Department of Philosophy Community Blog

Something very different

Scholarly Impact Metrics: Gallagher

The Department of Philosophy is proud to congratulate Professor Shaun Gallagher for his scholastic impact on research. The University of Memphis recently posted data for a handful of our faculty; below is an excerpt.

Scholarly Impact Metrics: Google Scholar

The University of Memphis is home to a tremendous community of research scholars. They produce an increasing stream of publications in the top research outlets. Citations of these research publications is a key measurement of the global impact of UofM research. See a summary of those faculty who are cited most often according to Google Scholar.

Citation Impact Summary – UofM Faculty with highest citation counts:

  •   Shaun Gallagher, Professor of Philosophy (28,890 citations)

For the full list, the newsletter can be viewed at the following url:

“Why mixed messaging can erode trust in institutions”

Professor Deborah Tollefsen’s article “Why mixed messaging can erode trust in institutions” was published this Monday morning, October 26, 2020, on the website The Conversation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revised its guidance to acknowledge that COVID-19 can be spread through tiny airborne particles, known as aerosols. It had earlier removed a similar guidance from its website, saying it was “posted in error.”

Similarly, there have been conflicting messages from the Trump administration regarding the use of masks. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has repeatedly said that masks are a recommendation, not a requirement. But others in the administration, such as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and Vice President Mike Pence, have urged people to wear masks.

Such messaging can lead people to wonder what to believe and whom to trust. As a philosopher studying the nature of trust and its function in institutions, I explore the analogy between trust in people and trust in institutions.

Just as conflicting messages can lead us to distrust people, they can also erode the public’s trust in institutions.

Continue reading


Professor Remy Debes recently article, Facing Up to Oppression: Adam Smith and the Question of Reparations, can be found on Adam Smith Works, at

Below is a small sample:

If the development of free societies, grounded in principles of liberty, equality, and the rule of law, is the crowning glory of the western world, then the modern history of western oppression is its bitter and enduring shame. Two basic facts of this history stand out. First, modern liberal theory – as it developed roughly from Locke to Mill – as well as the institutions and cultures it produced, emerged alongside the manifest and systematic exploitation and persecution of many kinds of peoples. The enslavements of African and Caribbean people are the most horrific examples. But the scope of this oppression has been vast: women, Native Americans, Indians, Latin Americans, Asian, the Roma, Jews, the disabled, the poor, gay and bisexual people, the gender non-conforming – all these people have endured centuries of explicit, often violent harassment and discrimination in the west.
Second, this historical oppression gave rise to entrenched patterns of inequality that persist today, and which involve a variety of interlocking forces: social, political, punitive, educational, and economic. Consider only the last as it connects to race inequalities in America. The overall wealth gap in the United States between the top quintile and everyone else has been growing since the Great Depression. And the gap between whites and people of color has been widening even faster. According to a major 2017 report from the Institute for Policy Studies, median black and Latino households witnessed 75% and 50% declines in wealth (respectively) between 1983-2013, to sit at a measly $2000. Meanwhile, the median wealth of white households at the end of the same period was $116,800.1 Nor does recent evidence suggest a change in these trends. On the contrary, by the end of 2020, white households are projected to own 86 times more wealth than black households, and 68 times more than Latino households. And by 2053, black households are projected to hit $0, with Latino households following suit two decades later.2
A commonplace defense against these two basic facts of western history, especially among right-libertarians, is to claim that this history and its present-day ramifications are essentially the product of gross and compounding errors in the practice of liberal theory, not in its principle. Unsurprisingly, those who believe this often also reject any suggestion of reparation for the past harms of western oppression.
To be sure, these people are usually quick to say that present day inequities are unfortunate. These inequities may even threaten overall social stability. Correspondingly, considerations of both benevolence and utility require those of us with means to find ways to help those on the losing side of this history.
Nevertheless, according to those who think this way, reparation is tantamount to unjust redistribution. It would require that those who aren’t personally responsible for these past harms or the present-day patterns that these harms contributed to, have their property and liberty infringed upon in ways that the foundational principles of liberalism cannot justify, and indeed condemn.
In this essay, I argue against this way of understanding liberal theory. At least, for those of us who consider Adam Smith a foundational source and guide to liberal theory, as I do, this kind of response to the facts of western oppression must be judged facile. Although Smith’s theory of liberty prima facie tells against reparations for western oppression, serious engagement with Smith’s theories of law and justice suggests that there is space for the claim. To be clear, I don’t pretend to make a conclusive case for thinking that Smith’s theory supports a call for reparations. I’m content to convince you that it might.

