The Department of Philosophy adds strength to UB's strategic plan in five specific areas:
UB 2020 Strategic Strength — Cultures and Texts: Bringing together research on race, gender, poetics, aesthetics and other aspects of history, language, literature, art and culture, this strength encompasses research that looks critically at the world around us. Philosophy plays a central role in this strategic strength, which highlights our prominence in aesthetics, textual analysis, and social philosophy. Professor Korsmeyer’s research in aesthetics, Professor Gracia’s work on ethnicity, textual interpretation, art criticism, and curating, and Professor Lawler’s philosophical analyses of popular culture contribute to this strategic strength.
UB 2020 Strategic Strength — Civic Engagement and Public Policy. Advancing research and scholarship to address issues of social policy and persistent inequalities in society is the central mission of this initiative. Our work in environmental ethics examines how individual perceptions of value relate to public policies involving such matters as climate change and conservation. Theoretically, this work is concerned with the connection between motivating reasons and evaluative reasons. Practically, it is concerned with the connections between our perception of harm, benefit, and what we care about, and the public policies that underwrite those interests.
UB 2020 Strategic Strength — Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response. Research is geared towards assisting populations around the world prepare for and respond to extreme events. These include both natural and manmade events effecting large groups of people and infrastructure. Our work identifies the need to restructure institutions to deal with both slow-onset problems and extreme events associated with climate change, and rethinking the promotion of well-being in light of similar issues.
UB 2020 Strategic Strength — Information and Computing Technology. Progress in many areas is now driven by advances in computing technology. Through this Strength, UB is creating a platform for innovative research that directly shapes the future. Professor Barry Smith’s work in the ontological foundations of informatics contributes to this strength. Smith is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
UB 2020 Strategic Strength — Health and Wellness Across the Life span. Living a healthy life into one’s tenth decade is the central focus of this strength, which encompasses the breadth and depth of on campus research into the health sciences. Professor Barry Smith’s work on medical ontology is relevant to this strength. Professor Williams’ research on the metaphysics of diseases and Professor Hershenov’s research in the ethical and metaphysical issues involved in health care also contribute to this strategic strength.