Graduate Research Fellow AY13-14: Emily Barrett

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AY13–14: Emily Barrett (Department of Philosophy, supervised by Dr. Cory Wright)

Emily Barrett (MA Philosophy ’14) was selected as the 2013–2014 Graduate Research Fellow for the College of Liberal Arts. She was awarded the fellowship for her proposal, entitled Offloading Depressive Experience: The Role of Others in the Treatment of Disorder. Her research was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Cory Wright, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy. Emily’s project was motivated by her interests in philosophy of psychiatry, a burgeoning interdisciplinary field which draws from philosophical subdisciplines like philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, as well as psychology and neuroscience. Some of the central questions in philosophy of psychiatry that Emily explored during the course of her research included: what makes a given condition an illness? Should psychiatry conform to a medical model? What explains mental illness? Do clinical categories capture the right conception of mental illness?

Emily’s proposal was inspired by psychological studies suggesting that the presence of social support positively correlates both with a higher likelihood of recovering from depression as well as a lower likelihood of recurrence of depressive episodes. Emily hypothesized that, if true, this data suggests that depression may not be fully reducible to some set of abnormal brain states—that is, it is not a condition which is merely internal to the individual. Instead, depression is partially constituted by social conditions, and in this way is extended beyond the individual to the external environment. This reconceptualization of depression challenges some of the internalist assumptions about mental illness that are widespread in the empirical literature.

Ultimately, Emily applied her research to several domains. Her Master’s thesis, Defending the Doxastic Conception of Delusions, focuses on themes concerning the nature of delusional disorders. Some have claimed that putative delusions do not seem to satisfy the philosophical criteria for proper beliefs, but this doesn’t render delusions ‘non-doxastic’; rather, delusions are a type of irrational belief, albeit an extreme one. In her thesis, Emily defends the doxastic view—argued for by Lisa Bortolotti in her 2009 book Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs—that delusions are beliefs. Additionally, Emily co-authored a review of Bortolotti’s book with Dr. Wright, which was published in Philosophical Quarterly in 2014. She also presented a paper, ‘Clinical Implications of Conversational Implicature’, at the 2014 meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychology in New York.

Emily’s experience as a Graduate Research Fellow advanced her development as a scholar. It also afforded her the opportunity to develop a competitive application to PhD programs in Philosophy while completing the Masters degree. She is now a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and in the process of planning her dissertation. The dissertation will, broadly, deal with the question of how to differentiate pathological conditions from undesirable, but normal conditions, such as depression versus sadness related to bereavement. Emily will be teaching a course in Contemporary Moral Problems, and has also developed a course in Philosophy of Psychiatry, which she hopes to teach soon.

Graduate Research Fellow AY15-16: TBA

Graduate Research Fellow AY15-16: TBA

Graduate Research Fellow AY15-16: Nathan Lackey

AY15–16: Nathan Lackey (Department of Philosophy, supervised by Dr. Cory Wright)

""Nathan Lackey (MA Philosophy ’16) was the recipient of the Graduate Research Fellowship award for the College of Liberal Arts in the 2015–2016 academic year, under the supervision of Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Cory Wright. Prior to his graduate studies at Cal State Long Beach, Nathan earned a BS in physics and a BA in Philosophy with a minor in mathematics at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His research during the fellowship period added further depth to his knowledge of these subjects, and culminated in his MA thesis, Scientific Realism and the Structure of Physical Theories. In this thesis, Nathan argued that the structural geometric changes in physical theory of the 20th century provide another historical example in support of the pessimistic meta-induction, which is one of the central philosophical arguments against scientific realism. As a result, Nathan concluded that realism about spacetime and its geometric structure is epistemologically unjustified—a conclusion that has implications for interpreting modern physics.

Nathan presented his work-in-progress at several venues. His paper ‘Congruence, geometry and space’ placed in the top three of the Humanities & Letters division of the 27th Annual Student Research Competition, and he was invited to give this same presentation at the 5th Annual Philosophy Day Symposium. Additionally, created and organized a Philosophy of Mathematics Reading Group, which was inclusively intended for any undergraduate or graduate students interested in Philosophy of Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy of Geometry. This group met regularly in the 2015–2016 academic year to discuss central readings in the philosophy of mathematics. Nathan also helped organize a colloquium on Philosophy of Geometry at Cal State Long Beach featuring John Mumma from Cal State San Bernardino. Nathan gave a talk based on work from his thesis, ‘Interpreting geometry through physics’, and Prof. Mumma presented his paper, ‘Intuitions, axioms, and Euclid’s diagrammatic proof method’.

The Graduate Research Fellowship also gave Nathan the opportunity to study María de Paz & Robert DiSalle’s book Poincaré, Philosopher of Science: Problems and Perspectives. Nathan subsequently coauthored a review of the book, which was published in volume 36 of the journal Philosophy in Review (2016).

