David W. Agler


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 also make philosophy videos at Logic & Philosophy



Daniel Campos


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. Emily's own research and mentorship in this area have been crucial for me, ever since she co-directed my dissertation. I have also published on creativity in science and in the practice of sport.

More recently, my focus has shifted to studying the role that affective perception and moral imagination play in ethical deliberation as a person tries to pursue a good life. I pay attention to the ways in which literature and art aid this perceptive, imaginative ethical pursuit. I am also interested in various accounts of love as an ethical principle for interpersonal relations. Emily's breadth of intellectual interests and her reflections as poet and literary critic are sources of both insight and inspiration in this area.

Historically, I am explicitly influenced by philosophers from the Americas, especially but not exclusively Charles Peirce. However, Plato, Aristotle, and Leibniz, among others, implicitly influence much of what I think about, teach, and write. Here, again, Emily's philosophical breadth, depth, open-mindedness, and pluralism have been very important to me.

By cultural affinity and passion, I am drawn to engage creative Latin American thought, expressed through philosophy, literature, music, and film. My book, Loving Immigrants in America: An Experiential Philosophy of Personal Interaction, and several current book projects reflect these interests.

I see interaction and dialogue with students from Brooklyn, Latin America, and elsewhere as central to my philosophical practice. This is also Emily's bequest, since I learned from her own ways of caring for and nurturing the growth of her students.

(Academic Profile)


Philosophy of Mathematics and Science

  • 2018. “Heuristic Analogy in Ars Conjectandi: From Archimedes’ De Circuli Dimensione to Bernoulli’s Theorem.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 67: 44-53.
  • 2016. Donald Stanley and Daniel Campos. “Selecting Clinical Diagnoses: Logical Strategies Informed by Experience.” Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 22(4): 588-597.
  • 2013. Donald Stanley and Daniel Campos. "The Logic of Medical Diagnosis." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 56(2), 300-315.
  • 2011. "On the Distinction between Peircean Abduction and Lipton's Inference to the Best Explanation." Synthese, 180(3), 419-442.
  • 2010. "The Imagination and Hypothesis-Making in Mathematics: A Peircean Account." Matthew Moore, Ed. New Essays on Peirce's Mathematical Philosophy. Illinois: Open Court, p. 123 - 145.
  • 2010. "Peirce's Philosophy of Mathematical Education: Fostering Reasoning Abilities for Mathematical Inquiry." Studies in Philosophy and Education, 29(5), 421-439.
  • 2009. "The Framing of the Fundamental Probability Set: A Historical Case Study on the Context of Mathematical Discovery." Perspectives on Science, 17(4), 385-416.
  • 2009. "Imagination, Concentration, Generalization: Peirce on the Reasoning Abilities of the Mathematician." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 45(2), 135-156.
  • 2007. "Peirce on the Role of Poietic Creation in Mathematical Reasoning." Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 43(3), 470-489.

Philosophies of the Americas

  • 2019. “Eros and Agape in Interpersonal Relations: Plato, Emerson, and Peirce.” Adrienne Martin, Ed. The Routledge Handbook on Love in Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 2019, p. 116-127.
  • 2018. “Living with Immigrants in a Context of Difference: Exclusion, Assimilation, or Pluralism.” The Pluralist, 13(2), 109-118.
  • 2017. Loving Immigrants in America: An Experiential Philosophy of Personal Interaction. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN-13: 978-1-4985-4784-0
  • 2015. “The Role of Diagrammatic Reasoning in Ethical Deliberation.” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 51(3): 338-357.
  • 2014. "Peirce's Prejudices against Hispanics and the Ethical Scope of His Philosophy." The Pluralist, 9(2), 42-64.
  • 2011. "Understanding Immigration as Lived Personal Experience." Gregory Pappas, Ed. Pragmatism in the Americas. New York: Fordham University Press, p. 245-261.
  • 2010. Daniel Campos and Cassiano Rodrigues. "Originality and Resistance in Latin American Culture." Inter-American Journal of Philosophy, 1(1), 55-73.
  • 2007. "On Poetry and Authentic Philosophical Reflection: The American Philosophy of Octavio Paz." Cognitio, 8(2), 179-195.

