Newsletter -  Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies

University of North Florida, Fall 2013-Spring 2014

Department News


  • The Department welcomes one new colleague as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy for the academic year 2013/2014, Dr. John Nale. Prof. Nale received his PhD from Penn State University and is an expert of modern philosophy, specializing also in the critical philosophy of race as well as 19th and 20th Century Continental Philosophy. He is teaching the core course in Modern Philosophy in spring 2014, besides offering strong support to our General Education offerings.


  • The Department continued to offer its unique General Education courses as an academic core of UNF’s First Year Experience. The program includes the requirement of taking one General Education philosophy course by each incoming freshman in order to boost the critical thinking skills of all freshmen at UNF. The small course settings furthermore foster integration into social academic communities and thereby ease the transition from high school to college.

  • The Department developed the project in cooperation with COAS Dean Barb Hetrick, Undergraduate Dean Jeff Coker, and COAS Associate Dean David Fenner. While all students at UNF are required to take one course in philosophy as part of the General Education Curriculum, the new first year project is based on the Reflective Judgment Model and focuses on the development of critical thinking skills in small discursive settings right at the outset of each student’s academic career.


  • The Department has successfully implemented its new BA in Religious Studies since 2012! This new timely and important BA attracts an increasing number of majors and is set to graduate its first BAs in Religious Studies in spring 2014!


  • The Department successfully completed the initial development phase for its Engaged Department Grant from UNF’s Center for Community-based Transformational Learning. The grant enabled the development of a set of CBTL focused courses and projects and enhanced the sense of community-connectedness among faculty and programs. The Department’s project makes use of the multiple community connections that arise from its emphasis on applied ethics, social and political philosophy, as well as its religious studies program.


  • The Department continues to host a wide variety of conferences, symposia, lectures, as well as student and program-related events. For a list of recent as well as forthcoming happenings, please consult the link to News & Events on our departmental Homepage.



Student News

Departmental Awards

  • Bradley Beall is the Robert W. Loftin Outstanding Graduate in Philosophy 2013


  • Bradley Beall is the 2013 Winner of the Philosophy Paper Prize 2013 (Undergraduate) for "Crime and Funishment: Is Hard Incompatibilism Impractical?"


  • Tyler Andrews is the 2013 Winner of the Graduate Paper Prize in Philosophy for "Strengthening the process: How to decide for incompetent patients in a clinical setting."


  • David Leto won the 2013 Neil Gray Religious Studies Paper Prize for "Rescuing Pocahontas From John Smith. Indian Responses to the Pocahontas Myth.”



  • The UNF Philosophy Ethics Bowl team competed successfully at the Southeastern Regional Ethics Bowl competition on Saturday. They advance, the second year in a row, to the national competition this February in San Antonio.


Honors Theses since 2012

  • Jennifer Albertson, “Plato’s Theory of Forms Defended: A Solution to the Problem of Participation” Philosophy, Spring 2012;
  • Tim Dacey, “On Belief, Knowledge and Truth: A Study of the Discourse Between Evolutionary Theory and Religious Epistemology,” Anthropology (Philosophy Minor), Spring 2012

Student Placements since 2011 (BA and MA Philosophy)

  • Theodore Locke (BA 2012) was accepted to the PhD program at the University of Miami.
  • Daniel Ryan accepted to UF medical school.
  • Matthew Lamb (BA 2012) was accepted to the MA program in Philosophy at Colorado State University.
  • Aaron Kenna (BA 2011) was accepted to the PhD program at the University of Utah.
  • Andrew Vlcek (UNF Honors student philosophy) was accepted to the MA program in Philosophy at St. Johns University in Maryland.
  • Andrew Brenner (BA 2012) was accepted to the PhD program in Philosophy at Notre Dame.
  • Sean Borelli (MA student philosophy UNF) was accepted with funding to the PhD program in philosophy at FSU
  • Ben Hoffman (MA 2011) was accepted to the PhD in philosophy at the University of Hawai’i.
  • Melissa Schwartz (MA 2012) was accepted to the Virginia Tech’s PhD program ASPECT.
  • Tara Mantovani-Stamm (MA 2007) has completed her exams and has now advanced to PhD candidacy in the Sociology Program at FSU.
  • Jeffrey Haines (UNF Honors BA Philosophy 2006) was accepted to the PhD Program in Philosophy at FSU.
  • Paul DiGeorgio (UNF Honors BA Philosophy) was accepted to the PhD program at Duquesne University

Philosophy & Religious Studies Prize Winners


  • Brad Beall was selected for a Phi Beta Kappa scholarship.  


