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Department News

  • 2/19/21
    The National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) now has a sister organization in Brazil. The non-profit association, NCOR-BR, consists of a dynamic network of researchers, professionals and students committed to playing an active role in discussions on Applied Ontology, disseminating knowledge and good practices to support high quality ontological artifacts. The Brazilian chapter of NCOR was born from more than a decade of discussions within a group of researchers in Information Science.
  • 5/10/21
    The University at Buffalo Department of Philosophy congratulates our alumnus, Jonathan J. Sanford, PhD (Buffalo), on being named by the University of Dallas Board of Trustees as the insitution's 10th president effective July 1, 2021. Sanford's areas of expertise include Ethics, Higher Education, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Metaphysics, Virtue Theory, Social and Political Philosophy, and Early Phenomenology. Learn more.
  • 1/11/21
    On the occasion of commemorating service to a Department and a University which ran for almost fifty years, that had its start at a time of the anti-war movement and the student protests of the late 1960s, and ended at the time of digital globalization and economic precarity of the late 2010s, it is worth remembering Professor Kah Kyung Cho’s turbulent beginings. It may well be said that his early life was determined by such a series of rare events, and strokes of good fortune, which one encounters only in the fictional world of a novel. But, at the same time, Prof. Cho’s life tale was the offspring of a different era, an era that seems today a distant past, when hardship, insecurity, danger, and eventually chance, ruled. Read more.
  • 1/15/21
    There’s a growing sense that the American experiment is faltering, and it’s tempting to blame diversity (the thing that amplifies our different needs, interests, and wants). But in a truly liberal society, that’s the easy (and incorrect) way out, says Ryan Muldoon in a conversation with Niskanen's Will Wilkinson.  Access the discussion on YouTube.
  • 8/21/20
    Philosophy, Politics and Economics begins with a wide-angle view of the inherent tools found in these three disciplines. It considers their strengths and blind spots, and then pulls the various instruments together to create a robust mechanism that can creatively inform, explain and evaluate those systems and forces influencing organizations and societies. UB’s three-dimensional PPE design also includes an early course in model-based reasoning, which has been developed specifically for the program. “The idea is to help students think about the world using models that allow them to consider complicated problems, Ryan Muldoon, associate professor, Department of Philosophy.
  • 7/29/20
    Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced that Dr. Ryan Muldoon is co-editor of its new book series, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Dr. Muldoon, Associate Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Program, University at Buffalo Department of Philosophy, is an expert in social political philosophy. As one of five co-editors of the book series, Muldoon enjoys the support and advice of OUP's Editorial Advisory Board. 
  • 7/15/19
    "In this partly biographical and partly philosophical work, Jorge Gracia provides us with an autobiographical account of his youth in Cuba prior and right after the Cuban Revolution. His is an unmatching riveting and revealing account of his life that can explain his love with philosophy, history and Hispanic/Latino culture in general. [...] With his broad background in the history of philosophy, especially Medieval and Latin American philosophy, Gracia has given us an exemplary account of how relevant philosophy could be for exploring challenging issues related to culture, ethnicity, and race. In sum, I think that unquestionably Jorge Gracia can be considered the living dean of Latin American philosophy in North America." — Vicente Medina, professor of philosophy, Seton Hall University. The book is available on Amazon.
  • 6/12/20
    Research at the University at Buffalo’s National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) is leveraging ontology to assist in the efforts to control the current outbreak, accelerate data discovery in future pandemics, and promote reproducible infectious disease research. Read the news story by Bert Gambini. Also see the related paper, The Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology (CIDO), a community-based ontology for coronavirus disease knowledge and data integration, sharing, and analysis, here.
  • 5/18/20
    The University at Buffalo Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce that James R. Beebe,  Professor of Philosophy, has been awarded a $234,000 research grant from the John Templeton Foundation  to study the philosophy and psychology of intellectual autonomy. The three-year project aims to deepen understanding of how to balance a healthy reliance upon our own reasoning and decision making with a robust awareness of the fallibility of our cognitive capacities. On the one hand, overestimating our intellectual abilities and achievements can lead us to dismiss the testimony of peers and experts when they disagree with us, closing us off to potentially valuable information. On the other hand, focusing too much on our intellectual limitations and weaknesses can result in insufficient self-trust and an excessive deference toward the opinions and reasoning of others. Knowing how to balance intellectual self-reliance with intellectual humility can be especially difficult when navigating contentious public debates that are marked by increasing polarization and massive amounts of misinformation that are disguised as fact.
  • 3/31/20
    The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce a graphic design contest for UB undergraduate students to create an original poster to advertise one of our selected courses. The top prize is a UB 2021-22 tuition waiver valued at $5,000. The contest is open to all UB Undergraduate students currently enrolled in any program. All undergraduate students at UB are invited to enter the poster design contest. 
  • 1/4/21
    Barry Smith and the Industrial Ontologies Foundry (IOF) are hosting a global community of scholars, researchers and industry professionals working to create a logically organized set of definitions — known as an ontology — that would allow computer programs to communicate across different operating systems and software programs. The IOF's Third Expert Meeting,  March 5, 2020, is featured by UB Research News.
  • 6/19/19
    Routledge has published Alex King's book, What We Ought and What We Can (2019). Book abstract:  Are we able to do everything we ought to do? According to the important but controversial Ought Implies Can principle, the answer is yes. In this book Alex King sheds some much-needed light on this principle. She argues that it is flawed because we are obligated to perform some actions that we cannot perform, and goes on to present a suggested theory for anyone who would deny the principle. She examines the traditional motivations for Ought Implies Can, and finds that they to a large degree do not support it. Using examples like gay rights, addiction, and disability, she argues that we can preserve many of the motivations that led us to the principle by thinking more about what we, as individuals or institutions, can fairly demand of ourselves and each other.
  • 8/15/20
    Oxford University Press has published Carolyn Korsmeyer's book, Things: In Touch with the Past (2019). The book explores the value of artifacts that have survived from the past and that can be said to "embody" their histories. Such genuine or "real" things afford a particular kind of experience — an encounter with the past-despite the fact that genuineness is not a perceptually detectable property. Although it often goes unnoticed, the sense of touch underlies such encounters, even though one is often not permitted literal touch. See faculty profile.
  • 4/15/19
    Congratulations to Conor McMahon, winner of the 2019 Critical Language Scholarship. His achievement is being recognized at the 15th Annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence. Join us for the awards ceremony, April 24, Thursday, at 3:00p.m. in the Mainstage Theater. The UB community gathers at this annual event, hosted by UB CURCA, to recognize and celebrate the outstanding academic contributions of our students, faculty and research mentors. See the full program.

