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Assistant Professor

Dr. LEE, Siu Fan


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  • PhD in Philosophy, King's College London
  • MA, BA (Hon) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford
  • MPhil in Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • BSSc in Sociology (minor: Philosophy), Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University, since 2011
  • Lecturer, University of Southampton, 2011
  • Lecturer, University of Hull, 2010-2011
  • Teaching Fellow, University of Exeter, 2009-2010
  • Associate Lecturer, Open University, 2009-2011
  • Teaching Tutor, King's College London, 2006-2011
  • Tutor, Heythrop College, 2006-2011
  • Assistant Teaching Fellow, Lingnan University, 2002-2003
  • Demonstrator, City University of Hong Kong, 1995-2000
  • Tutor, Open University of Hong Kong, 1995-1996
Courses Taught
At the HKBU:
  • Social Justice (MA)
  • Critical Thinking for Public Affairs (MA)
  • Problems of Philosophy
  • Philosophy, Meaning and Knowledge
  • History of Western Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Marx
  • Social Justice, Liberalism and Economic Equality
  • Whose Justice? And For Whom?
  • Critical Thinking
  • Philosophy of Life in the Postmodern Age
  • Philosophy of Life in Laozi and Zhuangzi
  • Nature and Human Beings in Chinese and Western Cultures
At other universities:
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
  • Philosophical Texts: Descartes’ Meditations and Mill’s On Liberty
  • Mind, Brain and Behaviour
  • Philosophy of Mind: Language and Thought
  • Reason, Logic and Argument
  • Philosophy and Human Situation
  • Introduction to Philosophy of Science and Social Sciences
  • Understanding Knowledge
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
Research Interests
Areas of specialisation:
  • Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic, Philosophy of Mind
Specific interests:
  • Theories of names and empty names
  • Theories of reference
  • Two-dimensional semantics
  • Modality: metaphysical and epistemic possibilities
  • Intentionality and mental representations
  • Contextualism versus invariantism

Dissertation title: Names and Empty Names
Supervisors: Prof Mark Textor, Prof Mark Sainsbury, Dr Keith Hossack
Examiners: Prof Dorothy Edgington, Prof Manuel Garcia-Carpintero

This dissertation critically surveys philosophical works on proper names from Mill, Frege, Russell to contemporary contributions such as Kripke and Sainsbury, with special emphasis on whether the various theories give a satisfactory account of empty names. It proposes a Counterfactual Reference Theory of names for further development, which was commented as ‘novel and ingenious’, ‘ambitious’ and ‘certainly worth developing’.

Research Grants/Awards/Professional Service

External grants:

  • ‘How Proper Names Refer: Is Causal Descriptivism Defensible?’ General Research Fund, Research Grants Council Hong Kong, 3 years, 2018-2020.
  • ‘Meaning and Modality: A Foundational Study towards a New Theory of Empty Names’, Early Career Scheme, General Research Fund, Research Grants Council Hong Kong, 2.5 years, 2015-2017.

Internal grants:

  • ‘Fiction and Impossible World’, Faculty Research Grant Category I, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2017-2018.
  • ‘Two-Dimensionalism and Epistemic Possibility’, Faculty Research Grant Category I, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2013-2015.
  • ‘Meaning and Mind’, Faculty Research Grant Category II, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2012-2016.

Awards/Professional services:

  • Editor-In-Chief, the GSTF Journal of General Philosophy, since 2015.
  • Referee, Praxis, a journal edited at the University of Manchester, 2007-2011
  • Partnership Visit Grant, Monash University and the University of Hong Kong, 2009
  • Norman Malcolm Fellowship, Cornell University, 2005

Professional membership:

  • Aristotelian Society, since 2008
  • American Philosophical Association, since 2005
  • Chinese Association of Logic, since 2012
  • Philosophy of Names and Empty Names. In the series of Studies in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, series editor: Piotr Stalmaszczyk. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 200 pages, forthcoming.
  • Logic: A Complete Introduction. London: Hodder Education, January 2017, 384 pages. (ISBN: 9781473608436 or eISBN: 9781473608443)

Book chapters:

  • ‘Can There Be a Davidsonian Theory of Empty Names?’ in Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations into Proper Names, eds. Piotr Stalmaszczyk & Luis Fernández Moreno, Frankfurt: Peter Lang, February 2016, pp. 203-226. (ISBN: 978-3-631-66265-6)
  • ‘Who Wants To Be a Russellian About Names?’ in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics: The Legacy of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, ed. Piotr Stalmaszczyk, Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, March 2014, pp. 161-180. (ISBN: 978-3-11-034275-8)

Journal articles:

  • ‘Two Approaches to Empty Names: An Analysis of Scientific Theoretical Terms’, Studies in Dialectics of Nature, forthcoming.
  • ‘Two Senses of Critical Thinking Teaching: Some Reflections and Experience’, Studies in Logic, December 2014, Vol. 7 (4): 105-116. (ISSN: 1674-3202)
  • ‘Fregean Free Logic’, Philosophical Researches, December 2009, pp.123-129. (ISSN: 1000-0216)

Postgraduate Supervision

I am willing to supervise research students in areas of philosophy of language, philosophical logic, philosophy of mind, social and political philosophy. Projects I have supervised include the following.

