Past Events

villanovaMay 28-30, 2015

SWIP-Analytic organizers Marilynn Johnson and Kate Pendoley presented a talk entitled “Women in Analytic Philosophy” at the Hypatia conference, Exploring Collaborative Contestations, at Villanova University, May 28-30, 2015. The event was be held in conjunction with the APA Committee on the Status of Women Diversity Conference. Thanks to the New York Institute of Philosophy at NYU and the Provost at the CUNY Graduate Center for additional funding in support of our travels and to Hypatia Editor Sally Shultz for inviting SWIP-Analytic to present at the conference.

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Poster at Hypatia Conference announcing Keynote Speakers and Invited Panels, including SWIP-Analytic, May 28, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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The Villanova Conference Center where the Hypatia Conference was held, May 28, 2015. (Photo: Kate Pendoley)

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APA Director Amy Ferrer addressing speakers at the Mansion at the Villanova Conference Center where the Hypatia Conference was held, May 28, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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Break between panels at the Hypatia Conference, May 29, 2015. (Photo: Kate Pendoley)

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Marilynn Johnson and Kate Pendoley presented “Women in Analytic Philosophy” at the Hypatia Conference on May 30, 2015.

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swip analyticMonday, April 20, 2015
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Rebecca Traynor, winner of the SWIP-Analytic 2015 Graduate Student Essay Prize, presented “Accurate Representation is Accurate Distortion” at SWIP-Analytic Monday, April 20, 2015 in room 202 in the NYU Philosophy Department. We encouraged attendees to read the winning paper in advance of the presentation.

ABSTRACT: Picasso’s ‘Woman Ironing’ captures the drudgery of ironing in virtue of depicting a woman so grey and emaciated she fails to correspond to the visual appearance of any actual woman. The painting distorts visual appearance in order to accurately represent a feature of the world—drudgery—for which we have no independent sense. I hypothesize that perception can similarly distort but accurately represent the external world. Orthodox accounts of representation split perceiving subjects from perceived objects; they take mental representation to represent the external world as it is in itself such that the former is transparent to the latter. But this means perceptual content is often in error. For example, researchers found that participants standing at the base of a hill while carrying a heavy backpack regularly overestimate steepness (Proffitt, et al. 1995). I argue that exaggerating steepness is accurate insofar as it corresponds to a relational feature of the world—arduousness—for which we have no independent sense. I argue that representational content admits of accurate distortions because accuracy is a matter of capturing relational facts about the world.

I argue artistic and mental representations admit of accurate distortions. However, distortions in artistic representation differ from those in mental representation because they aim at aesthetic goals. This means that the two cases admit of different functions. And it means that instances of artistic distortions are frequently—though not always—a result of conscious deliberation. I propose that when artists distort the external world, the choices they make exploit and thereby highlight cases of accurate distortion in mental representation. I hypothesize that cases of accurate distortion in art are parasitic on cases of accurate distortion in mental representation and that artistic skill is correlated with the ability to manipulate perceptual distortions.

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Rebecca Traynor presenting “Accurate Representation is Accurate Distortion” at New York University, April 20, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

 

 

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Q&A at Rebecca Traynor’s presentation “Accurate Representation is Accurate Distortion” at New York University, April 20, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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Rebecca Traynor with SWIP-Analytic organizers Marilynn Johnson, Lisa Miracchi, Katie Tullmann, Kate Pendoley (L to R) at New York University, April 20, 2015.

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laura franklin-hallTuesday, March 24, 2015, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Professor Laura Franklin-Hall (NYU) presented “Why are some kinds historical and others not?” in Room 5307 at the Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 5th Avenue, New York City.