Philosophy of Sport

  • 2014. "Toward an Ethic of World Cup Fandom." The New Republic: Goal Posts Blog. 22 June. <http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118281/2014-world-cup-philosopher-brazil-ruminates-how-be-good>
  • 2014. "On Creativity in Sporting Activity: With Some Consequences for Education." Fair Play. Revista de Filosofía, Ética y Derecho del Deporte, 2(2): 40-68.
  • 2013. "Peircean Reflections on the Personality of a Fútbol Club." Richard Lally, Douglas Anderson, and John Kaag, Eds. Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Sport. New York: Lexington Books, p. 33-46.
  • 2010. "On the Value and Meaning of Football: Recent Philosophical Perspectives in Latin America." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 37(1), 69-87.

Evgenia Cherkasova


I am an Associate Professor and department head in the Department of Philosophy at Suffolk University in Boston. I hold a Doctorate degree in philosophy from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Moscow State University, Russia. I am a generalist whose scholarly and pedagogical interests include ethics, philosophy of art and literature, existentialism and existential psychology, and "philosophy as a way of life."

I have known Emily Grosholz for more than 25 years. I deeply admire her work, her accomplishments, and her remarkably strong and generous character. Emily’s ability to move across disciplines, cultures and languages, her skill in combining analytic rigor with the sensitivity of a poet, her enthusiasm, her passion for knowledge, have always been a great inspiration to me. My academic career in the US would have been impossible without Emily’s extraordinary support and guidance every step of the way—from the logistics of the graduate school application to dissertation, from my first conference and first publication to a book project, from my first job as a teaching assistant to current position as Associate Professor and department chair.

I am very grateful to Emily for involving me in professional endeavors through which I experienced for the first time what it means to be a member of a genuine community of scholars and what is involved in creating and nourishing such communities. As a graduate student, I assisted with the organization and participated in The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge international conferences (1995 and 1996) and at the conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s classic The Second Sex. I also had the privilege of working as a research assistant and translated two essays from Russian for The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge collection of essays, (E. Grosholz & H. Breger, eds., Synthése Library, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000).

Following Emily’s example, I emphasize the interconnectedness of different intellectual traditions and the unity of sciences and humanities in my scholarly projects and in my work with students. My past and present interdisciplinary projects include:

  • The book Dostoevsky and Kant: Dialogues on Ethics (Rodopi, 2009)
  • Articles and presentations on philosophical aspects of Dostoevsky’s narrative and, in general, on philosophy and literature
  • The National Endowment for Humanities "Enduring Questions" grant (2013) which supported a new course on the Meaning of Life, an open educational platform www.meaningoflife.cherkasova.org, and an online interactive fiction game for students. I presented these projects at various venues in the US, EU, Canada, and Japan. The course was also featured in the media: “Why All College Students Should be Asking the Big Questions,” Huffington Post, 2015. “Keeping Alive the Big Questions,” Huffington Post, 2013.
  • Philosophical computer game Vixi: A Master’s Way
  • Collaborations with colleagues in the "Philosophy as a Way of Life" network supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2019-present)
  • Serving on the editorial board of Dostoevsky Studies, reviewing articles and books for the Russian Review, Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, and others.
  • Translations



  • Dostoevsky and Kant: Dialogues on Ethics (Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2009).

Encyclopedia Articles

  • "Dostoevsky," and "Russian Thought in the Nineteenth Century," Routledge Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Thought, ed. Gregory Claeys, Routledge, London, 2005.

