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.
Professor of Philosophy; Chair 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, view his calendar.
Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy
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.
Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy
Laura Sizer has broad interests in philosophy of mind, cognitive science and applied ethics, including neuroethics and environmental ethics. She is particularly interested in questions at the intersections of ethics and the sciences. Sizer's recent research has focused on happiness, well-being and what it means to live a 'good life.' Her current research looks at the roles of affect (emotions and moods) in our aesthetic experiences. She is also interested in topics in neuroethics such as the ethics of cognitive and affective enhancement.
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).
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.