 

 

 

ABSTRACT: This talk explores why scientists sometimes classify entities by their origins, and other times based exclusively on their non-historical or ‘synchronic’ properties. After reviewing examples of these two approaches, I formulate a principle designed to both describe and explain this aspect of our scientific classificatory practice. According to this proposal, a domain is apt for historical classifications just when the probability of the independent emergence of similar entities (PIES) in that domain is very low. In addition to rationalizing this principle and showing its ability to correctly account for classification practices across the natural and social sciences, I will consider the nature of the probabilities that are at its core.

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Laura Franklin-Hall presenting “Why are some kinds historical and others not?” at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 24, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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SWIP-Analytic Organizer Kate Pendoley prepares to start Q & A at Laura Franklin-Hall’s presentation “Why are some kinds historical and others not?” at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 24, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

 

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karen lewisMonday, March 2, 2015, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Professor Karen Lewis (Columbia) presented “Reverse Sobel Sequences in Static Semantics” in Room 302, NYU Philosophy Department, 5 Washington Place, New York City.

 

 

ABSTRACT: Sobel Sequences are consistent sequences of counterfactuals like the following:
(1a)  If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance.
(1b) But of course, if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she wouldn’t have seen Pedro dance.
But reverse the sequence, and it does not sound so good at all. This observation – that order makes a difference to the consistency of the sequence – motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to abandon the classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics and adopt a dynamic semantic account of counterfactual conditionals.  Subsequently, Sarah Moss defended the classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics against the charge that it need be abandoned because of Reverse Sobel Sequences, arguing for a pragmatic account of the infelicity of the sequences.  I argue that ultimately both the dynamic semantic account and Moss’s account are untenable, but that seeing what is good about each account points the way to the right positive story. Finally, I defend a positive view that attributes the effect of counterfactuals on the context to pragmatics, but treats the effect of the context on counterfactuals as semantic.

If you wanted to prepare for the topic in advance, the paper by Sarah Moss on Sobel sequences is available online here.

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Karen Lewis presenting “Reverse Sobel Sequences in Static Semantics” at New York University, March 2, 2015. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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blueMonday, November 17th, 2014, 1-3 PM

SWIP-Analytic’s session, “Women in Philosophy: Publishing, Jobs, & Fitting In” began with an informal roundtable featuring Jessica Gordon-Roth (Lehman) and SWIP-Analytic Organizers Lisa Miracchi (NYU/Penn) and Katie Tullmann (CUNY). They discussed work habits, publishing, and job searches, among other things. Marilynn Johnson (CUNY) moderated. This was followed by a presentation by Predoctoral Fellow in Clinical Psychology Alice Mangan of the Wellness Center on Imposter Syndrome.

Roundtable w/Gordon-Roth, Miracchi, Tullmann: 1:00 – 2:10
Imposter Syndrome Session w/Mangan: 2:15 – 3:00
Afternoon Tea at Measure (RSVP here): 3:15 – 4:15

Gordon-Roth is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her “Catharine Trotter Cockburn’s Defense of Locke” is forthcoming in The Monist (2015).
Miracchi is currently a Bersoff Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of Philosophy at NYU and begins her tenure-track position at Penn Fall 2015. She received her PhD from Rutgers in 2014. Her “Competence to Know” was published in Philosophical Studies (2014).
Tullmann is currently on the job market as a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at the Graduate Center, CUNY with an expected graduation date of Spring 2015. She has articles in preparation for Mind (with Wesley Buckwalter) and Inquiry.

All attendees were invited to join us to continue conversations over 3:15 afternoon tea at Measure (400 5th Avenue at 36th) following the presentation. RSVP for tea was required by November 10th. RSVP here.

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bw.fwMonday, October 13th, 2014, 5-7 PM

Professor Deirdre Wilson (UCL & CSMN, Oslo) presented at SWIP-Analytic Monday, October 13th from 5:00 – 7:00 at New York University, in the second floor seminar room 202, 5 Washington Place. Her talk was entitled “Irony, hyperbole, jokes and banter: What should a theory of verbal irony aim to explain?“.