PhD supervision:
- Co-supervisor, ‘Rawls’s Kantian Constructivism and Kant’s Political Philosophy’, since July 2015.
- Co-supervisor, ‘Viewing Persons as Ends in Themselves and Not Merely as the Means of Production: Kant and Marx on Human Nature’, since September 2013.

MPhil supervision:
- Principal supervisor, ‘In Defence of Fictional Creationism’, since October 2014.

MA dissertations:
- ‘The Right to Privacy versus the Right to Know: Ethical Dilemmas in Hong Kong’, 2017-18.
- ‘The Ethical Status of Robots: Confucian and Non-Anthropocentric Perspectives’, 2017-18.
- ‘A Feminist Critique of Family and Marriage in China’, 2017-18.

Invited Talk
'A Counterfactual Reference Theory of Empty Names'
  • University of Tokyo, International Meeting of Hongo Metaphysics Club, 14 February 2011
  • University of Hull, Philosophy Research Seminar, 14 December 2010
  • National Yang Ming University, Taiwan, 6 November 2009
  • National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan, 3 November 2009
  • Monash University, Staff Seminar, 6 March 2009
  • Lingnan University, Department Seminar, 23 February 2009
  • University of Hong Kong, Philosophy Seminar, 19 February 2009
Conference Presentation
  • ‘Counterfactual Reference’, Philosophy of Language (I) Conference: Semantics of Fictional Discourse, Institute of Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, 20-21 October 2016.
  • ‘The Semantics of Empty Names’, Joint Session, organised by Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, Cardiff University, UK, 8-10 July 2016.
  • ‘The Mozi and Some Western Approaches to Perpetual Peace’, International Conference on Waging Peace and Restraining War, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, 22-23 Aug 2013.
  • ‘Two Senses of Critical Thinking Teaching’, The 2013 Cross Strait Conference on Logical and Critical Thinking Teaching, organized by the Institute of Logic and Cognition of Sun Yat-Sen University and the Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities, held at Tong Liao, Inner Mongolia, China, 10-12 August 2013.
  • ‘Who Wants to Be a Russellian About Names?’, The Third International Conference on Philosophy of Language and Linguistics (PhiLang 2013), University of Lodz, Poland, 9-11 May 2013.
  • ‘Causal Theories of Names’, International Conference on Kripke, Logic, Philosophy, Peking University, China, 2-4 September 2012.
  • ‘On Causal Theories of Names’, Mini-Conference on Michael Devitt, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 3 May 2012.
  • ‘Truth Condition and Empty Names’, Taiwan Logic and Analytic Philosophy Inaugural Conference, National Taiwan University, 31 October -1 November 2009.
  • ‘A Counterfactual Reference Theory’, Joint Session 2009, the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, University of East Anglia, 10-12 July 2009.
  • ‘Fregean Free Logic’, the 4th Cross Strait Conference on Logic Education and Research, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Baptist University of Hong Kong, 24-25 June 2009.
  • ‘A Counterfactual Reference Theory of Fictional Discourse’, SIFA 2008, the 8th National Conference of the Italian Society for Analytic Philosophy: Ontology, Mind, and Language, University of Bergamo, 25-27 September 2008.
  • ‘Empty Names and Free Logic’, Joint Session 2008, organised by the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, University of Aberdeen, 11-13 July 2008.
  • ‘Supervaluation and Fregean Free Logic’, Open Minds Conference 2008, University of Manchester, 9-10 June 2008.
Community Service

Outside the academia, Siu-Fan was an art administrator, filmmaker, oral historian and an active participant in community and diversity matters. She directed and produced an 87-minute documentary, 'Whispers of Time', on Chinese immigrants in Britain. The film was a finalist of the Pearl Award for Media Excellence in 2005 and 2006. She curated an exhibition on China at the Royal Geographical Society in the UK in 2008. She was also a member of the User Advisory Committee, the National Archives, and a secretary of the Workforce Diversity Workgroup of the cultural sector in the UK.

She is interested in developing philosophy education for the young and promoting diversity and equality in Hong Kong.

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