  • Theodore Locke, UNF philosophy major, won the Florida Philosophical Association’s Gerrit Schipper Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Paper in the State of Florida in a Four-Year College or University for the essay: “” in 2011.


  • Aaron Kenna, UNF philosophy major, won the Florida Philosophical Association’s Gerrit Schipper Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Paper in the State of Florida in a Four-Year College or University for the essay: “In Defense of Positive Relevance: A Reply to Peter Achinstein” in 2010.


  • In 2009, Andrew Brenner, UNF philosophy major, won the Florida Philosophical Association’s Gerrit Schipper Prizefor Outstanding Undergraduate Paper in the State of Florida in a Four-Year College or Universityfor the essay: “Aquinas on Eternity, Tense, and Temporal Becoming.”


Student Conference Presentations & Publications


Bradley Beall, “Crime and Funishment: Is Hard Incompatibilism Impractical?” presented at the  


  • 6th Annual Southeast Philosophy Conference.  Morrow, Georgia (February 2013);
  • 16th Annual Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference.  Jacksonville, Florida (March 2013);
  • Annual Online Undergraduate Ethics Conference hosted by the Jackson Family Center for Ethics & Values at Coastal Carolina University (April 2013);
  • Georgia Southern University Undergraduate Conference.  Statesboro, Georgia (April 2013);
  • Appalachian Regional Student Philosophy Colloquium (April 2013).


Chris Byron: “The Normative Force Behind Marx’s Theory of Alienation,” presented at the


  • ”Third Annual UGA-Graduate Philosophy Student Conference. University of Georgia, March 22,
  • 2013 Society of Women's Advancement in Philosophy's Annual Conference. Florida State University, March 29, 2013.
  • Florida Philosophical Association 59th Annual Conference. Stetson University, November 16, 2013.



Chris Byron:


  • "A Critique of Sean Sayers' Marxian Theory of Human Nature" in Science and Society, Vol. 78, no 2. April, 2014.





  • Philosophy for Militants. Alain Badiou, Science and Society, Vol 77, No 1. January, 2014.



Ben Kenofer: ”Overcoming Parochialism: A Critical Ethics of Care and Epistemic Injustice,” presented at the


  • Society for Women's Advancement in Philosophy 2013 Conference, Florida State University, March 29, 2013


Holly Swantek: "A Female's Defense of Confucianism": Chinese Philosophy Perspectives, presented at the


  • 2013 Uehiro Graduate Philosophy Conference - Cross Currents: A World in Discourse, University of Hawai'i at Manoa (Honolulu, HI), March 7-9 2013;
  • Society for Women's Advancement in Philosophy - Not the same Old Story: Giving a Voice to Alternative Accounts Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL), March 29, 2013. 


Graduate Program News


The MA in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics welcomes its new incoming class of 2013, as well as its returning graduate students, from Florida and throughout the country and world.


The following MA theses and internships were completed in the last four years:

  • Dathan Kahn Auerbach “Now I Am Become Internet, The Destroyer of Selves: The Destruction of Identity Coherence through Electronic Socialization” April 2009
  • Cathleen Jensen-Gall “UNF’s Institutional Review: An Internship Report” April 2009
  • Sarah Fernandez “A Theory of Cultural Glocality” June 2009
  • Meghan Orman, "Reinventing Political Participation: Democracy and Education in the Early 21st Century," Spring 2011
  • Michael Bailey, “The Role of Consensus in the Neutrality/Advocacy Debate,” Summer 2011
  • Benjamin Hoffman, “Reflexivity and Social Phenomenology,” Summer 2011
  • Drew Dixon Taking Ethical Theory to Practical Application in Business December 2011
  • Melissa Schwartz Embodied Ethics: Transformation, Care, and Activism through Artistic Engagement April 2012
  • Lorivie Apabo Advertising the Self: The Importance of Being Authentic and Creating an Authentic Self April 2012
  • Jeanette Hoekstra-Berk The Voice of Deliberation April 2013
  • Tyler Andrews Fair Play: an Ethical Evaluation of the NCAA’s Treatment of Student Athletes April 2013
  • Olga Provencher Ecofeminism and Religion: Christianity and the Ethical Approach to the Environment December 2013         
  • Jamie Kristen Ayres Inscriptions of Power: An Argument Against Traditional Gender Roles in Contemporary Culture December 2013