 

ABSTRACT: In the last ten or fifteen years, following the collapse of the classical and Gricean treatments of verbal irony as a matter of saying one thing and meaning the opposite, a range of disparate phenomena including hyperbole, banter, understatement, jokes and rhetorical questions have been commonly treated as forms of verbal irony in the literature on irony comprehension. Ray Gibbs (2000/2007: 342), whose pioneering experimental studies of rhetoric and poetics have been deservedly influential, sees this as “an important challenge for cognitive science theories of irony. Is it necessarily the case that a single theory will account for the multiple forms and functions of irony in ordinary speech?” In his view,

Irony is not a single category of figurative language, but includes a variety of types, each of which is motivated by slightly different cognitive, linguistic, and social factors, and conveys somewhat different pragmatic meanings.

After illustrating how this broadened notion of irony is being used in current experimental studies and outlining some distinctive features of typical cases of verbal irony, I will argue that hyperbole, banter, understatement, jokes and rhetorical questions are not inherently ironical, and routinely including them in the data for experimental studies of irony comprehension distorts the results and obscures our understanding of irony.

Click here to download pdf of “Irony in Talk Among Friends” (Gibbs 2000/2007)

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Audience gathering before Deirdre Wilson’s presentation “Irony, hyperbole, jokes and banter: What should a theory of verbal irony aim to explain?” at New York University, October 13, 2014. (Photo: Marilynn Johnson)

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SWIP-Analytic Organizer Marilynn Johnson with Deirdre Wilson before “Irony, hyperbole, jokes and banter: What should a theory of verbal irony aim to explain?” at New York University, October 13, 2014. (Photo: Michelle Johnson)

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Deirdre Wilson presenting “Irony, hyperbole, jokes and banter: What should a theory of verbal irony aim to explain?” at New York University, October 13, 2014. (Photo: Michelle Johnson)

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Deirdre Wilson presenting “Irony, hyperbole, jokes and banter: What should a theory of verbal irony aim to explain?” at New York University, October 13, 2014. (Photo: Michelle Johnson)

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blueMonday, September 8th, 2014, 5-7 PM

Professor Jessica Moss (NYU) presented “Dual Systems in 400 BC: Plato and the Origins of Contemporary Psychology” at SWIP-Analytic Monday, September 8th from 5:00-7:00 PM at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

 

 

 

ABSTRACT: Proponents of contemporary Dual Systems psychology – the view that we have in some sense two minds, one responsible for automatic, associative, intuitive processing, and the other for controlled, inferential, deliberative processing – have sometimes recognized that there are ancient roots to their view.  I will argue that we should in fact credit Plato with anticipating this contemporary view in striking, almost comprehensive detail, and also that the contemporary view both illuminates and vindicates Plato’s much-misunderstood notions of parts of the soul and of rationality.

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Jessica Moss presenting “Dual Systems in 400 BC: Plato and the Origins of Contemporary Psychology” at the CUNY Graduate Center, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Q&A for Jessica Moss “Dual Systems in 400 BC: Plato and the Origins of Contemporary Psychology” at the CUNY Graduate Center, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Jessica Moss and Vivian Feldblyum with SWIP-Analytic Organiers Katherine Tullmann, Lisa Miracchi, and Marilynn Johnson at the Fall Kickoff Mixer following “Dual Systems in 400 BC: Plato and the Origins of Contemporary Psychology” at the CUNY Graduate Center, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Flyer for Jessica Moss “Dual Systems in 400 BC: Plato and the Origins of Contemporary Psychology” at the CUNY Graduate Center, September 8, 2014.

Listen to Jessica Moss interview “Plato and Aristotle on Weakness of Will” on Philosophy Bites

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Fall Kickoff Mixer raffle prize generously provided for SWIP-Analytic by Oxford University Press. Vivian Feldblyum was the lucky winner of Emma Borg’s Minimal Semantics and Ruth Millikan’s Language: A Biological Model.

