Professor John M. Fischer Receives 2010 Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentor Award

By Loreé Iverson, Student Intern CHASS College Computing
June 4, 2010

John M. Fischer, Distinguished Professor, University of California President's Chair, and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, has received the 2010 Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentor Award. The award was instituted by the Graduate Council and Graduate Division for the purpose of recognizing UCR faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the training of advanced graduate students. Professor Fischer stood out amidst a pool of many other exceptional nominees this year.

In the words of Professor Fischer: “I feel very grateful to receive this award.  It means a lot to me, and I am especially thankful to my students, who took so much time to write letters for me. It means a great deal to me.”

In response to a question regarding his role as a doctoral dissertation advisor, Professor Fischer responded as such: “I enjoy helping students to develop their own ideas and projects maximally. I don't try to impose my own ideas. Rather, I really take it as a challenge to help students get as far as possible in their own arguments, even when they are diametrically opposed to mine. When I see a student prosecute an original, challenging, beautiful argument, I love this--even when it seeks to refute my own views.”

Professor Fischer has directed fourteen dissertations and has served on fourteen other dissertation committees while at UCR. His success in mentoring students is reflected in his placement record which boasts an array of former students who now hold faculty positions at West Virginia University, The College of William & Mary, Pepperdine University, the University of Arkansas, Loyola Marymount University, UC Davis, the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and Santa Clara University.

Professor Fischer’s current interests include the topics of “free will, moral responsibility, and issues pertaining to the meaning of life and the nature of death.” He is also finishing the third in a trilogy of collections of his papers to be published by Oxford University Press: “Deep Control: Essays on Free Will and Values.”

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