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Garavaso Receives Faculty Distinguished Research Award

A portrait of a smiling woman in a library
Author: 
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
March 31, 2017
“Pieranna Garavaso has sustained an international reputation in her research area for many decades. Her innovative and groundbreaking work in analytic feminism combined with her challenge to orthodox thinking in the philosophy of mathematics and her ability to uniquely connect the two areas, set her apart from her peers.”—Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean Bart Finzel

Pieranna Garavaso, professor of philosophy, has received the University of Minnesota, Morris Faculty Distinguished Research Award. Established in 2000, the award recognizes sustained research/artistic productivity of a Morris faculty member over the course of a career.

Garavaso has enjoyed a long and distinguished career, producing a massive body of work that has earned her the admiration and respect of colleagues all over the world. As early as 1973 she published an essay about Ludwig Wittgenstein in the journal Logos, and in 2015 she co-authored a monograph about Gottlob Frege. In between those years she authored or co-authored three books; 40 articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings; two electronic publications; 14 entries in a philosophical dictionary; and nine book reviews. She also collaborated on 18 translations into English of the life stories of Italian women artists.

"Pieranna Garavaso has sustained an international reputation in her research area for many decades," says Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean Bart Finzel. "Her innovative and groundbreaking work in analytic feminism combined with her challenge to orthodox thinking in the philosophy of mathematics and her ability to uniquely connect the two areas, set her apart from her peers."

According to Garavaso, the two areas are not so dissimilar. "In philosophy of mathematics, the orthodox view is that truths such as '2+2=4' are mind-independent, i.e., they would exist even without human consciousness," she says. "I find this implausible as mathematical objectivity is the outcome of human practices, and hence mind-dependent. In analytic feminism, we discuss systems of social discrimination. Here too, the socially constructed notions of 'woman' and gender are mind-dependent, and we can claim objectivity without appealing to essentialist truths about identities."

Garavaso believes scholarly inquiry is inextricably linked to the campus mission. She maintains that her research activities and those of her peers do everything from encourage faculty achievement to enhance student learning and success after graduation.

"Research is what keeps us in touch with our fields and rejuvenates our teaching," she says. "Research, reading, writing keeps us humble; this is what has helped me to keep working for my students. By modeling how we as scholars have to keep learning, expand in new areas, bring back new information from other disciplines into our own, we show our students what integrated knowledge actually looks like and how it is fostered."

Garavaso is the eighteenth Morris faculty member to receive the Faculty Distinguished Research Award. To learn more, visit morris.umn.edu/services/acad_affairs/index.shtml.