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Contact Information

Academic School

School of Liberal Arts


Fontaine 212



(845) 575-5095

Cathleen Muller

Teaching Associate in Philosophy


I was born and raised in upstate NY, went to Swarthmore for a degree in English Literature, then to Tufts for my MA in Philosophy and The Ohio State University for my Ph.D. in Philosophy. My academic interests are wide-ranging, from the metaphysics of fictional characters, to issues of race and gender, to philosophy of the family. At the moment, I am particularly interested in how we construct our identities using narrative. When not engaged in academic work, I spend time with my family and enjoy reading, writing sonnets, running, playing piano and accordion, and walking on stilts in local parades. 


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.

Selected Publications

with Camelia Moczydlowski, “The Objective Value of Appreciating Beauty and Living Morally: Reply to Hooker,” Journal of Practical Ethics: April 2, 2019.

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.

Selected Presentations

Comments on Ezra Rubenstein, “Generalism Without Dependence,” American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Conference, Zoom, January 15, 2021.

“How to Have Fun in Your Online/Hybrid Course,” Keynote Panel on Pandemic Pedagogy, American Association of Philosophy Teachers Conference, Zoom, July 22, 2020.

Comments on Joanna Lawson “Identity and Society: What Makes You Who You Are,” American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Conference, New York, January 10, 2020.

"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.