I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
My research specializes on the philosophy of Benedict de Spinoza, especially as it concerns politics, ethics, and the passions. My book, Spinoza and the Politics of Renauralization, examines the implications of Spinoza’s denial of human exceptionalism for contemporary political theory. I am currently co-authoring a book on Spinoza’s religious ethics with Keith Green that focuses on the role of love and hate in individual and collective moral development. I am also working on a feminist interpretation of Spinoza’s characterizations of women, children, and family. Together these books will comprise an investigation into Spinoza’s account of what Hegel called “ethical substance.”
My dissertation, Ampliative Inference and the Principle of Sufficient Reason, resides at the intersection of the history and philosophy of science and logic. I examine questions about logic, hypothesis generation, and theory modification in light of the Pluto controversy and the prediction and discovery of Neptune. I argue that Leibniz's later formulations of the principle of sufficient reason help us understand non-deductive inferences in the sciences if we take explanations to be contrastive. More generally, my research focuses on the limits of logic as we have inherited it in the 21st century, and in particular, the limits of truth-functional relations. I explore this in both my philosophical research and my work in applied ontology. My philosophical research is motivated by the idea that returning to a logic of terms and examining the variety of relations among terms has the potential to reveal solutions to problems of relevance and articulate further logical features of non-deductive inference such as hypothesis generation.
I have recently joined the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida to conduct research in applied ontology. In information science, 'ontology'; describes a set of machine readable axioms that encode a system of concepts, representing them in a network structure using a variety of formal relations such as hierarchy and mereological relations. The dream of being able to explore relations among terms computationally was not foreign to the early modern thinkers. In particular, Leibniz pursued this goal in his work toward a universal characteristic. He even designed and built an arithmetic machine. I believe that early modern philosophers would be fascinated by applied ontology and the semantic web since these technologies provide ways of structuring concepts and reasoning about them. My research in applied ontology allows me to use my skills and knowledge base as a philosopher and logician to develop new technologies that help researchers discover new hypotheses and organize knowledge in the otherwise noisy sea of digital medical data. By focusing on medical data, I am working to overcome health disparities in underserved populations.
I started working with Emily Grosholz as a postdoc during my visit at Pennsylvania State University (State College) in 2008, where we spent the summer working on the growth of scientific knowledge and ampliative reasoning in mathematics.
Since then, we have developed a fruitful and ongoing collaboration, which ended up with a volume edited together—i.e. 2011. C. Cellucci, E. Grosholz, E. Ippoliti (eds.). Logic and Knowledge. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-4438-3008-9—and several conferences organized together.Now I am an Assistant Professor in Logic and Theories of Reasoning in the Philosophy Department - Sapienza University of Rome. The main areas of my research are logic and philosophy of science, in particular heuristics and the logic of discovery, with a focus on mathematics and finance (stock markets). I run the "Logic & Knowledge” project.
I am a faculty member at Aix-Marseilles University, Department of Philosophy. My research (Academia page) concerns both the history of philosophy and the history of mathematics in the 17th century. I am interested in the philosophers who also are geometers, in particular Descartes, Leibniz, and Pascal. My aim is to show how philosophy and mathematics, more precisely metaphysics and geometry, are related to one another in the works and doctrines of those philosophers who were writing geometrical essays and metaphysical texts sometimes exactly at the same time. The hypothesis is that there must be a sort of porosity between their areas of thoughts, so that the understanding of one of their disciplines seems to require the light of the other. That does not mean that one could assert that there is a direction from one to the other, or a model of one for the other, but only that one can take beautiful advantages of the cross-reading of their different productions.
I received my Ph.D. from Penn State in 2000 with a dissertation titled, "Comparing Reflections: Leibniz's Theory of Cultural Exchange and his Writings on Chinese Philosophy." Prof. Emily R. Grosholz was the supervisor for my dissertation and I still recognize certain patterns of thought or forms of questions that I developed from her influence. Her role in my intellectual development, though, extends beyond serving as a guide in how to conduct research. I became interested in Early Modern European Philosophy primarily through a course I took with her. Since I also had a longstanding interest in China and Chinese Philosophy, I thought I would write an MA thesis on Descartes and then spend a year in China teaching. When I discussed this plan with her, Emily suggested that I take a look at Leibniz's writings on China, then that I contact a friend of hers (Rita Widmaier) at the Leibniz Archives, and then that I apply for a Fulbright/DAAD grant to spend a year in Hannover (Germany) working on that topic. I received the grant, which led to my dissertation, which led to my first book, Leibniz and China: A Commerce of Light, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004, and now even to a Chinese translation of that book, 互照-莱布尼茨与中国, published by Peking University Press in 2013. In 2007, I also published Leibniz: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum/Bloomsbury), which was translated into Portuguese as Compreender Leibniz and published in Brazil in 2009.
I have been a professor in the Philosophy Department at DePaul University since August 2011. The main focus of my teaching, research, and service is on cross-cultural dialogue and the challenges of doing philosophy in a global perspective, with a concentration on China. I was the founding director of DePaul's Chinese Studies Program, from 2007-2012, and I helped design two study abroad programs to China, including an intensive summer language program at Fudan University (Shanghai). In the past decade, most of my research has been on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy, culminating in my third book, Heaven and Earth are not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy, published by Indiana University Press in 2014. I am also co-editor with Chenyang Li of Chinese Metaphysics and Its Problems, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Many of my articles (or drafts of those articles) can be found here. I also have a series of three talks on the Daodejing meant for a general audience (here, here, and here) and a series of talks on the problem of evil in Chinese Philosophy, given at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago (here, here, and here).
This year I am a visiting professor at Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore.