Selected Articles

  • "Dostoevsky’s Poetics of Life Affirmation," in Art, Creativity, and Spirituality in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.P. Cicovacki and M. Granik (eds.), Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg, Beiträge zur slavischen Philologie series, Germany, 2010.
  • "Dostoevsky and Russian Philosophy," in The History of Continental Philosophy, an  8-volume collection,Alan D. Schrift, (ed.), vol. 2, The Nineteenth-Century Philosophy: Revolutionary Responses to the Existing Order, Acumen, UK, 2010. 
  • "The Ambiguity of Suffering: Dostoevsky and the Russian Orthodox Tradition," in Mother Tongue Theologies, Darren J. N. Middleton (ed.), Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009.
  • "Rationality and Fiction: Kant, Vaihinger, and the Promise of ‘Philosophy of As If’," Philotheos, International Journal for Philosophy and Theology, Bogoljub Šijaković (ed.) 8 (2008): 275-281.
  • "On the Boundary of Intelligibility: Kant’s Conception of Radical Evil and the Limits of Ethical Discourse." The Review of Metaphysics, 58 (March 2005): 571-584.
  • "Philosophy as Sideshadowing: The Philosophical, the Literary and the Fantastic," in What Philosophy Is, collection of essays on the nature and state of contemporary philosophy, H. Carel  and D. Gamez eds., London & New York: Continuum, 2004.
  • "Kant on Free Will and Arbitrariness.  A View From Dostoevsky’s Underground," Philosophy and Literature, 2004, 28 (2): 267-78.

Valérie Debuiche


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.

Further details about Debuiche can be found at Centre Gilles Gaston Granger and Valérie Debuiche (personal page)


  • Leibniz. Un philosophe savant, Paris, Ellipses, 2017.
  • Valérie Debuiche et David Rabouin (éd.), Mathématique et philosophie leibniziennes à la lumière des manuscrits inédits, cahier thématique de Philosophie scientiæ 25/2 (à paraître en juin 2021).
  • Strawson, lecteur de Leibniz : Réflexions sur un usage de la doctrine leibnizienne dans la métaphysique contemporaine, Filosofický časopis 67, 2020, 163-180.
  • Unité et pluralité de l’espace mathématique chez Leibniz. avec David Rabouin, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 2019, 354-375.
  • L’invention d’une géométrie pure au 17e siècle : Pascal et son lecteur Leibniz, Studia Leibnitiana 48, 2016/1, 42-67.
  • Perspective in Leibniz’s Invention of Characteristica Geometrica: The Problem of Desargues’s Influence », Historia Mathematica, 40, 2013, 359-385.
  • L’expression leibnizienne et ses modèles mathématiques, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 51, 2013, pages 409-439.
  • La notion d’expression et ses origines mathématiques, Studia Leibnitiana 41/1, 2009, pages 88-117.
  • « On the Plurality of Spaces in Leibniz » avec David Rabouin, in V. De Risi (ed.), Leibniz and the Structure of Sciences. Modern Perspectives on the History of Logic, Mathematics, Dynamics, Berlin, Springer, 2019, p. 171-201.
  • « Expression and Analogy in Leibniz’s Philosophy », in L. Herrera (ed.), Äusserungen des Inneren. Beiträge zur Problemgeschichte des Ausdrucks, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2019 (à paraître).
  • « On the Plurality of Spaces in Leibniz » avec David Rabouin, in V. De Risi (ed.), Leibniz and the Structure of Sciences. Modern Perspectives on the History of Logic, Mathematics, Dynamics, Boston, Springer, 2019 (à paraître).
  • « A response : Leibniz’s Principle of (Sufficient) Reason and Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles », in J. Stetter and Ch. Ramond (eds.), Spinoza in Twenty-First-Century American and French Philosophy, London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2019, p. 144-154.
  • Leibniz. Mathesis universalis. Écrits sur la mathématique universelle, sous la direction de David Rabouin, Paris, Vrin, 2018.
  • « Les individus et les monades », Langage ordinaire et métaphysique. Strawson, J. Benoist et S. Laugier éd., Paris, Vrin, 2005, pages 117-140.

Jose Pérez-Escobar


I am a graduate student in philosophy of science at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. I also have a previous academic background in psychology and neuroscience. My current work is concerned with the effects of mathematics in explanations in biology. More specifically, I am interested on topics like the epistemological issues derived from the mathematization of teleological/functional notions and the possibility of distinctively mathematical explanations in biology.

