Email:  <gwitmer>

Office: 308 Griffin-Floyd Hall

Phone: (352) 273-1830

Due to the ongoing pandemic, I will not be in my office on a regular basis; it is best to reach me by email.

 

Department of Philosophy

330 Griffin-Floyd Hall

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL 32611-8545

 D. Gene Witmer

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1997

 

Areas of research:  Metaphysics, philosophy of mind, physicalism, consciousness, a priori knowledge

 

My areas of research lie in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, often focusing on the doctrine of physicalism. I have worked on such topics as the nature of intrinsic properties, metaphysical grounding, mental causation, functionalism, conceptual analysis, and a priori knowledge. A book defending a kind of a priori physicalism is planned. My interests extend as well to meta-ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion.

 

My curriculum vitae.

 

My page on Philosophical Papers, including links to various papers and my positions on many philosophical issues.

 

 

Faculty < Department < College < University

 

 

Office hours for Fall 2020:

Tuesdays and Thursdays

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

And by appointment

All office hours are held by Zoom at

ufl.zoom.us/j/94247285317

Registered UF accounts only

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undergraduate Advising

For the 2020-2021 academic year, I am the department's Undergraduate Advisor. If you are a philosophy major or minor or just a student interested in finding out more about the department's undergraduate curriculum, feel free to get in touch with me at gwitmer@ufl.edu. Office hours are listed on the left.

 

Fall 2020 Teaching

 

PHI 3700 Philosophy of Religion

The philosophy of religion can range over many different areas, including issues in epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Instead of a broad survey, however, in this course we focus on what is arguably the most fundamental question in this area, namely, whether or not there exists something deserving of the title "God." The course is structured around a fictional dialogue between a theist, an atheist, and an agnostic as well as supplementary papers provided in a coursepack that supplement parts of the dialogue. Topics include the relationship between God, value and morality; arguments from design (teleological arguments), including both classical biological and more contemporary "fine-tuning" arguments; cosmological or "first cause" arguments; the infamous ontological argument (which aims to show just from the definition of God that he must exist); the significance of religious experience and claims about miracles; the problem of evil as a reason to be an atheist; the idea that we might "bet" on God's existence as per Pascal's Wager; and the nature of faith. By the end of the course you should have a substantial understanding of the most important lines of argument concerning the existence of God.

 

PHI 6326 Seminar in Philosophy of Mind

Topic: Consciousness, Analysis, and the Knowledge Argument. In this exploratory research seminar, we will focus on two related questions about consciousness in relation to the mind-body problem. The first concerns the concept of consciousness: are there any significant a priori truths about (kinds of) conscious experience, and, if so, what are they? The second concerns Jackson's famous knowledge argument against physicalism: what is the physicalist's best response to that argument? Our exploration of the first of these is intended to help address the second: if there are significant a priori truths about (kinds of) conscious experience, those are available in principle to Mary, the vision scientist trapped in the black-and-white environment. Readings consist of a variety of individual papers on consciousness, the knowledge argument, conceivability and modal arguments, the explanatory gab, functionalism, absent qualia, recognitional concepts, a priori entailment more generally, and an anthology of new essays on the knowledge argument.

 

Selected Publications

 

"Full and Partial Grounding." With Kelly Trogdon. Forthcoming in Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

 

"Physicalism UnBlocked." Forthcoming in Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

 

"Platonistic Physicalism without Tears." Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (9-10): 72-90. 2017. Part of a collection of papers responding to Susan Schneider's "Does the Mathematical Nature of Physics Undermine Physicalism?"

 

"Physicality for Physicalists." Topoi 37 (3): 457-472. September 2018. Special issue "The Character of Physicalism" edited by Andreas Elpidorou. FDOI: 10.1007/s11245-016-9415-y.

 

"Chudnoff on our Awareness of Abstract Objects." Florida Philosophical Review 16 (1): 105-116. Winter 2016.

 

"Physicalism and Metaphysical Naturalism." Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2015.

 

"A Simple Theory of Intrinsicality." In Robert M. Francescotti, ed., Companion to Intrinsic Properties. Berlin: DeGruyter, 2014.

 

Review of Robert Kirk, The Conceptual Link from Physical to Mental (Oxford University Press, 2013). In Analysis Reviews 0, 1-5 (2014).

 

"Naturalism and Physicalism." Encyclopedia entry in Robert Barnard and Neil Manson, eds., The Bloomsbury Companion to Metaphysics, Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly Continuum), 2012.

 

Review of Jens Kipper, A Two-Dimensionalist Guide to Conceptual Analysis (Ontos Verlag, 2012). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. January 11, 2013.

 

"Stalking the Elusive Physicalist Thesis." Review of Daniel Stoljar, Physicalism (Routledge, 2010). Metascience 21: 71-75. 2012.

 

Review of Jakob Howhy and Jesper Kallestrup, eds., Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation (Oxford University Press, 2008). Mind 120 (479): 882-888. July 2011.

 

Review of Timothy Williamson, The Philosophy of Philosophy (Blackwell, 2007). Metaphilosophy (2011) 42: 155-160.

 

Selected Presentations

 

Comments on Daniel Giberman and David Kovacs, "Property Dualism (not?) for Property Nominalists."

February 26, 2020. Central Division, American Philosophical Association. Chicago, IL.

 

"Grounds for a Free Lunch."

November 1, 2019. Florida Philosophical Association. Gainesville, FL.

 

"Goff's Insufficiently Minimal Minimal Rationalism."

November 2, 2018. Florida Philosophical Association. Pensacola, FL.

 

"Metaphysics and A Priori Vindication."

May 10, 2018. Invited talk at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

Comments on Paul Boswell, "There Are No Intrinsic Desires,"

February 2018 at the Central Division, American Philosophical Association. Chicago, IL.

 

Comments on Zach Blaesi, "Grounding, Physicalism, and the Explanatory Gap."

January 6, 2018. Eastern Division, American Philosophical Association. Savannah, GA. (Presented in absentia.)

 

Comments on Fermin Fulda, "Three Grades of Naturalistic Involvement."

October 6, 2017. Conference of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science. New York, NY.

 

Comments on Todd Ganson, "What are Sensory Powers?"

January 7, 2017. Eastern Division, American Philosophical Association. Baltimore, MD.

 

Comments on Kenneth L. Pearce, "Counteressential Conditionals."

March 3, 2016. Central Division, American Philosophical Association. Chicago, Illinois.

 

"Physicality for Physicalists."

Invited talk for the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. New York, NY. September 30, 2015.

 

Comments on Andreas Elpidorou, "Defending Actualist Physicalism."

September 18, 2015. Conference of the Society for the Metaphysics of Science. Newark, NJ.