Nicole Wyatt

Currently the Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary, Nicole joined the department in 2000 after completing her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, N.Z. She became Head in January of 2013.

She has no cats and no dogs. She has a husband and a daughter, at least she did last time she checked. Her next most significant relationship is with her bicycle.

She likes her coffee black, her eggs in omelet form, and her friends angry and bitter.

Nicole @ PhilPapers Nicole @ UCalgary

*Heather Scott of Sarnia, Ont (1972)

Research etc.

My main academic interests are in philosophy of language and logic. However I am somewhat prone to dilettantism, and dabble from time to time in medieval philosophy and philosophy of sex and love. This is academic code for I write about whatever interests me when I get up in the morning, and only rarely things that don’t. Tenure makes this less foolhardy than it used to be. Aspiring academics should not do as I do.

A list of publications can be found at PhilPapers.

Other disciplinary things


Logical Particularism

Joint work with Gillman Payette.

On the orthodox view of logic, logics are to be understood as systems with universal application.  Let us call this orthodox view `logical generalism’. Even logical pluralists, who allow that there are multiple correct logics, are generalists, in that they maintain either that multiple logics are correct come what may, or that each logic is correct within its context of applicability. In contrast the view that we wish to defend is one on which logics can and do explain the validity of particular arguments without being correct, either universally or within a context.


“The free speech of men silences the free speech of women. It is the same social goal, just other people.” – Catherine MacKinnon

There is a small but growing literature, starting with the work of Rae Langton and Jennifer Hornsby in the late 1990’s, that attempts to defend MacKinnon from charges of incoherence by means of the work of J.L. Austin. My view is that this literature largely misreads Austin – admittedly in a way that many people misread Austin – and as a result misses some of the most interesting connections between the two. I also maintain that the role of convention (in Ruth Millikan‘s sense) in silencing is generally under appreciated.

Having sex

Joint work with Mark Migotti.

“When I first started having sex with other people,” writes Greta Christina, “I used to like to count them”. But who counts when you are counting? As Christina shows us, it turns out to be remarkably hard to tell once one gives up a heteronormative focus. Marilyn Frye goes as far as to suggest, in her “Lesbian ‘sex'” that the concept of having sex is irrevocably tied to the male orgasm. The view we are developing approaches sex as a species of collective action rather than as a privileged subset of sexual activities.

Teaching and Supervision

I regularly teach courses on computability and undecidability, speech act theory, the semantics/pragmatics distinction, pornography and silencing, and Aquinas. I have occasionally taught a somewhat idiosyncratic course on Descartes. I also teach survey courses on medieval philosophy, 20th century analytic philosophy, philosophy of logic, and philosophy of language. At the introductory level I teach our Sex, Love, and Death course.

In the 2017-18 academic year I’ll be teaching Logic II (Computability and Undecidability) in the Fall term and a third year class on Race and Gender in the Winter term.

You can find a backlist of courses taught at the University of Calgary on my Department Profile page.

Honours thesis supervision
  • Samara Burns, Permutation Invariance. 2015.
  • Boaz Schuman. Devil Take the Hindmost:
Cognition and Angelic Hierarchy in the de Angelis of Franciscus de Mayronis (c.1280-1327). 2013.
  • Emelia Baack. Thick as Thieves: an investigation of true friendship. 2010
  • Julia Zochodne. What do we do with a logic that is formal? 2009
  • Charles H. Kline III. My Apologies (I’m sorry you have to read this thesis). 2009
  • Adil Kurji. An Investigation into a Derogatory Utterance: or, this thesis is so gay. 2009
  • Mike Jordan. God, Care, and the Argument from Religious Experience. 2005
Graduate student supervision
  • James R. Scott. Figure and Ground: Considerations on the Natures and Logics of Time. MA 2010
  • R. Jonathan Chapman. Semantic and Pragmatic Elements in the Process of Understanding, A Non-Linear Approach. MA 2002

The Blog