I first met Emily Grosholz at the 2018 Semiomaths workshop organized by ETH Zurich. Since then, we have coincided at other meetings in different countries, and I have profited from academic exchanges on philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of biology with her. Furthermore, her work in productive ambiguity in mathematics and science has been particularly inspiring for me, and I have drawn from it to frame one of the case studies in my dissertation. Eventually, she agreed to be my PhD co-supervisor, and we continue working together.


  • Pérez-Escobar, J.A. (2019). Mathematical modelling and teleology in biology. In M. Zack and D. Schlimm (Eds.), Research in History and Philosophy of Mathematics (pp. 69-82). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Birkhäuser.
  • Carreno, D. and Pérez-Escobar, J.A. (2019). Addiction in existential positive psychology (EPP, PP2.0): from a critique of the brain disease model towards a meaning-centered approach. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 1-21.
  • Pérez-Escobar, J. A., Kornienko, O., Latuske, P., Kohler, L., & Allen, K. (2016). Visual landmarks sharpen grid cell metric and confer context specificity to neurons of the medial entorhinal cortex. eLife, 5, e16937.

Alex Grigas


I graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2018, where I received a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Additionally, I was the president of the Philosophy club and was the student marshal for the Philosophy department. As a student, I worked closely with Dr. Grosholz, taking many of her courses on the philosophy of science, philosophy of biology and modern philosophy. Dr. Grosholz supervised my independent studies as well. Over the summer of 2017, Dr. Grosholz funded my visit to the University of Minnesota where I interacted with Dr. Ruth G. Shaw and participated in field research, which shaped my contributions to the paper published in Topoi listed below. Dr. Grosholz and I also had great discussions about my honors thesis research supervised by Dr. Chrisitine Keating in the Chemistry Department on phase separation and the origins of life. Currently, I am a PhD student at Yale University in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. My adviser is Dr. Corey O'Hern and my work lies between statistical physics and protein structure. My first project focused on predicting the quality of protein structure predictions and my current work centers around how simplified protein models and concepts from jamming may explain many facets of protein folding and structure.


  • Grosholz, E., Posteraro, T., Grigas, A. T., (2020) Scientific Discovery and Inference: Between the Lab and Field in Biology. Topoi, 997-1009.
  • Reiss, K., Morzan, U. N., Grigas, A. T., and Batista, V. S. (2019) Water Network Dynamics Next to the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II, Inorganics, 7, 39.
  • Pir Cakmak, F., Grigas, A. T., and Keating, C. D. (2019) Lipid Vesicle-Coated Complex Coacervates, Langmuir, 35, 7830-7840.
  • Mei, Z., Treado, J. D., Grigas, A.T., Levine, Z. A., Regan, L., and O’Hern, C. S. (2020) Analyses of protein cores reveal fundamental differences between solution and crystal structures, Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics, 88, 1154–1161.
  • Grigas, A. T., Mei, Z., Treado, J. D., Levine, Z. A., Regan, L., and O’Hern, C. S. (2020) Using physical features of protein core packing to distinguish real proteins from decoys, Protein Science, 29, 1931–1944.


Amanda Hicks

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.

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.

I am a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory conducting research and development in applied ontology. My work aims to identify and organize information and help generate useful hypotheses for users of information systems. Many of the application areas I work on are related to the pressing needs of society as they arise. For example, I have also worked on ontologies related to vital commodity supply modeling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for detecting foreign interference in the 2020 US Presidential Campaign.

Prior to my current position, I worked in biomedical informatics at the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Florida to conduct research in applied ontology. I worked on promoting better integration and access of clinical information for researchers as well as promoting access to culturally competent care for LGBTQ cancer patients and transgender/non-binary children.


