Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hello all,

Hope everyone had a good summer, and I hope that everyone is coming back.

There will be several changes at the university this year. First we have a new chair Jack Zupko. Borman and Hickson are both gone and have found new employment elsewhere. Muir is taking a year of leave for personal reasons. Savickey is on her year sabbatical. To cover Muir's absence a new sessional professor will be hired by the beginning of the semester. There will also be several contract professors to cover some of out classes.

So, some big changes. I am confident however that this year will be better then the last. There is also a new coordinator this year, Joesph Gerbasi. We will both be running the association this year and we hope to get you all involved this year.

I have met with Jack Zupko several times already this summer and he is very enthusiastic and excited to rebuild the department. He is encouraging all students to send him an email or stop by his office just to say hello, and explain where you are in your studies and where you would like to be. He feels that the students may have be feeling lost with all the challenges of the last few years and he would like to assess the overall feeling of the students.

Also there are a couple of fourth year seminar courses that are in danger of being canceled due to lack of enrollment. I am including a email that Zupko sent out to another student that explains these courses:


I hope you’ve had a great summer and are looking forward to coming back to the University of Winnipeg this Fall!

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Jack Zupko and I’m the new Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg. I came here from Emory University, where I taught in the Philosophy Department for fifteen years. Prior to that, I taught at San Diego State University. I got my Ph.D. from Cornell University, and specialize in medieval philosophy, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion.

I’m absolutely committed to our philosophy program and to you, our students and philosophy majors. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the program or your courses, or even if you just want to stop by and say hello. My office is 4G11 and I can be reached at 204 786-9369 or

In addition to hiring a new Chair, we’ve had some other personnel changes over the summer. Professor Muir is on leave for the entire year, and Professor Borman has left us to take a position in the Philosophy Department at Nipissing University.

We are still planning to offer the courses Professors Borman and Muir were scheduled to teach, and are right now in the process of hiring faculty to staff them. I expect to announce instructors for these courses by the end of next week.

Also, we are offering two Honors courses (taught by yours truly) that I’d like to draw your attention to:

PHIL-4204/3-001 Topics in Moral Philosophy: Virtue Ethics
This course will examine recent work in the application of virtue ethics to a range of moral issues in medicine, the environment, animal welfare, law, and business. We will consider some of the standard objections to virtue ethics -- Is it sufficiently action-guiding? Does it adequately account for the requirements of justice? -- and compare it with consequentialist and deontological moral theories in this regard.

Text: Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems
Edited by Rebecca L. Walker and Philip J. Ivanhoe

PHIL-4266/3-001 Topics in Epistemology: Skepticism
Skepticism enjoyed a long career in Greek and Roman antiquity as a philosophy of life, but it has become popular again among philosophers because of the powerful arguments it generates against the justification of empirical knowledge. We will read and discuss some of the best recent work on epistemological skepticism, both for and against.

Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader
Edited by Keith DeRose and Ted A. Warfield

If you are interested in taking either of these courses, please register sooner rather than later as they are at risk of being canceled due to low enrollment!

Thanks for your time, and here’s to a great year for all of us at UW,
Jack Zupko
Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9
office: 204 786-9369
fax: 204 774-4134

I look forward to seeing all of you soon, and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Marc Kruse, Coordinator
Philosophy Students' Association
University of Winnipeg