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Leading Scholars Join USC Dornsife's School of Philosophy

Ralph Wedgwood, Gabriel Uzquiano-Cruz and Karen Lewis will teach undergraduate and graduate courses beginning this Fall.

Leading Scholars Join USC Dornsife's School of Philosophy

The USC Dana and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has recruited leading senior philosophers Ralph Wedgwood and Gabriel Uzquiano-Cruz of the University of Oxford as well as a very promising newcomer, Karen Lewis of Rutgers University, to join its faculty. They will begin in USC Dornsife’s School of Philosophy this Fall.

“We are thrilled to have such a stellar cluster of outstanding faculty join our School of Philosophy,” said Howard Gillman, dean of USC Dornsife. “They represent our commitment to the recruitment of established and promising scholars who will have a transformative impact on the quality and reputation of our programs.”

Ralph Wedgwood

Wedgwood is currently professor of philosophy and university lecturer at Oxford and a fellow and tutor in philosophy in Merton College. He is a world leader in a wide range of areas of philosophy, including normative ethics, the nature of normativity, meta-ethics, and both moral and general epistemology. His book, The Nature of Normativity (Oxford University Press, 2007), presents a comprehensive theory of the nature of normative thought — the sort of thought that is concerned with how things should or ought to be.

Before arriving at Oxford, Wedgwood was associate professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been a Leverhulme Research Fellow and has held visiting fellow positions at institutions around the world including Australian National University, The Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Princeton University. In 2000, he received the American Philosophical Association’s Jean Hampton Prize.

Wedgwood earned a B.A. in classics and modern languages from Oxford’s Magdalen College, an M.Phil. in philosophy from King’s College London and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell University.

“Ralph’s expertise in normative ethics will be a valuable addition to our already impressive strengths in meta-ethics, the philosophy of law and action theory, thereby making ours one of the most attractive programs anywhere in the world for graduate students in normative philosophy,” said Scott Soames, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and the School of Philosophy’s director.

“Ralph has also developed the reputation of being a wonderful teacher. He is known for being a tireless supervisor of graduate students at Oxford, as well as a powerful force in the undergraduate curriculum at Merton College.”

Gabriel Uzquiano-Cruz

Widely recognized as an up-and-coming star in philosophical logic, Uzquiano-Cruz is currently professor and university lecturer in philosophy at Oxford and a tutorial fellow in Pembroke College. The author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, his research interests lie in philosophical logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophy of mathematics.

After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from MIT, Uzquiano-Cruz, a native of Spain, also taught at the University of Rochester and The Ohio State University.

“Gabriel is perhaps the leading expert in the important new field of plural quantification, research which has exciting implications for both the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of language,” Soames said. “He will further bolster our graduate and undergraduate offerings in formal logic, philosophical logic, metaphysics and the history of analytic philosophy.”

The addition of Wedgwood and Uzquiano-Cruz will also help expand course offerings in the school’s new and quickly growing undergraduate major in philosophy, politics and law.

Karen Lewis

This spring, Lewis completed her Ph.D. in philosophy at Rutgers University, the No. 2 ranked program in philosophy in the United States. She specializes in the philosophy of language, philosophical logic and cognitive science.  Her dissertation, “Understanding Dynamic Discourse,” explores the roles of semantics and pragmatics in updating the conversational context.

Lewis’ interest in cognitive science is interdisciplinary, involving work in computer science, linguistics, cognitive psychology and philosophy. She is especially concerned with how the tools and concepts of each discipline can inform the others. Lewis received a B.A. in philosophy from Queen’s University.

Wedgwood and Uzquiano-Cruz will join USC Dornsife as professors of philosophy and Lewis as assistant professor of philosophy.