Dr. Alexandra King named 2018 Outstanding Faculty by GSA

  • 12/14/18
    Dr. Alexandra King was presented the Outstanding Faculty by Angela Menditto, President, UB Graduate Philosophy Association (GPA). King's research examines the relationship between different kinds of normativity, especially when it comes to sorting out the parallels and differences between practical, moral, and aesthetic normativity. Other annual awards for AY 2017-18, presented by Dr. David Braun, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, were given in recognition of outstanding work by three graduate students: Clint Dowland was given the Thomas D. Perry Award for Best Dissertation Defense; Ariane Nomikos received the Peter Hare Award for Best Overall Paper for her essay, “Place Matters.”; and, David Limbaugh was presented the Patrick and Edna Romanell Award for Philosophical Work in Naturalism for his essay, "The Flexibility of Reality: An Essay on Modality, Representation, and Powers."

2018 event honors the work of John Kearns and Stuart Shapiro

  • 1/15/21
    The Buffalo Logic Colloquium is an interdisciplinary logic group open to all interested scholars. Its members include professors and graduate students from several institutions in Western New York and Southwestern Ontario. Institutions represented include University of Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Canisius College, D’Youville College, Erie Community College, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center,  SUNY Fredonia, and, in Canada, McMaster University, University of Waterloo, and University of Western Ontario. Founding members include John Corcoran, Nicolas Goodman, Michael Herring, Charles Lambros, John Kearns, John Myhill, William Parry, John Pollock, John Richards, Dov Tamari, Richard Vesley, and Susan Wood.

