degrees from the UW (B.A., 1925; M.A., 1927; Ph.D., 1929). He joined the UW Philosophy Department as an Assistant Professor in 1930 where he went on to teach ethics,... Read more
Beyond Respect for Autonomy Recent public debates on issues such as physician assisted suicide and control over genetic samples highlight the importance of autonomy in American life and in American medicine. We want control over how things go in our lives, and we don't want others to force us to act against our will. Yet respect for autonomy has its limits, and in the realm of medicine, these limits are in need of some careful examination. Respect for autonomy is a fundamental ethical principle... Read more
"Doing" Philosophy with Children The Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children is a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Washington's Department of Philosophy. For 14 years, the Center has been introducing philosophy into the lives of young people by "doing" philosophy in K-12 classrooms. The Center's "Philosophers in the Schools" program brings philosophical discussion to classrooms by teaching adults, via their workshops, ways to facilitate philosophical dialogs with... Read more
From the Chair Every year I sit down to a blank screen and begin to try to recall key events of this past year, and try to look briefly into my crystal ball to see if there are any glimmers of the future. As I try to compose my "Words" for this newsletter, I notice that there is a tray of donuts on the counter. The question that occurs to me is: "Can an academic department subsist on Top Pot Donuts?" Some days it seems like we do. Lately, I am beginning to think about a life without being Chair... Read more
Dr. Conor Mayo-Wilson has been hired as a Tenure-track Assistant Professor. He will start his University of Washington career in autumn 2014. The department is excited to have him join us. Conor earned M.A. degrees in mathematics and in logic, computation, and methodology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010. A year later he was awarded a DeKarman fellowship, which allowed him to complete his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon in 2012. His research interests are in epistemology (... Read more
Inside the UN Climate Change Conference In late November and early December, the United Nations held its annual international climate meetings in Durban, South Africa. Our own Steve Gardiner was there, co-organizing a number of events on climate ethics, including a workshop at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a symposium webcast internationally by the Bellona Foundation, and a press conference at the international conference center. The themes of this year's events were climate... Read more
Congratulations to Professor William Talbott! The Korean translation of Professor William Talbott's book "Which Rights Should Be Universal?" was selected as the Human Rights Book of the Year by the Korea Human Rights Foundation (
Disordering Personalities? Psychiatric Diagnosis and Moral Responsibility This year's Rabinowitz symposium in medical ethics, co-organized by Sara Goering and Ingra Schellenberg, will focus on the topic of personality disorders and moral responsibility. Personality disorders (including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder) are psychiatric diagnoses linked to chronic social, emotional and behavioral difficulties... Read more
UW Center for Philosophy for Children The UW Center for Philosophy for Children continues to grow. And with this growth comes lots of exciting new projects and activities! Television - In November the Center was featured in a segment of UWTV's show UW-360 view at: High School Students at the UW - This fall the Center organized a "World... Read more
Should Future Law School Students be Philosophy Majors? On January 17th philosophy alumni and current UW law school students Julia Batina, '11, Miriam Korngold, '09, and Lee Marchisio, '03 braved the Seattle snow to discuss how their undergraduate degree in philosophy helped them to get into law school, and how it is now helping them with their law school studies. The entire alumni panel agreed that philosophy, especially the logic courses, helped them to score higher on the LSAT. They also... Read more