Alumni Updates: Nicolas Navarro

Among many other skills, philosophy students are taught to think critically, analyze thoroughly, and approach challenges confidently. This kind of education and training prepares philosophy students for any post-graduate career or endeavor. Alumnus Nicolas Navarro ’16, who studied both psychology and philosophy, shares an update of his post-graduate life:

The misty mornings walking to class through the President’s Woods seem a world away as I, Nicolas Navarro, write this update from Huehuetenango, Guatemala as a current Peace Corps Volunteer. In the short two years separating my days in Guatemala and Tacoma, my philosophy on life has changed considerably. I’ve continued my education by working with different non-profits supporting youth development and entrepreneurship, completed coursework for a master’s degree from the University of Miami, and embarked on some of the greatest adventures of my life. I’ll take a note from John Dewey and say, “education was not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

At UM, the Communities and Social Change master’s program included topics on community psychology, youth development, and the management of community organizations. Complementing my studies in Psychology and Philosophy at UPS, I was prepared to think critically and synthesize large amounts of information. Here in Guatemala, I draw from my formal education career and life experiences to support the Peace Corps’ Youth in Development (YID) program.

Encouraging youth leadership, teaching life skills & healthy decisions, and focusing on building local capacity to support youth, the YID program strives to improve the lives of young people around the world. As a program coordinator, I am most passionate about authentically involving young people in both the creation of programs and decision-making processes that impact them. The psychology and philosophy departments at UPS taught me the importance of supporting dialogue between youth on topics of well-being, philosophy, and education; my master’s program taught me the importance of taking action; now I find myself, practicing what I’ve learned.

With plans to further develop the Youth in Development program framework, submit two research articles in community psychology journals for review, and to explore the epistemology of Quality in my next book, life seems to be moving at full speed. Beyond school and work, I’ve found time to ride my motorcycle cross-country from Tacoma to Miami, hitch-hike the west coast’s Highway-1, and I’ve met incredible people all along the way. My philosophy on life is becoming less and less goal oriented, narrowing in on the importance of the process it takes to tell a story. I am grateful for the privilege to be invited to work in such a beautiful country as Guatemala and grateful for all the hands that have helped me get to where I am.

To read more of my thoughts, check out my blog!

Lecture: “Why Study Philosophy Cross-Culturally and Comparatively? An Applied Case from the Chinese Philosophy of Medicine”

The Department of Philosophy is sponsoring a lecture, “Why Study Philosophy Cross-Culturally and Comparatively? An Applied Case from the Chinese Philosophy of Medicine” by Wenqing Zhao, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Whitman College. Here is an overview of the talk:

Abstract: We live in increasingly multicultural and cosmopolitan worlds where different people abide by different normative regimens. Modern people are called upon to comprehend how others understand the content and contours of a good human life. In this talk, I explore a variety of popular reasons to study culturally-situated philosophies. In particular, I give an applied case of conceptualizing health and wellness in light of the Chinese philosophy of medicine. In this Chinese context, health is not understood as a resource for life or objective of living. It is an integrated way of life centered around the concept of nurturing life (yangsheng 养生).  This Chinese perspective, which has endured and continued to inform the everyday life of Chinese people all around the world, raises important questions for its Western counterpart: Is health best understood as a resource for life fulfillment? Is illness the opposite of health? What is the appropriate healthy state that we should desire? In this case, Chinese philosophy enables us to critically reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of conventional thinking about health and wellness in the West.