The Knight Foundation initiative: Trust, Media and Democracy

  • 1/15/20
    Professor Ryan Muldoon, an expert in social political philosophy, recently worked with the Knight Foundation on its Trust, Media and Democracy initiative. The foundation promotes excellence in journalism and the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Muldoon is part of the foundation’s panel of specialists in various fields committed to creating more informed and engaged communities. UB News featured the following article during the first week of the Fall 2018 semester.

See graduate student profiles, interviews, alumni updates, and more

  • 11/21/18
    The UB Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce the 23rd edition of the Noûsletter.  In this edition you will find interviews with John Kearns and Kah Kyung Cho, along with faculty news, graduate student profiles,  alumni updates, and much more. The 76-page  edition was edited by Robert Kelly. We invite you to download the new edition, plus past editions of the Noûsletter, here.

The Knight Foundation initiative: Trust, Media and Democracy

  • 1/15/20
    Professor Ryan Muldoon, an expert in social political philosophy, recently worked with the Knight Foundation on its Trust, Media and Democracy initiative. The foundation promotes excellence in journalism and the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Muldoon is part of the foundation’s panel of specialists in various fields committed to creating more informed and engaged communities. UB News featured the following article during the first week of the Fall 2018 semester.

Jason Adsit named seventh president of Mount Saint Mary College


In a unanimous vote that followed a national search, the board of Mount Saint Mary College selected Jason Adsit as its seventh full-time president. See the news article. He graduated from UB in 2002 with a PhD in Philosophy. Adsit's dissertation, directed by Peter Hare, is an investigation of Apologies.

Published May 26, 2018


The Society of Automotive Engineers has invited Barry Smith to deliver the keynote for the SAE Automated and Connected Vehicle Systems Testing Symposium, June 20-21, 2018. The event, hosted by Clemson University–International Center for Automotive Research, will bring together key thought leaders from academia, research, industry, government, and the automotive engineering industry to discuss the latest automated vehicle testing programs, data acquisition and analytics approaches, and research that will inevitably drive the industry forward to a fully connected and automated vehicle. Read more about the symposium.

Keynote Abstract: The ontology approach to knowledge integration is much more flexible than approaches based on traditional relational database technology, and is thus ideally suited to achieve results in those areas where we are dealing with a broad spectrum of different sorts of data that is rapidly expanding into new areas. Unfortunately, in almost all cases where ontology technology has been tried, it has produced results which are fragmentary and inconsistent, and have typically enjoyed a short half-life. I will describe the reasons for these failures, and outline a strategy for the creation of interoperable ontology modules that has been used with success in the biomedical and military domains, and is currently being applied in the field of digital manufacturing.

"Capabilities: Human and Machine"

Inner Virtue

What does it mean to be a morally good person? It can be tempting to think that it is simply a matter of performing certain actions and avoiding others. And yet, there is much more to moral character than our outward actions. We expect a good person to not only behave in certain ways, but also to experience the world in certain ways within. Pleasure, emotion, and attention are important parts of our moral character despite being involuntary inner states. Inner Virtue defends a theory of why and how such states are relevant to moral character: These states say something about what kind of person one is by manifesting our deepest cares and concerns.

Inner Virtue, provides a new theory of moral virtue and vice. The work examines a neglected area of philosophical study (the moral status of states disconnected from action), while drawing on sources in non-western philosophy, as well as empirical work and personal memoirs. Learn more.

One of our most successful recent PhD graduates is William Duncan, who has been appointed Associate Director of the Clinical Data Network at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the first dedicated medical facility for cancer treatment and research in the United States.

Noteworthy Links

See the latest edition of the Noûsletter. Alumni are invited to send updates to us for inclusion in the next edition. Contact John Beverley, Managing Editor, Noûsletter.