The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Emeritus Faculty

Bruce Aune | Professor Emeritus

Bruce Aune was educated at UCLA and the University of Minnesota. In 1960 he began his teaching career at Oberlin College but soon was invited to join the new department of philosophy being formed at the University of Pittsburg. In 1966 he left Pitt for UMass, having been recruited by the Dean of Arts and Sciences to develop a highly ranked philosophy department for this university. He began appointing faculty that fall and eleven years later an outside team of distinguished philosophers appointed by the university administration judged the resulting department to be “among the top eight or nine” in the country.” Aune resigned as Head in 1971 to devote himself to full-time teaching and writing. After 35 tears of service at UMass, he retired in 2001 and now occupies himself mainly by reading, writing, landscaping, and gardening.

More about Bruce Aune

Ed Gettier | Professor Emeritus


Fred Feldman | Professor Emeritus

Fred Feldman

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Fred Feldman completed his graduate work in philosophy at Brown University in 1968.  His doctoral dissertation – directed by Roderick Chisholm – was on the concept of identity.  He was a member of the UMass Philosophy Department at from 1969 until his retirement in 2014.  He served as Graduate Program Director for 26 years.

When he started out, Feldman worked in the history of philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology.  But then he began to focus on ethics.  In a series of papers and books, Feldman developed and defended a distinctive form of utilitarianism that involves weighting the values of outcomes for moral desert.  He has also defended a desert adjusted hedonistic theory of individual welfare.  Feldman has written extensively on philosophical problems concerning life and death.  In Confrontations with the Reaper (Oxford, 1992) he defended a version of the “deprivation approach” according to which untimely death harms its victim when it deprives him of what would otherwise have been a good life.

Feldman’s What Is This Thing Called Happiness (Oxford, 2010) concerned the concept of happiness.  He defended a form of hedonism according to which a person’s level of happiness is identified with the net extent to which he takes attitudinal pleasure in things.  

Feldman has recently completed the manuscript of his latest (and probably final) book: A Desertist Theory of Justice.  In this book, Feldman presents and defends his conception of justice as a version of the idea that justice is done when people receive the benefits and burdens that they deserve to receive from their countries.  The book is currently under review.

Among the honors and awards that Feldman has received are the following:

  • Conti Faculty Research Fellowship, University of Massachusetts, for the academic year of 2013-2014.  Supported work on book on justice.
  • UMass Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award for 2013.
  • 2010-2011 University of Massachusetts Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for 2010-11.  Presented talk “What Is This Thing Called Happiness?” on March 1, 2011.  Received Chancellor’s Medal -- “the highest honor given by the University of Massachusetts to individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the campus.”
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 2008.  This fellowship, together with support from UMass, supported work on the manuscript of his book on happiness.

Feldman directed 33 doctoral dissertations during his time at UMass.  Almost all of his students have gone on to successful careers as teachers of philosophy.

Barbara Partee | Distinguished University Professor Emerita

Barbara Partee

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Barbara Partee’s research and teaching interests center on formal semantics and its connections with syntax, pragmatics, and logic, and on related issues in the philosophy of language and in cognitive science. For more information, including online papers, see her personal website.






Robert Sleigh | Professor Emeritus

Robert Sleigh majored in philosophy at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1954. He studied philosophy at Brown University, completing a Ph.D in philosophy in 1963.

He taught at Wayne State University from 1958 through 1969 and at University of Massachusetts, Amherst from 1969 through 2000. His early work concerned epistemic logic—see, for example, ‘Restricted range in epistemic logic’, The Journal of Philosophy, (1972: 67-77.) Most of his career was spent working on the philosophy of Leibniz—see, for example, Leibniz and Arnauld: A commentary on their correspondence (Yale University Press, 1990), and G.W. Leibniz, Confessio Philosophi: Papers concerning the problem of evil, 1671-1678, translated with introduction by Sleigh with contributions from Stam and Look (Yale University Press, 2005).

He remains active in Leibniz scholarship, currently preparing a new translation with commentary of Leibniz’s Theodicy with Sean Greenberg, to be published by Oxford University Press.