In 2011, the College of Arts& Sciences Dean’s Outstanding Master’s Degree Thesis Recognition was awarded to Benjamin Hoffman for his MA thesis “Reflexivity and Social Reflexivity.” 




Faculty News 2013/2014


Bryan Bannon's manuscript "From Mastery to Mystery: A Phenomenological Foundation for an Environmental Ethic" is due to be published in January 2014 with Ohio University Press.  He is also currently working on several shorter projects exploring the role different ethical ideals might play with respect to the human relationship to nature, presenting conference papers at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division's meeting and the Society for Utopian Studies, and beginning work on a second manuscript reexamining the land ethic in light of both phenomenological insights into environmentalism and over sixty years of scientific research since Aldo Leopold's time.


Andrew Buchwalter published the following essays: “Religion, Civil Society, and the System of an Ethical World: Hegel on the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” in Hegel on Religion and Politics, ed. Angelica Nuzzo (SUNY Press 2013); "Hegel, Human Rights, and Political Membership," Hegel-Bulletin (May 2013); and "Honneth, Hegel, and Global Justice," in Tony Burn and Simon Thompson (eds.) Global Justice and the Politics of Recognition (Palgrave-Macmillan 2013). He also published a softcover version of his edited collection Hegel and Global Justice (Springer 2013). His essay "Hegel and Marx" is forthcoming in Michael Baur (ed.), Hegel: Key Concepts (Acumen Publishing, 2014).  In preparation is the edited collection Hegel and Capitalism as well as the essay "Hegel and 'the Ethicality in Civil Society'" for the Cambridge Critical Guide to Hegel's Philosophy of Right.  In May he presented "The Fact of Poverty and Hegel's Concept of Right as Reflexive Ethicality" at the conference on "Philosophy and the Social Science" in Prague.  He presented "The Dialectic of Rights and Democracy under Conditions of Globality" in a colloquium at the University of Heidelberg and a revised version of the same paper at the meeting of the Association for Political Theory at Vanderbilt University in October.  He has been invited to participate in an international research project on "The Future of Europe" spearheaded by the Philosophy Department of the Autonomous University Madrid.


Paul Carelli is finishing two papers: “The Courage of Conviction: The Relationship between Doxa and Andreia in the Protagoras and Republic,” and “Power in the Lesser Hippias,” as well as continuing his translation of Plato’s Lesser Hippias. He will be presenting his paper “Psychic Representation in Plato’s Phaedrus” at the 31st annual joint meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy (SAGP) with The Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science (SSIPS), as well as applying for a Transformational Learning Opportunity Grant with Sarah Mattice for the China in Context Study Abroad to take place in Summer 2015.


Brandi Denison spent the summer revising her manuscript Remove, Return, Remember: Reconciliation and Ute Land Religion in the American West, funded with a grant from the Lily Endowment Inc. Through a UNF Faculty Development Grant, she developed a course on African American Religious History, which incorporates student oral history projects. She also completed a yearlong workshop on teaching through the Wabash Center for Teaching Religion and Theology. With several colleagues, she co-founded the Initiative for the Study of Religion in the American West. She will be presenting a paper at the Western Historical Association, titled, “Reconciliation and the Perils of Religion” this coming October.