Vivian Feldblyum (McGill) treated us to a performance of her philosophy songs, including the Deductive Logic Love Song, shown here, at the reception and Fall Kickoff Mixer on Monday, September 8th, at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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blueMonday, May 5th, 2014, 5-7 PM

SWIP-Analytic 2014 Essay Prize Winners Fatema Amijee (UT-Austin) “The Normativity of Nonsense” and Kate Nolfi (UNC-Chapel Hill) “Why the Epistemic Status of Our Beliefs Ought to Weigh With Us” presented at SWIP-Analytic on Monday, May 5th at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

 

 

Amijee ABSTRACT: I argue that if belief is subject to a truth-norm, then it is also subject to a norm of nonsense that is distinct from, though perhaps ultimately reducible to the truth-norm. I take as my starting point an old debate between Russell and Wittgenstein. Russell famously abandoned his multiple relation theory of judgment in response to Wittgenstein’s objection that Russell’s theory was unable to rule out judging nonsense. But what is nonsense, and why should it be a criterion of adequacy on any theory of judgment (i.e. belief) that it should make it impossible to judge nonsense? I distinguish between two distinct notions of nonsense, and show that while on the first construal nonsense does contribute to a criterion of adequacy on any theory of judgment, it does not on the second construal. However, the second notion of nonsense plays an important normative role for belief.

Nolfi ABSTRACT: Reflection on certain sorts of cases suggests that although the epistemic status of our beliefs is not necessarily decisive in determining what we ought to believe, the epistemic status of our beliefs ought, nevertheless, to weigh with us. This paper develops and defends a novel explanation of why this is by showing how conceiving of our capacity for belief as constitutively tied to our capacity to act in the way that we paradigmatically do supplies a satisfying explanation of why it is that (i) if it is or would be irrational for one to believe that P, one has a reason to not believe that P and (ii) if it is rational for one to believe that P, one has a reason to believe that P.

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Kate Nolfi presenting “Why the Epistemic Status of Our Beliefs Ought to Weigh With Us”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, May 5, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Fatema Amijee presenting “The Normativity of Nonsense”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, May 5, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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SWIP-Analytic 2014 Essay Prizes for Kate Nolfi and Fatema Amijee awarded at the CUNY Graduate Center, May 5, 2014.

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Flyer for Fatema Amijee (UT-Austin) “The Normativity of Nonsense” and Kate Nolfi (UNC-Chapel Hill) “Why the Epistemic Status of Our Beliefs Ought to Weigh With Us” at SWIP-Analytic on Monday, May 5th at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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 RussellSKC3Monday, March 3rd, 2014, 5-7 PM

Professor Gillian Russell (Washington University in St Louis) presented “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”. The presentation took place at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, Room 5307.

This event was co-sponsored by SWIP-Analytic and the Saul Kripke Center.

 

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Gillian Russell presenting “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 3, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Gillian Russell presenting “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 3, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Attendees at Gillian Russell’s presentation “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 3, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Q&A following Gillian Russell’s presentation “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 3, 2014. (Photo: Adriana Renero)

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Flyer for Gillian Russell’s presentation “Hume’s Law and Other Barriers to Implication”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, March 3, 2014.

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balogTuesday, February 11th, 2014, 5-7 PM

Professor Katalin Balog (Rutgers) presented “Is there a hardest problem of consciousness?” at SWIP-Analytic on Tuesday, February 11th at NYU’s Philosophy Department, 5 Washington Place, Room 202. A reception will follow. Paper abstract below.