I took two classes with Emily Grosholz, Modern Philosophy and Race, Culture, and Justice, before asking her to serve as the faculty sponsor for a student organization that I founded called Rescue Childhood. Rescue Childhood's mission was to educate students about children's human rights issues and to provide ways for Penn State students to support children's rights campaigns around the world. Rescue Childhood focused on street children in Dominican Republic, and Dr. Grosholz created a two semester service-learning course called "Children and Social Justice" for group members and interested students to take. Class members had the option of attending a service-learning trip to Dominican Republic, where the students presented Niños del Camino - an organization that cares for children who live in the streets of Santo Domingo - with funds to support the organization's work and expansion. I wrote my undergraduate honors thesis on the subject.
After graduation, I spent a year teaching English and learning French in southern France, and then moved to Houston, Texas to work as a bilingual (Spanish-English) elementary school teacher with Teach for America. After completing my two-year commitment to the corps, I worked for a small plaintiff-side law firm in Houston while applying to law school.
I attended Georgetown University Law Center, where I stepped into leadership roles in human rights and children's rights groups on campus. I was a researcher and editor for a student-led report sponsored by Georgetown's Human Rights Institute addressing the Iraqi Refugee Crisis in the United States. As a student attorney, I represented unaccompanied minors in immigration detention in Arizona and juveniles charged with crimes in the District of Columbia. I interned for the Oversight Office of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, assisting staff with its investigation of abuses by the for-profit college and university industry. I also served as Managing Editor of the Georgetown Journal of International Law, and graduated, magna cum laude, in 2011.
After law school, I spent a year clerking for the Honorable Neal E. Kravitz on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. I then won a fellowship from the Skadden Fellowship Foundation to start a debt collection defense project at The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. For nearly two years, I defended indigent District residents against debt collectors of all stripes, especially debt buyers, and worked for court reform so that the process would be fairer for all litigants.
In June 2014, my husband and I welcomed a daughter, Rosa. Shortly thereafter, we left the District of Columbia to relocate to Chicago, Illinois. I have recently joined the law firm of Jenner & Block as an associate. I continue to devote time to public interest work, and am already a member of a team of lawyers working for the release of a wrongfully-convicted man.
Philosophically I am interested in studying the role that creativity plays in human endeavor. As a mathematician by training, I have concentrated on writing about the role that the creative imagination plays in mathematical reasoning. I have also published on creativity in science and in the practice of sport. My focus is now shifting to studying the role of affective perception and moral imagination in ethical deliberation for the pursuit of a good life. I pay attention to the ways in which literature aids this perceptive, imaginative ethical pursuit. Historically, I am mostly influenced by philosophers from the Americas, especially but not exclusively Charles Peirce. By cultural affinity and passion, I am drawn to engage creative Latin American philosophical thought, expressed through philosophy, literature, music, and film. Thus far, I have done this mostly through teaching, with sprinkles of writing and conference-speaking. I see interaction and dialogue with students from Brooklyn, Latin America, and elsewhere as central to my philosophical practice. (Academic Profile)
Evgenia Cherkasova is associate professor of Philosophy at Suffolk University in Boston. She holds a Doctorate degree in philosophy from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Moscow State University, Russia. Cherkasova is a generalist whose scholarly and pedagogical interests include ethics, philosophy of art and literature, existentialism and existential psychology. She has publications in peer-reviewed journals, collections of essays and encyclopedia. She is also an editorial board member of Dostoevsky Studies and the author of a book entitled Dostoevsky and Kant: Dialogues on Ethics (Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2009). In 2013 Cherkasova received the National Endowment for the Humanities "Enduring Questions" grant to develop and teach "The Meaning of Life" course.
I regularly teach the following classes at Suffolk: Philosophy of Art; Existentialism; Philosophy in Literature; Ethics; Critical Thinking and Argument; Philosophy of Freedom; History of Modern Philosophy; Kant: Profiles in Philosophy; Dostoevsky and Russian Philosophy; Senior Symposium; Meaning of Life, NEH Funded.
My research focuses on two areas. First, I work at the intersection of formal logic and natural language. I'm interested in the ways that natural language makes trouble for the logically-minded philosopher. The two questions I've focused most upon are whether there can be a logic of borderline vagueness and whether natural language utterances have a "literal meaning" that can be translated into a formal language.
Second, I work on the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. While my focus has been on how he addressed the types of issues I mentioned above, I'm also interested in how his philosophy was influenced by figures in the early modern period (e.g. Descartes, Hume), how his philosophy influenced and was influenced by his contemporaries (e.g. his student Christine Ladd-Franklin or W. T. Harris), and how putting him in context with other philosophers (e.g. Polanyi) can help clarify his thought.
I am currently a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Penn State where I also received my Ph.D. in 2015. For my dissertation work, conducted under the direction of Emily Grosholz, I received one of Penn State’s Alumni Association Dissertation Awards.
My research touches upon two distinct, but related, aspects of David Hume’s practical philosophy. First, I work on issues in Hume’s moral sentimentalism with a primary focus upon the extent to which his sentimentalism can justify moral reform and explain the possibility of moral progress. A standard worry on this point is that, by subordinating the role of reason, Hume provides us with an overly conservative theory which necessarily lends support to status quo attitudes and institutions. I argue, to the contrary, that Hume’s distinctive account of human sociability provides the resources for substantial moral revision. Second, I also work on Hume’s practical response to skepticism. My interest here lies with both (i) Hume’s attempt to preserve the legitimacy of the philosophical enterprise in the face of skeptical questions about our knowledge gaining faculties and (ii) what the fact that the concerns of common life outweigh the force of skeptical arguments shows about the nature of human agency. The questions posed by each of these research topics contribute to our understanding of the function, and significance, of sentiment within Hume’s philosophical system.
Paula Deitz, myself, and students from the Schreyer Honors College in New York City (September 2012).