Philosophy Ph.D. Student Gets Work Published

By Elizabeth Romero, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Neal TognazziniThe journal, Philosophy and Public Affairs, pertains to the publications of public concern that are reformed through a philosophical dimension of analysis. The publication of the journal was designed to provide a "philosophical examination of these issues [to] contribute to their clarification and to their resolution." One of UC Riverside's own PhD students, Neal Tognazzini, has recently published one of his articles in this highly acclaimed journal for philosophers entitled "The Hybrid Nature of Promissory Obligation."

Neal explains his paper as "a paper I wrote for a seminar I took with UCR Philosophy Professor Gary Watson on philosophical issues about promising. (For instance, how can merely uttering the words, "I promise" create a moral obligation to do what you promised to do?) Over the next couple of years, I drastically revised the paper and submitted it to Philosophy and Public Affairs. Fortunately for me, they decided to accept it. In the paper, I argue that the moral obligations associated with promises arise from two factors working together: (1) the expectations that we create in others when we make promises, and (2) the fact that if you accept promises from others but don't keep your own, then you are taking advantage of the practice of promising without doing your fair share."

Neal became interested in Philosophy nine years ago when he took his very first philosophy class focusing on the philosophy of religion at West Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. After continuous conversations about his philosophy courses with his older sister Debi, she suggested that he major in philosophy. He then moved to Riverside and began to study "free will" and "moral responsibility" with UCR Philosophy professors.

As he plans to receive his PhD in philosophy in 2008, Neal has taught a handful of classes, two at UCR: Introduction to Logic, God, and Formal Logic. He has also been a teaching assistant to UCR's very own professors. Along with his teachings, Neal has been a recipient of honors and awards including the Chancellor's Dissertation-Year Fellowship, Pacific APA Graduate Student Travel Stipend, 2005-2006 Departmental Teaching Excellence, Pacific APA Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Prize, Graduate Student Association Research Award, and Dean's Fellowship.

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