  • Seay, J., Hicks, A., Markham, M. J., Schlumbrecht, M., Bowman‐Curci, M., Woodard, J., ... & Schabath, M. B. (2020). Web‐based LGBT cultural competency training intervention for oncologists: Pilot study results. Cancer, 126(1), 112-120.
  • Hicks, A. (2017). Metrics and methods for comparative ontology evaluation. Ciência da Informação, 46(1).
  • Hicks, A., Rutherford, M., Fellbaum, C., & Bian, J. (2016). An analysis of WordNet’s coverage of gender identity using Twitter and the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. In Proc of the Eighth Global WordNet Conference (GWC) (Vol. 2016, pp. 122-129).
  • Hicks, A., Hanna, J., Welch, D., Brochhausen, M., & Hogan, W. R. (2016). The Ontology of Medically Related Social Entities: Recent Developments. Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 7(1), 1-4.
  • Hicks, A., Hogan, W. R., Rutherford, M., Malin, B., Xie, M., Fellbaum, C., ... & Bian, J. (2015). Mining Twitter as a First Step Toward Assessing the Adequacy of Gender Identification Terms on Intake Forms. In AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings (Vol. 2015, p. 611). American Medical Informatics Association.
  • Hicks, A. (2013) Kant’s Response to the Principle of Sufficient Reason. In Margit Ruffing, Claudio La Rocca, Alfredo Ferrarin & Stefano Bacin (eds.), Kant Und Die Philosophie in Weltbürgerlicher Absicht: Akten des Xi. Kant-Kongresses 2010. De Gruyter. pp. 359-370.

Emiliano Ippoliti


I've known Emily since 2006, when I met her in Rome at a conference organized by our common dear friend Carlo Cellucci.

I started working with her 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—and playing soccer and tennis with her amazing family!

Since then, we have developed a fruitful and ongoing collaboration. We edited a volume together (e.g. 2011. C. Cellucci, E. Grosholz, E. Ippoliti (eds.). Logic and Knowledge. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN: 978-1-4438-3008-9) we have organized together several conferences, and I had the opportunity to follow during its construction parts of her winning-prize book Starry Reckoning: Reference and Analysis in Mathematics and Cosmology (Springer 2016).

Now I am an Research Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Science in the Philosophy Department of Sapienza University of Rome. The main areas of my research are two: philosophy of mathematics, in particular the theory of heuristics and the logic of discovery, and philosophy of finance (stock markets).


  • Ippoliti, E. – Caprara, S. (2021). Undecidability of the spectral gap. An epistemological look. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, pp. 1-8 doi: 10.1007/s10838-020-09549-9
  • Ippoliti, E. (2020). Mathematics and Finance. Some philosophical remarks, Topoi, pp. 1-8 doi: 10.1007/s11245-020-09706-1
  • Ippoliti, E. (2020). Un Filosofo a Wall Street. Milano: Egea. ISBN:987-88-238-3765-2
  • Ippoliti, E. – Nickles, T. (2019). Introduction: Scientific Discovery and Inference, Topoi. doi: 10.1007/s11245-019-09673-2, pp. 1-6
  • Ippoliti, E. (2019). Models and Data in Finance: les Liaisons Dangereuses. In: Nepomuceno Fernández, Á. – Magnani, L. – Salguero-Lamillar, F.J. – Barés-Gómez, C. – Fontaine, M. (Eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology, Berlin: Springer, pp. 393-406. ISBN: 978-3-030-32721-7, doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32722-4_22
  • Ippoliti, E. (2018). Heuristics and inferential microstructures: the case of quaternion Foundations of Science, doi: 10.1007/s10699-018-9576-9
  • Ippoliti, E. (2018). A Role for Representation Theorems, Philosophia Mathematica. 26(3), 396-412, doi: 10.1093/philmat/nky007
  • Ippoliti, E. (2018). Mathematical Knowledge and its Construction: the Heuristic stance, Paradigmi, XXXVI, I/2018, pp. 209-222.
  • Ippoliti, E. (2018). Manufacturing a mathematical Group. A Study in Heuristics, Topoi, DOI: 10.1007/s11245-018-9549-1
  • Ippoliti, E. (2018). Heuristic Logic. A kernel. In: Building theories. Danks, D. —Ippoliti, E. (eds.). Cham: Springer. 191-212
  • Ippoliti, E. (2017). Scientific Discovery Reloaded, Topoi, DOI: 10.1007/s11245-017-9531-3

Franklin Perkins


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.