Read the full article at Adam Smith Works


Undergraduate Success: Julian Rome

The following comes from former undergraduate Julian Rome who continues to be an exemplary student.

I am very happy to say that I was awarded a Rackham Merit Fellowship from the University of Michigan, as well as the Alfred M. Wolfe Fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi honors society.

At Michigan, I am in the Program for Ancient Philosophy, meaning that I am working towards an MA in Greek and PhD in Philosophy. I think that this is an excellent program for my research interests, as I am increasingly interested in the various ways in which literature and literary elements function in Plato’s dialogues. I completed the Greek Intensive Course at Berkeley over the summer, which allowed me to begin this fall with Greek language and literature courses (in addition to philosophy seminars, of course).

I cannot say enough just how grateful I am to the Philosophy Department at Memphis for preparing me for this new program of study.

Congratulations Julian!

Faculty updates – Shaun Gallagher

We are pleased to share the following publications and events from Professor Shaun Gallagher.

Book Publication

  • The third edition of The Phenomenological Mindwill be published in October by Routledge (Shaun Gallagher, co-authored with Dan Zahavi)

Papers published open access:

Chapters in collected volumes:

  • Gallagher, S. 2020. Body self-awareness: Multiple levels or dynamical gestalt. In K. Kendler, J. Parnas and P. Zachar (eds.), Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology (131-159)Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gallagher, S. 2020. Who is the psychiatric subject? In K. Kendler, J. Parnas and P. Zachar (eds.), Levels of Analysis in Psychopathology (228-231)Cambridge: Cambridge University     Press
  • Gallagher, S. 2020. Phenomenology of agency and the cognitive sciences. In C. Erhard & T. Keiling (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of the Phenomenology of Agency (334-348). London: Routledge.
  • Gallagher, S. 2020. To follow a rule: Lessons from baby logicInterpreting Modernity: Essays in honor of Charles Taylor (21-34). Daniel Weinstock and Jacob Levy (eds.). Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Recent and upcoming lectures (all done remotely via Zoom)

  • Modeling the situation of social interaction. Seminar on Situated Cognition. Ruhr U. Bochum. (1 December 2020).
  • When you know something that your brain doesn’t: Predictive processing and perceptual illusions. X-Spect Virtual Conference: Expecting Ourselves: Embodied Prediction and the Construction of Conscious Experience. University of Edinburgh (4-6 November 2020).
  • Zero-intelligence and human automaticity at two extremes. First Conference on Zero/Minimal Intelligence Agents. Yale University and Max-Planke Institute for Human Development. (22 October 2020)
  • Scaling up or scaling out? A recipe for explaining psychiatric conditions. Workshop on scaling up problem, enactivism and psychopathology. Ruhr U. Bochum. Online conference. (5 October 2020)
  • Keynote: A meshed architecture in performance and social cognition. The First International School on Philosophy of Cognitive Science: 4E Approaches. Rescheduled-online. Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (9-10 September 2020)

Overdoing Democracy

The Rhodes College Department of Philosophy will be hosting a colloquium on Friday Oct 2, featuring Robert Talisse on his book “Overdoing Democracy.”

Overdoing Democracy

CFP – Anti-Racist Politics and Social Crisis

Please see the attached Call for Papers via Radical Philosophy Review

Radical Philosophy Review (RPR) seeks contributions to an ongoing discussion of the issues facing anti-racist politics in the US. Racism is so pervasive that none of the grave social issues facing contemporary society can be addressed without identifying it as a constitutive feature of economic, political, and cultural life. What does this imply for anti-racist politics in general and the response to the public health, environmental, economic, and political crises in particular? For philosophers, these are questions about appropriate concepts and forms of understanding as well as about the practical roles and responsibilities of intellectuals.

BLM RPR (pdf)

CFP – Deweyan Approaches to Contemporary Issues at the Intersection of Data and Technology

We are pleased to announce that the CFP for Education and Culture is out and will be guest edited by the Department’s Instructor/Online Coordinator Dr. Kevin Taylor!

CFP – Education and Culture

Recently Published Book Spotlight

With the release of his new book, we are very happy to share Professor Kas Sagafi’s interview on the APA New Book Spotlight. Congratulations Kas!

Recently Published Book Spotlight: The World after the End of the World

Graduate Fellowship

Julian Rome continues to bring us honor. He was awarded an $8500 graduate fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi, which he will use at Michigan next year when he starts his doctoral studies.

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