 

 

ABSTRACT: In this paper I discuss three problems of consciousness. The first two  have been dubbed the “Hard Problem” and the “Harder Problem”. The third problem has received less attention and I will call it the “Hardest Problem”. The Hard Problem is a metaphysical and explanatory problem concerning the nature of conscious states. The Harder Problem is epistemological, and it concerns whether we can know, given physicalism, whether some creature physically different from us is conscious. The Hardest Problem is a problem about reference. Recently some philosophers – among them David Papineau – who advocate a physicalist approach to both the Hard and the Harder problem have called into question the common sense assumption that phenomenal concepts – subjective concepts that we apply directly to experience – refer determinately (modulo vagueness) to real properties that can be instantiated in minds other than my own. The Hardest Problem is the problem of explaining how, given physicalism, this assumption could be true. In this paper I explore how these three problems appear from the perspective a physicalist approach to consciousness called “phenomenal concept strategy”. My contention is that this approach can go quite far in handling not just the first two problems but the Hardest Problem as well.

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Flyer for Katalin Balog’s presention, “Is there a Hardest Problem of Consciousness”, at New York University, February 5, 2014.

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 Sarah Jane Leslie pic2Monday, January 20th, 2014, 5-7 PM

Professor Sarah-Jane Leslie (Princeton) will present her empirical work on women in philosophy in a talk entitled “Gender Gaps and Conceptions of Ability” (abstract below). The event will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, Room 5409. A reception will follow.

 

 

Abstract: Some academic disciplines have significant gender gaps (e.g., philosophy), while others do not (e.g., molecular biology). Why is this so? Sometimes, the phenomenon is characterized in terms of the natural sciences/mathematics having large gender gaps, and the social sciences/humanities having small or no gender gaps. This is a crude characterization, as reflection on disciplines such as philosophy vs. molecular biology illustrates. Are there any general, isolable factors that predict the occurrence of gender gaps across all academic disciplines, and also within the broad domains of natural sciences/mathematics, and social sciences/humanities? Recent data collected by my collaborators and me suggest that one such factor may be how the practitioners of the discipline conceive of the ability required for success in it — in particular, the extent to which innate, immutable, natural talent is emphasized, at the expense of hard work and dedication, predicts the presence and extent of a discipline’s gender gap. I discuss the nature of this spectrum of conceptions of ability, and how and why they relate to gender gaps in academic disciplines.

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Sarah-Jane Leslie presenting “Gender Gaps and Conceptions of Ability”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, January 20, 2014. (Photo: Thomas Whitney)

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Flyer for Sarah-Jane Leslie’s presentation, “Gender Gaps and Conceptions of Ability”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, January 20, 2014. (Photo: Thomas Whitney)

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atkinsmiracchinarrowMonday, November 11th, 2013, 5-7 PM

The second SWIP-Analytic workshop was given by graduate students Ashley Atkins (Princeton), presenting “Modality (Without Modals)“, and Lisa Miracchi (Rutgers), presenting “A Virtue Aistheology“, at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, Room 5409.   PB120053 Lisa Miracchi presenting “A Virtue Aistheology”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, November 11, 2013. (Photo: Adriana Renero) PB120038 Attendees at “A Virtue Aistheology”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, November 11, 2013. (Photo: Adriana Renero) PB120048 Lisa Miracchi presenting “A Virtue Aistheology”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, November 11, 2013. (Photo: Adriana Renero) PB120015 Lisa Miracchi presenting “A Virtue Aistheology”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, November 11, 2013. (Photo: Adriana Renero) 11_11flyerclearFlyer for Ashley Atkins, presenting “Modality (Without Modals)”, and Lisa Miracchi, presenting “A Virtue Aistheology”, at the CUNY Graduate Center, November 11, 2013.

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street

Monday, October 7th, 2013, 5-7 PM

The first SWIP-Analytic workshop was given by Sharon Street (NYU) at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, Room C203. Click here for an outline of Sharon Street’s presentation.   StreetReception Reception after Professor Sharon Street’s SWIP-Analytic presentation “Normativity and Water: The Analogy and Its Limits” at the CUNY Graduate Center, October 7, 2013. StreetFlyer for Professor Sharon Street’s SWIP-Analytic presentation “Normativity and Water: The Analogy and Its Limits” at the CUNY Graduate Center, October 7, 2013.

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