Edited Anthologies

Selected Articles

  • "Metaphysics in Chinese Philosophy," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (forthcoming 2015).
  • "The Greatest Mistake: Teleology, Anthropomorphism, and the Rise of Science," in The Bright Dark Ages: Comparative and Connective Perspectives, edited by Arun Bala and Prasenjit Duara (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
  • "Divergences within the Lǎozǐ: A Study of Chapters 67-81." T'oung Pao 100 (2014): 1-33.
  • "Wandering Beyond Tragedy with Zhuangzi," Comparative and Continental Philosophy 3.1 (Spring 2011): 79-98.
  • "No Need for Hemlock: Mengzi's Defense of Tradition," in Ethics in Early China, edited by Chris Fraser, Timothy O'Leary, and Dan Robins (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), pp. 65-81.
  • "Of Fish and Men: Species Difference and the Strangeness of Being Human in the Zhuangzi," The Harvard Review of Philosophy, Vol. XVII (Fall 2010). Reprinted in Zhuangzi and the Happy Fish Debate, edited by Roger T. Ames and Takashiro Nakajima (University of Hawaii Press, forthcoming).
  • "The Ridiculousness of Attachment in the Journey to the West," in Laughter in Eastern and Western Philosophies, edited by Hans-Georg Moeller and Guenter Wohlfart (Freiburg: Karl Alber,May 2010).

Ryan Pollock


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.



  • In press. Hume and the Problem of Paternalism: When is Humanity Sufficient? The Southern Journal of Philosophy. XX(X):XX.
  • In press. w/ David W. Agler. Hume and Peirce on the Ultimate Stability of Belief. The Pacific Philosophical Quarterly XX(X):XX.
  • 2014. Evaluating the State of Nature through Game Play. Teaching Philosophy 37(1): 57-72.


I have recently taught the following courses.
  • Basic Problems of Philosophy
  • Persons, Moral Values and the Good Life
  • First Year Seminar in Philosophy (Bioethics)
  • Introduction to Ethics in Media and Journalism
  • Introduction to Bioethics
  • Modern Philosophy

Tano Posteraro


I received my Ph.D. from Penn State in 2019 and I am currently a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department of Philosophy. Early on in my graduate career, I had the good fortune of reading Darwin’s Origin with Emily, as well as a number of other texts in the philosophy of biology. Emily was also able to secure a stay for me at UC Davis, under the supervision of her brother Ted, an environmental scientist engaged in a number of interesting research projects in local ecology. These experiences were pivotal. Some of the lessons I learned from them can be found in the Topoi article from 2018, listed below. I ended up writing my dissertation on Henri Bergson and the philosophy of biology, evolution in particular. That text is currently under contract with Edinburgh University Press, and is due out as Bergson’s Philosophy of Biology in mid-2021.

Selected Publications

  • “The Psychological Interpretation of Life.” The Bergsonian Mind. Eds. Mark Sinclair and Yaron Wolf. New York: Routledge. Forthcoming, 2021.
  • “Instinct Thematism and Insect Epistemology: Ruyer on Bergson and Biology.” Raymond Ruyer: Being in Formation. Eds. Elie During, Jon Roffe, and Anne Sauvagnargues. Edinburgh UP. Forthcoming, 2021.
  • “Vitalism and the Problem of Individuation: Another Look at Bergson’s Élan Vital.” Vitalism and its Legacies in the 20th Century. Eds. Charles T. Wolfe and Chris Donohue. History, Philosophy, and Theory of the Life Sciences Series. New York: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg. Forthcoming, 2021.
  • “Assemblage Theory and the Two Poles of Organic Life.” Deleuze and Guattari Studies. Vol. 14, Issue 3 (2020): 402-432. Special Issue for the 40th Anniversary of A Thousand Plateaus, ed. Bradley H. McLean. Invited Contribution.
  • “Instinct, Consciousness, Life: Ruyer contra Bergson,” with Jon Roffe. Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities. Vol. 24, Issue 5 (2019): 124-147. doi:10.1080/0969725X.2019.1655283
  • “Scientific Discovery and Inference: Between the Lab and Field in Biology,” with Emily Grosholz and Alex Grigas. Topoi (2018): 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9572-2