Nathan was admitted to the doctoral program in philosophy at the University of Minnesota, beginning in fall of 2017. The University of Minnesota, with its Center for Philosophy of Science, has historically been one of the most premier programs world-wide for advanced study of Philosophy of the Natural and Formal Sciences. The Graduate Research Fellowship was an integral part of his Ph.D applications. At Minnesota, Nathan plans to continue developing his research interests in the Philosophy of Physics and Mathematics that were initiated as a Graduate Research Fellow at Cal State Long Beach.

Graduate Research Fellow AY17-18: Eugenia Bey

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Graduate Research Fellow AY17-18: Eugenia Bey

Eugenia Bey (Department of Geography, supervised by Dr. Lily House-Peters)

Eugenia Bey is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Geography, is excited to have been selected to represent the College of Liberal Arts as the 2017–2018 Graduate Research Fellow. Eugenia has also been selected as a 2017–2018 Switzer Environmental Fellow. Eugenia is passionate about climate adaptation and resilience planning using ecosystem-based solutions such as green infrastructure. Her work focuses on communicating climate-related risks and hazards to educate and empower vulnerable populations, and finding ecologically and culturally appropriate community-based solutions for the challenges that lie ahead. Prior to her studies at CSULB, Eugenia engaged communities in Salt Lake City, UT in renewable energy initiatives by helping to decrease residential dependency on fossil fuels through her work as an Outreach Associate at 3Degrees Inc. Before this, she worked as the Sustainability Ambassador and Materials Research Associate leading the design of a large-scale green infrastructure project hosted by the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning for the Marriott Library.

Eugenia graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a B. S. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, and B. S. in Urban Ecology, where she was dedicated to enriching the lives of her peers on campus by directing and participating in multiple student groups, including the Sustainability Leadership Committee and the Student Collective of Allied Planners and Ecologists. She has volunteered with a variety of urban agriculture and environmental justice nonprofit organizations. Her most recent work focuses on helping to establish Long Beach, CA as one of the California Environmental Justice Alliance’s ‘Green Zone’ cities. After the culmination of her graduate studies, Eugenia looks forward to directing a non-profit organization that focuses on strategic conservation planning and community resilience building through green infrastructure education and implementation.

Eugenia’s thesis research project, entitled Cultivating Social-Ecological Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation through Green Infrastructure in Long Beach CA, focuses on addressing the anticipated local impacts of climate change through ecosystem-based adaptation and community engagement. Densely populated coastal cities, such as Long Beach, will face increased risks due to sea-level rise, larger storm surges, prolonged drought, deteriorating air quality, and an increased number of extreme heat days. Furthermore, Long Beach is home to a wide diversity of socioeconomic groups, and the impacts of climate change are expected to be unevenly distributed, with a disproportionate burden of risks and hazards affecting already disenfranchised populations, and residents and businesses residing in low-lying coastal areas of the city.

Eugenia’s research takes a community-based, solutions-oriented approach to addressing these projected impacts with the intention of enhancing the social-ecological resilience of our communities. In particular, her thesis research examines the ecosystem-based adaptation strategies that green infrastructure offers. Green infrastructure is the development and strategic siting of urban green spaces such as parks, trees, and greenways in conjunction with built systems such as green roofs, permeable pavement, and rain gardens, that together can provide multiple social and ecological benefits including improved human health, stormwater and flooding abatement, air pollution reduction, and reduced urban heat island effect. This research aims to address critical questions at the forefront of environmental geography, land-use planning, and climate adaptation. Eugenia takes an interdisciplinary approach utilizing her background in urban ecology, environmental sustainability, and architectural design to address the local challenges that climate change presents to Long Beach specifically, as little research has been conducted to examine the potential contribution that green infrastructure can offer our city. Through this research, she aims to inform a gap in scholarly knowledge, while simultaneously applying problem-solving skills to tangible, real-world issues. Sensitive to capturing uneven social power relations, cultural understandings of space, and ecological function, Eugenia’s research proposes a mixed methods approach that combines qualitative and quantitative social science methods with geospatial analysis. Eugenia will collaborate with local community organizers and staff from City of Long Beach Department of Planning, to collect and analyze multiple types of data and build relationships with diverse community stakeholders, ensuring that her research is rigorous and her findings are can be applied to assist local communities build social-ecological system resilience.

Eugenia’s research will be conducted under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Lily House-Peters, Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science in the Department of Geography, whose expertise includes social-ecological system resilience, sustainable water resource management, and the human dimensions of environmental change. Over the course of the next year, Dr. House-Peters and Eugenia will collaborate to write peer-reviewed articles, and a ‘white paper’ to offer to the City of Long Beach staff and to leaders of local community organizations to better inform the decision-making process of creating a healthier, more climate-resilient Long Beach.