Panel discussion on “Agency, Narrativity, and Oppression” today!

Posted September 26, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Uncategorized

The panel discussion features the work of 3 Puget Sound Philosophy seniors and is part of the Race and Pedagogy National Conference taking place on campus.

“Agency, Narrativity, and Oppression”
Friday 9/26 from 12-1:15pm in McIntyre 203.

Ariela Tubert (Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Puget Sound), chair of the session
Maia Bernick ’15 (Philosophy major and Economics minor)
Austen Harrison ’15 (Philosophy/Political Theory/Classics major)
Si-Won Song ’15 (Philosophy major and Studio Art minor)

What effects does oppression have on a person’s identity and possibility for agency? On the one hand, it would seem that oppression has deep effects on a person’s identity and is ultimately limiting of a person’s agency. On the other hand, such a view may seem to leave the person who is subject to oppression without a possibility for liberation. If the agency of the oppressed is limited, then there seems to be little chance of self-liberation. But if agency under oppression is not limited, it would seem to be up to the oppressed to liberate themselves making it unclear why it seems so difficult and who is responsible for the continuing oppression. In this panel, we investigate the issue of agency and identity under oppression within the conceptual framework provided by the narrative view of personal identity. The narrative view of personal identity holds that a person’s identity is self-constituted by a narrative. We focus on this view because of its potential for both explaining oppression’s deep effect on a person’s identity (oppressive narratives are internalized) and the possibility of liberation through counter-narratives. Education’s liberatory role can also be understood within this framework as one of its roles would be to enable those who are subject to oppression to develop counter-narratives that allow for liberation.

Philosophy Conference on Campus this week!

Posted September 15, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Uncategorized

The Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference is taking place on campus this coming Thursday and Friday 9/18 and 9/19 thanks to the effort of a lot of philosophy students!

The keynote address for the conference “Moments of a Life: Some Similarities Between Life and Literature” will be delivered by Professor Marya Schechtman from the University of Illinois at Chicago at 5:30pm on Friday 9/19 in the Tahoma Room, Commencement Hall.  You can read more about the keynote address and the conference here.

Philosophy students from various other schools will be coming to campus to present their papers and receive commentary from University of Puget Sound students.  The talks will be taking place on Thursday and Friday in Trimble Forum.  You can find the full schedule here.


Call for Papers: PLU Undergraduate Applied Ethics Conference

Posted May 1, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Uncategorized


Pacific Lutheran University
October 17-18, 2014
Submissions due June 15, 2014
Email Submissions and Questions to:

The students of the Philosophy B.A. program at Pacific Lutheran University are excited to host their first annual undergraduate applied ethics conference in the fall. Pacific Lutheran University’s Department of Philosophy has an emphasis in applied ethics, and this conference offers undergraduate philosophy students a unique opportunity to present work in applied ethics to fellow undergraduates.

Paper submissions to the National Undergraduate Applied Ethics Conference can be on any topic in applied ethics. All papers will go through a double-blind peer-review process, ensuring an unbiased review.

Submission Guidelines:
*Submissions may be on any topic in applied ethics
*Papers should be a maximum of 3500 words
*Please submit papers, prepared for blind review, by June 15, 2014, to Please include a cover sheet with the title of your paper, your name, contact information (email and phone), the name of your institution, and a 100 word abstract
*Notification of acceptance or rejection will occur by August 15, 2014

Talk on Philosophy of Language on Tuesday!

Posted April 18, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Announcements, Events on Campus

“A Defense of a Weak Linguistic Relativist Thesis”
A talk by Juan Colomina-Almiñana
Tuesday, April 22nd at 5:30pm in Wyatt 109  

In this public talk, Professor Colomina-Almiñana will discuss the relationship between language, culture, and thought. He argues that some aspects of language mold some aspects of thought and that language could provide new patterns to adequately accomplish certain social interactions.

Juan Colomina-Almiñana is Assistant Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies and an affiliate of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Spain. His research is focused on the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.


Talk today! Transforming Ordinary: Strike Debt Jubilee

Posted April 16, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Announcements, Events on Campus


Transforming Ordinary: Strike Debt Jubilee

a talk by Ali Aslam, Lecturer at Princeton University

5pm, Thompson 193

Is a world without debt possible? How? What would it take? What obstacles must be overcome? This talk will explore these questions and the Strike Debt resistance movement through the lens of recent debates in democratic political theory.



On the value of the philosophy major from the Wall Street Journal…

Posted March 31, 2014 by atubert
Categories: General Interest, Philosophy Major

In “Would you hire Socrates?” Scott Samuelson argues that although studies show that philosophy majors (and students of the liberal arts more generally) do very well in terms of employment and long term earning prospects, the value of such education lies elsewhere.  Here is an excerpt:

Thinking of the value of the humanities predominately in terms of earnings and employment is to miss the point. America should strive to be a society of free people deeply engaged in “the pursuit of happiness,” not simply one of decently compensated and well-behaved employees.

A true liberal-arts education furnishes the mind with great art and ideas, empowers us to think for ourselves and appreciate the world in all its complexity and grandeur. Is there anyone who doesn’t feel a pang of desire for a meaning that goes beyond work and politics, for a meaning that confronts the mysteries of life, love, suffering and death?

I once had a student, a factory worker, who read all of Schopenhauer just to find a few lines that I quoted in class. An ex-con wrote a searing essay for me about the injustice of mandatory minimum sentencing, arguing that it fails miserably to live up to either the retributive or utilitarian standards that he had studied in Introduction to Ethics. I watched a preschool music teacher light up at Plato’s “Republic,” a recovering alcoholic become obsessed by Stoicism, and a wayward vet fall in love with logic (he’s now finishing law school at Berkeley ). A Sudanese refugee asked me, trembling, if we could study arguments concerning religious freedom. Never more has John Locke —or, for that matter, the liberal arts—seemed so vital to me.

I’m glad that students who major in disciplines like philosophy may eventually make as much as or more than a business major. But that’s far from the main reason I think we should invest in the humanities.


Food Symposium and “Hunger Games,” a talk at PLU by philosopher Thomas Pogge

Posted March 28, 2014 by atubert
Categories: Events in Tacoma/Seattle, General Interest

The 2014 Food Symposium will be taking place across town at PLU.  Among the events taking place April 2-5, there is a talk by Yale philosopher Thomas Pogge, entitled “Hunger Games.”  Here is a brief description of the talk:

Since the 1996 World Food Summit, the world has been committed to halving world hunger by 2015. But the specification of this promise has changed from the Summit version to the Millennium Declaration to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These revisions have dramatically diluted the promise, raising the number of hungry people deemed acceptable in 2015 by 55 percent. In a final push, in 2012 (year 22 of the 25-year MDG exercise) the FAO revised its methodology for counting the hungry with the effect of raising the 1990 number of hungry people by 157 million and lowering the 2010 number by 57 million. This switch harmonized the hunger numbers with the World Bank’s rosy poverty trend line and enabled the FAO to proclaim: “The Millennium Development Goal 1 hunger target, halving the proportion of hungry people in developing countries by 2015, is still within reach.” As new development goals are about to be formulated, we must urgently learn the lessons from the expiring ones which have brought mainly cosmetic efforts and cosmetic progress. The very least each of us owes to the world’s undernourished people is an honest recognition of what we are doing to them.




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