Varun Ravikumar

I was a master’s student in Engineering Mechanics at Penn State University when I first met Emily Grosholz. At the time, I was investigating the electromechanical properties of damaged brain tissue using modeling techniques, and I became interested in the methodological assumptions of my project. My interest led me to approach Dr. Grosholz who agreed to supervise an Independent Study (course) through which I conducted a philosophical investigation of brain injury modeling. My study explored the evolution of modeling practices in brain injury research and how these practices constrain interactions between practitioners and the objects of their analysis.

My study with Dr. Grosholz convinced me to make the transition from engineering to philosophy, and after completing my degree at Penn State and a master’s degree in Philosophy at Northern Illinois University, USA, I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies in Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. My ongoing research seeks to explore how sociological theories of practice can help inform and redefine ways of doing psychology, specifically how Bourdieuan practice theory can aid Gibsonian ecological psychology.

Book Chapter

  • Ravikumar, V., Yi, N., Vepachedu, V., & Cheng, H. (2017). Transfer printing for cyber-manufacturing systems. In: H. Song, S. Jeschke, C. Brecher, & D. Rawat (Eds.), Industrial internet of things: Cybermanufacturing systems (pp.671-690). Switzerland: Springer

Karam J. (K.J.) Salameh


I attended Penn State in the Fall of 2014. I first met Emily Grosholz my first semester of college through her class on Modern Philosophy. I took two more classes with Emily before I left Penn State: The Philosophy of Science, and Poetry and Cosmology. During my time at Penn State, I worked heavily with World in Conversation | Center for Public Diplomacy. At World In Conversation, with the use of “Socratic Inquiry,” I facilitated conversations with diverse arrays of students to more deeply navigate ideological, multi-faceted, and divisive issues centered about conflict. I gained a practiced skill in conflict resolution by facilitating dialogues and overseeing day-to-day operations over a period of three years.

During my undergraduate career, I also obtained a certificate from Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies in the summer of 2016, studying Law, Legislation, and Politics. That summer I also interned at Syrian American Medical Society in the nation’s capital, performing advocacy work benefiting Syrian refugees. The summer of 2017 I participated in the Unbound Prometheus program at Democritus University of Thrace, where I took a course in Conflict Management in Kavala, Greece, and met with Syrian refugees from the Asimakopoulou refugee camp. Among other activities, I also served as President of Penn State’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. My senior year at Penn State I was nominated by my peers to speak at the 5th Annual State of State Conference, where I spoke about the hostility faced by Muslims and Arabs in the United States and the need to embrace more potent conflict resolution methods at large. I worked with Emily on my senior honors thesis “Facilitated Dialogue as a Means of Conflict Resolution Between Dominant and Minority Groups.” I culminated my time at Penn State by graduating as a Schreyer Honors Scholar and Paterno Fellow in 2018 (Talk by Karam at PSU State of State 2018).

I enrolled at Columbia Law School in the Fall of 2018. At CLS, I have served as Co-President of the Columbia Law Students for Palestine, and Vice-President of the Muslim Law Students Association. I have also served as an Admissions Student Ambassador, where I worked with the CLS administration to increase representation of Arabs and Muslims in the student body. The summer after my first year I interned with Muslim Advocates in Washington, DC. Among other roles at Muslim Advocates, I helped represent Dean Obeidallah – an Arab Muslim journalist and comedian – in obtaining a $4.1 million dollar defamation award from the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer. Other major projects I worked on include the first ever Prisoner Free Exercise Report, an Airline Bias and Discrimination issue brief, and a Denaturalization issue brief. The following summer I interned with Shearman & Sterling, a multinational law firm headquartered in New York City. I will be joining their Corporate Governance & Executive Compensation practice after I graduate in May of 2021.

