Our faculty have published on such diverse topics as disagreement, modal logics, film romance, scientific confirmation, and emotions in fictional appreciation. We also benefit from the wider resources available through the other members of the Five College Consortium: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Chair of Philosophy; Professor of Philosophy
James Harold is interested in both ethics and aesthetics, but most of his work focuses on the intersection of these two fields. Harold's work focuses on our imaginative engagement with artworks. His recent work includes a defense of classical Chinese and ancient Greek views about the moral value of music. He teaches a wide range of courses in ethics, metaethics, medical ethics, philosophy of the arts, and the philosophies of ancient Greece and pre-Han China. For office hours, please sign up online.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Nina Emery’s work focuses on the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. She is especially interested in the question of how and to what extent our best scientific theories, especially quantum mechanics and relativity theory, should inform our understanding of time, probability, and laws of nature. She also works on the question of how and to what extent standard scientific practice relies on appeals to extra-empirical criteria like simplicity and explanatory power.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Sam Mitchell teaches logic and associated areas such as probability. His research is in justification in Philosophy of Science. He's particularly interested in how making observations justifies believing in hypotheses of a scientific theory. He is currently at work writing a book on how it is possible to justify a hypothesis by two independent experiments, and relatedly, how it is possible to justify one hypothesis independently of another.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Katia Vavova works primarily at the intersection of epistemology and ethics. She is interested in what counts as evidence of our own error and how we should accommodate that evidence when we get it. Some recent work focuses on how we should respond to disagreement with people whose opinions we respect (answer: with humility), and whether our evolutionary origins should make us doubt our moral beliefs (answer: they shouldn’t).
Visiting Professor in Philosophy
Thomas White has published in areas that include: 16th century Renaissance humanism, utopian theory, business ethics and environmental ethics. His main area of research over the last thirty years has been the philosophical and ethical implications of the scientific research on whales and dolphins. He argues that dolphins should be considered “nonhuman persons” and that the use of captive cetaceans by the entertainment industry constitutes “cruelty.” He is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He has published seven books and numerous articles. His research on dolphins can be found at http://indefenseofdolphins.com.
Laurie L. Dion
Academic Department Coordinator
Natalina Tulik is the Academic Department Coordinator for Philosophy, Religion and Jewish Studies. She manages the budget, purchasing, online course catalog submissions, events, award applications, and all the daily needs of faculty and majors. She has been on campus since 1999.