School of Liberal Arts
Dr. Cathleen Muller
Teaching Associate in Philosophy
I grew up in Hamilton, New York, majored in English Literature at Swarthmore College, earned my Masters in Philosophy at Tufts University and my PhD at The Ohio State University. My research concerns the metaphysics of fictional characters. I currently live in a small town in the Hudson Valley with my husband, our children, and our two cats. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, reading novels, running, and riding my bike on the rail trail. I also write sonnets, create and perform hand puppet shows, play accordion, and walk on stilts in local parades and festivals.
PhD, Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2012|
MA, Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2007
MA, Philosophy, Tufts University, 2004
BA, English Literature, Swarthmore College, 2000
Research Interests/ Areas of Focus
Areas of Specialization: Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Aesthetics
Areas of Interest: Logic, Feminist Philosophy, Ethics
My research concerns the metaphysics of fictional objects such as characters, particularly the realist/anti-realist debate. While I have defended for a "brute fact" view of character identity as the best line of argument for the realist about fictional objects, I personally favor anti-realism, in particular a version of Kendall Walton's pretense theory. I am also interested in contemporary work on race and gender, which led me to create the Race and Gender Reading Group at Marist. My latest research project has combined these two interests into a focus on how we should understand race- and gender-bending in fiction.
with David Sanson and Ben Caplan, "Counting Again," Grazer Philosophische Studien, 94, nos. 1-2 (2017): 69-82
"Journaling and Pre-Theoretical Discussion as Inclusive Pedagogy," AAPT Studies in Pedagogy, Volume 3: Inclusive Pedagogies (2017): 72-86.
With Ben Caplan, "Brutal Identity," Fictional Objects, ed. Anthony Everett and Stuart Brock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 174-207.
"Exercises in Empathy: Commentary on Barnbaum," Philosophy through Teaching, ed. Emily Esch, Kevin Hermberg, and Rory E. Kraft, Jr. (Charlottesville, VA: Philosophy Documentation Center, 2014), 65-69.
With Ben Caplan, "Against a Defense of Fictional Realism," The Philosophical Quarterly 64, no. 255 (April 2014): 211-224.
"Grounding Fictional Objects," Canadian Philosophical Association Annual Congress, Montreal, Quebec, June 2018.
"Gender- and Race-Bending: Does the Character Survive?", Workshop on the Metaphysics of Art and Music, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, February 2017.
"Cast of Characters: The Temptation of Realism about Characters in Theater," American Society for Aesthetics, Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, November 2016.
"Gender- and Race-Bending: Does the Character Survive?," Bard Philosophy Club’s "Women in Philosophy" series, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, October 2016.
with Sasha Shivers, "Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking," School of Liberal Arts Pedagogy Forum, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, October 2016.
Comments on Michel-Antoine Xhignesse, "Titles Unnamed,” American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern Division, Philadelphia, PA, March 2014.
"'I'm a Real Boy!': Predication and Fictional Characters," American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Chicago, IL, February 2014.
with Henry Pratt, "The Case of the Disappearing Epaulets: An Account of Continuity Errors," American Society for Aesthetics, Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, October 2013.
"The Relation of Puppet to Character in the Work of Bread and Puppet Theater," Fifty Years Bread & Puppet: Cheap Art and Political Theater, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, September 2013.
Comments on Ira Newman, "Blue Tigers and Black Holes: Imagining Logical Impossibility in Borges' Fictional World," American Society for Aesthetics, Eastern Division, Philadelphia, PA, April 2012.
"Harry Potter and the Rescue from Realism: A Novel Defense of Anti-Realism about Fictional Characters," Faculty Research Forum, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, April 2012.
Comments on Esa Diaz-Leon, "What is Social Construction?," Society for Analytic Feminism Group Session, American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Minneapolis, MN, March 2011.
"A Feminist Argument against Free Choice," Women and Society Conference, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, October 2009.
“Reply to Everett’s ‘Against Fictional Realism,’” American Society for Aesthetics, Pacific Division, Pacific Grove, CA, April 2009.