UCR Philosophy Department News—2012
The 2012–13 Faculty Research Lecturer: Distinguished Professor John Fischer
From its inception well over half a century ago, the Faculty Research Lecturer Award has been the highest honor that the Academic Senate bestows. The Committee on the Faculty Research Lecturer is honored to place in nomination by acclamation, John M. Fischer, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, and UC President’s Chair, Department of Philosophy.
Our selection was based on a combination of factors, including Professor Fischer’s extraordinary productivity and wide acclaim for the extremely high quality of his work, especially that dealing with the timeless issues of free will and moral responsibility. Importantly, his work, as noted by many of the extramural writers in support of the nomination, has had important impacts on several of fields beyond philosophy, including criminal law and psychiatry.
With respect to Professor Fischer’s productivity, he has authored or co-authored six books, and more than 100 essays. His nominators note that in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, only he and Professor Emeritus Harry Frankfurt of Princeton University are cited more than once among philosophers writing on free will over the past 100 years. They also note that Oxford University Press, among the most prestigious publishers of philosophical treatises, has published three volumes of Professor Fischer’s essays, whereas publication of even one is considered a major scholarly achievement. Moreover, the same publisher has published nine journal symposia devoted to Professor Fischer’s work, a very rare occurrence that provides additional testament to his eminence. The high quality of Professor Fischer’s scholarly achievement is further supported by extramural scholars who wrote to support his nomination. Lastly, we take pride in noting that Professor Fischer, who joined our faculty in 1988, has spent the overwhelming majority of his career here, bringing both national and international recognition to our Department of Philosophy and UCR.
$5 Million Grant Awarded to Study Immortality
The John Templeton Foundation grant to UC Riverside philosopher John Fischer will fund research on aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — For millennia, humans have pondered their mortality and whether death is the end of existence or a gateway to an afterlife. Millions of Americans have reported near-death or out-of-body experiences. And adherents of the world’s major religions believe in an afterlife, from reincarnation to resurrection and immortality.
Anecdotal reports of glimpses of an afterlife abound, but there has been no comprehensive and rigorous, scientific study of global reports about near-death and other experiences, or of how belief in immortality influences human behavior. That will change with the announcement today by the John Templeton Foundation of a three-year, $5 million grant to John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality. It is the largest grant ever awarded to a humanities professor at UC Riverside, and one of the largest given to an individual at the university.
“People have been thinking about immortality throughout history. We have a deep human need to figure out what happens to us after death,” said Fischer, the principal investigator of The Immortality Project. “Much of the discussion has been in literature, especially in fantasy and science fiction, and in theology in the context of an afterlife, heaven, hell, purgatory and karma. No one has taken a comprehensive and sustained look at immortality that brings together the science, theology and philosophy.”
June 2012. Congratulations to Carl Cranor on his appointment by the California Senate Rules Committee to the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program Scientific Guidance Panel. This is a distinguished and important position. Please join me in offering congratulations to Carl.
May 2012. Congratulations to Scott Sevier, who has now accepted a Visiting Assistant Professorship at California State University, Fullerton. This is great news!
Also, a tip of the hat (if I had a hat) to his supervisor, David Glidden. Special thanks also to Calvin Normore!
April 2012. Congratulations to Heinrik Hellwig who has been given 1 quarter of Dissertation year fellowship award for 2012-2013.
April 2012. Congratulations to Courtney Morris who has been given 2 quarters of Dissertation year fellowship award for 2012-2013.
April 2012. Congratulations to Agnieszka Jaworska on her Templeton Grant. This is a wonderful achievement and great opportunity for Agnieszka and also our department and campus! Templeton Foundation Awards $640,000 for Philosophy Research Project. UC Riverside scholar Agnieszka Jaworska shares grant with philosophers at Vassar and Franklin & Marshall colleges for study of role of love and caring in human freedom.
March 2012. Congratulations to Glenn Pettigrove for his article "Meekness and 'Moral' Anger" which was published in the January 2012 issue of Ethics - one of the premier journals in moral, political and legal philosophy. Glen is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
March 2012. Congratulations to Chris Franklin, who now has a tenure track offer of a position in the Philosophy Department at Marymount University, Arlington, VA. The campus is in a lovely area very close to Washington, DC.
This is a great opportunity for Chris, and I am absolutely delighted with this news. Allow me to say how proud I am of Chris, and what an honor it has been for me to work with him. It has been wonderful to see how patient and classy Chris has been, even in somewhat frustrating and challenging circumstances, and it is great to see that Chris has been rewarded with such an exciting opportunity. Congrats to his dissertation supervisor, John Fischer.
February 2012: Congratulations to Justin Coates, who will be the Law and Philosophy Research Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School next year!! This is a very competitive and prestigious post-doc, and a wonderful opportunity for Justin (and, in my view, for Brian Leiter and Martha Nussbaum and others at the University of Chicago).
February 2012: Congratulations to Megs Gendreau, who now has a tenure-track offer from the Philosophy Department at Cal Poly, Pomona! Last year Megs received two prestigious two-year post-doc offers, and is currently in residence at Bowdoin College. We are very proud of Megs, and I'd like to add a word of congratulations to her dissertation supervisor, Carl Cranor.
February 2012: Congratulations to Michael Goerger, who has now accepted a tenure track position in the Philosophy Department at Central Washington University, where he is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor. They like him so much at CWU that no one else had a chance, but he was a finalist also at University of Arkansas, Little Rock; Michael decided he would rather stay at CWU.
Again, congratulations to Michael, and also to his dissertation supervisor, David Glidden!