Erinn Gilson is pursuing several projects on topics such as vulnerability, gender, and food. Her book, The Ethics of Vulnerability: a feminist analysis of social life and practice, will be published by Routledge in December 2013. This summer she presented a paper entitled “Vote with your fork!?: Responsibility and Food Justice” at the 30th International Social Philosophy Conference. She looks forward to presenting two papers this semester, one as part of an invited session on “Vulnerability and Feminist Theory” at the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in December and another on “Feminist Ethics of Food and Vulnerability” at the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy in October. Her entries on “Food and Choice” and “Food and Responsibility” have been published in The Encyclopedia of Food and Agriculture Ethics (Springer), and her essay “Ethics and the Ontology of Freedom: Problematization and Responsiveness in Foucault and Deleuze” is forthcoming in a special issue of Foucault Studies on Foucault and Deleuze: Ethics, Politics, Psychoanalysis in the Spring of 2014.


Bert Koegler continued his service as chair, supporting the implementation of UNFs’ First year experience, in which every incoming Freshmen takes a General Education Philosophy course designed to develop critical thinking and reflective judgment, as well as the community-based Engaged Department project. Prof. Koegler published several essays related to the community, including one on the Jacksonville artist Jim Draper: “Art as Dialogue: The Rediscovery of Nature after Modernism,” in Feast of Flowers, (digital 2012; hard copy catalogue 2013) and one for the Times-Union: “Five Myths about Civil Discourse.” He also authored several academic philosophical pieces, including “Interpretation as Reflective Judgment: A Hermeneutic Critique of Objectivity” in Objectivity after Kant, Olms Zurich/New York; Unavoidable Idealizations and the Reality of Symbolic Power,“ in Social Epistemology,  Vol. 27; and “Globalization, Agency, and the Cosmopolitan Public Sphere,” University of Pécs, Hungary.” He gave an invited lecture on ‘The Crisis of a Hermeneutic Ethic’ at the annual meeting of the North-American Society for Philosophical Hermeneutics, DePaul U. Chicago, Oct., and in spring will be teaching a block seminar as guest professor for the fourth time at the University of Austria, Klagenfurt, on ‘Hermeneutics and the Linguistic Turn, based on his UNF course Philosophy of Language. ’ He was a VIP government invited speaker at China’s Outsourcing & Globalization summit in June, Wuxi City/Shanghai, and was an invited participant at the UNF College of Business panel on Corporate Social Responsibility in February.


Julie Ingersoll continues her work on the religious right, the tea party and islamophobia and recently submitted her manuscript Building God’s Kingdom: Christian Reconstruction in America to Oxford University.  As part of the Presidential Panel at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NASSR) she presented “Establishing a Beachhead or Kicking up Sand?,”  which will soon be published in the journal Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (MTSR) and she also recently published “Patterns and Themes: The Use of Religiously Motivated Violence in the Abortion Debate” in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence .  Dr. Ingersoll serves as the coordinator of the Religious Studies program, now in the second year of its new Religious Studies Major and teaches a variety of courses related to the role of religion in American culture.


Jonathan Matheson is co-editing (with Rico Vitz) The Ethics of Belief: individual and Social, under contract at Oxford University Press, and is working on a manuscript on the epistemic significance of disagreement.  He is presenting parts of these projects this year at the Alabama Philosophical Society, Southeastern Epistemology Conference, and the Central States Philosophical Association.  He is also organizing this year's Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference.  In addition to his teaching, he continues to coach the UNF Ethics Bowl team and is the faculty advisor for the UNF Philosophy Club.


Sarah Mattice is teaching Chinese Philosophy and Aesthetics this fall. This summer she co-taught China in Context: Philosophy and Religious Practice Study Abroad, a four week study abroad program that visited four major cities in China, and which received a Transformational Learning Opportunity Grant. While in Asia, she also presented “’Interrogating’ Comparative Philosophy: The Prevalence of the Combat Metaphor” and “Metaphors and Metaphilosophy in China and the West” at conferences in Singapore and Beijing in July. Her co-edited anthology, Levinas and Asian Thought, will be published in November. She is currently working on papers involving Confucianism in the contemporary world and continues to work on a manuscript that delves into the connections between metaphor and metaphilosophy.


Alissa Hurwitz Swota is lead organizer for the Sixth Annual Pediatric Bioethics Conference, scheduled for November 2, 2012 at the UNF University Center. Dr. Swota is currently organizing an A. David Kline symposium on Public Health, a program by the UNF Ethics center which she is co-directing. She continues to be highly active in the community as well as the Wolfson Children’s Hospital as Ethic s Advisor.