In my free time I am currently building a compendium to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with my siblings to serve as an informational resource for Palestinian advocacy. I am the proud uncle of three nephews and one niece. In August of 2020, I got engaged to Kinana Joudeh. My fiancée owns and is the COO of a startup tech company that helps consumers find the best available price for online products. I have a strong interest in a variety of creative endeavors, including poetry and music creation.

Selected Paper Topics I Have Written About

  • “Facilitated Dialogue as a Means of Conflict Resolution Between Dominant and Minority Groups”
  • “Prophetic Narrative: Stories of Moral Guidance”
  • “The Moral Paradox of the Prison System”
  • “The (Penn) State of Alienation: Marx and the Alienation to Education”
  • “The Marxist Relationship between Human Nature and Capitalist Society”
  • “A Paradigm Shift of America’s View on the Size of Government”
  • “The Divide of Science and Society, Misuse and Remedies”
  • “Accounts of Virtue: A Comparison Between the Protagoras and the Republic”
  • “Change Theory: a Comparison of Models”
  • “Creativity: Theory, Limits, and Tools”
  • “An Analysis of the Reorganization of Takata Corporation”
  • “Regulating the Use of Bots in Online Discourse”
  • “Employer Liability Shields During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • “In The Corporate Interest: Advising Corporations to Pursue Responsible Profitability”
  • “The Increasing Value of ESG Investing in Corporate Governance”

Hasana Sharp


I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Hasana Sharp earned her PhD from the Pennsylvania State University (2005), where she had the great fortune to work with Daniel W. Conway, John Christman, Emily Grosholz, and Shannon Sullivan. She was lucky enough also to study with Pierre-François Moreau and received a diplôme (pensionnaire scientifique étranger) from the Ecole Normale Supérieure des Lettres et Sciences Humaines (2004). Her research is in the history of political philosophy with a focus on Spinoza. Her 2011 book examines the implications of Spinoza's denial of human exceptionalism for ethics and politics, with consideration of arguments in feminist thought and critical race theory. She is currently undertaking a SSHRC-funded research project on Spinoza and Servitude. She interested in how his analyses of human servitude, bondage, and slavery, central to both his ethics and politics, can be understood in relationship to other models. In particular, how do Spinoza's philosophical and political conceptions of servitude interact with the notions of his contemporaries objecting to the enslavement of African and Indigenous peoples or to the domination of women?



  • Spinoza's Political Treatise: A Critical Guide, co-edited with Y. Melamed (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • Feminist Philosophies of Life, co-edited with Chloë Taylor (McGill-Queens University Press, 2016).
  • Sharp, H. (2011) Spinoza and the Politics of Renaturalization (The University of Chicago Press).


  • “Spinoza on the Fear of Solitude,” Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 11 (forthcoming 2021).
  • “Not all Humans: Radical Criticism of the Anthropocene Narrative,” Environmental Philosophy 17.1 (2020): 143-158.
  • “Feminism and Heterodoxy: Moira Gatens’s Spinoza,” Philosophy Today 63.3 (2019): 795-803.
  • “Spinoza’s commonwealth and the anthropomorphic illusion,” Philosophy Today (Fall 2017): 833-846.
  • “Spinoza and the possibilities for radical climate ethics,” Dialogues in Human Geography 7.2 (July 2017): 156-160.
  • “Generosity as Freedom in Spinoza’s Ethics,” in Spinoza in 21st Century American and French Philosophy, edited by J. Stetter and C. Ramond. Bloomsbury, 2019, pp. 277-288.
  • “Family Quarrels and Mental Harmony: Spinoza’s Oikos-Polis Analogy,” in Spinoza’s Political Treatise: A Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, 2018): 93-110.

Ashley Waddell Tingstad


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.

Schreyer Honors College in NYC


Paula Deitz, myself, and students from the Schreyer Honors College in New York City (September 2012).