Date: February 22, 2018
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Wyatt Hall, Room 109

feb 22 poster

CALL FOR PAPERS: Northwest Student Philosophy Conference (NWSPC)

The students at Western Washington University have announced a call for papers for their Northwest Student Philosophy Conference (NWSPC). Students whose work is accepted to present at a conference can apply for a travel grant from the university. More details about student travel awards are on the university website. Here is information from them about the event:

The Northwest Student Philosophy Conference (NWSPC) is organized by undergraduate students and aims to showcase the philosophical research of undergraduate, graduate, and professional philosophers. This year, our conference takes place on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27. We are pleased to announce that Georgi Gardiner from the St. John’s College, Oxford University, will be delivering the keynote address. All students – undergraduate, masters, graduate – are invited to submit papers. Entrance is fairly competitive as we have only 6-8 open slots for student presentations, but this should not discourage interested applicants. Papers can be on any philosophical topic, preferably no longer than 6,000 words. Submission deadline is March 31.

HOW TO SUBMIT PAPERS:

  1. Prepare the paper for blind review
  2. Provide an abstract (up to 300 words) between the title and main text of the paper
  3. Send an e-copy as an attachment (either as word doc or pdf) toRyan.Wasserman@wwu.edu
  4. In the email to which the paper is attached, provide relevant contact information: Name / Institution / Email / Phone

For additional information regarding the conference, as well as information on WWU, our philosophy club and our philosophy department, please visit: https://orgsync.com/42976/chapter,http://www.wwu.edu/philosophy/, or email our conference organizer at daviss58@students.wwu.edu.

Applications Due Soon: Summer Programs in Philosophy

Various philosophy departments at universities across the United States are offering immersive summer philosophy programs. Visit their websites below for more information about their programs and how to apply.

Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI)
Application Deadline: January 31, 2018
PIKSI Rock Program Dates:  June 27 – July 6, 2018
PIKSI Boston Program Dates: June 19 – June 26, 2018

The Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University (SIPP@Brown)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 8 – July 21, 2018

Summer Program for Women in Philosophy at UCSD
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 31 – August 8, 2018

Pittsburgh Summer Program 2: 
A Summer Program in Philosophy of Science for Underrepresented Groups
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 16 – July 20, 2018

2018 Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy: Paradoxes and Puzzles
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: June 10 – June 29, 2018

Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology
Application Deadline: March 16, 2018
Program Dates: June 11 – June 29, 2018

20th Annual Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy
Application Deadline: May 4, 2018
Program Dates: July 8 – July 15, 2018

Lecture: “Silence and Salience: The Ethics of Being Judgmental”

The Department of Philosophy is sponsoring a lecture, “Silence and Salience: The Ethics of Being Judgmental” by Neal Tognazzini, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University. Here is an overview of the talk:

Abstract: Part of being adult is realizing that just because something is true doesn’t mean you should say it. But here’s a more controversial maxim: just because it’s true doesn’t mean you should think it. This is more controversial because although it’s reasonable to expect someone to have the self-control necessary to refrain from saying every little thing that crosses their mind, it’s unclear whether anyone has control over what crosses their mind in the first place. And yet we do criticize people for being judgmental, and it sure seems that sometimes such a criticism is warranted. In this talk, I plan to explore the way that our involvement in interpersonal relationships ought to structure our thoughts. My thesis will be that to care about someone is to be oriented toward them, or to see them through a particular mental lens, in a way that produces a particular pattern of salience and silence. That is: caring about someone (at least ideally) has the effect of making some features of that person particularly salient, and silencing or screening off other features from one’s consciousness. One is aptly described as judgmental when one’s thoughts do not display this sort of pattern, indicating a failure to fully adopt the orientation that constitutes properly caring about the person.

Date: February 9, 2018
Time: 4 pm
Location: Wyatt Hall, Room 109

Feb 9 poster

“My Friend, the Algorithm” — A summer research project by Jessica Chan Ugalde ’18

Jessica Chan Ugalde ’18, majoring in both Philosophy and Computer Science, spent the summer researching the importance of ethics and philosophy in the world of technology – namely intelligent agents. An article published on the University of Puget Sound website overviews her research:

“It is immoral to limit users’ purview so much that you only see what you want to see,” the philosophy and computer science major says…

“We must establish ethical frameworks to guide the development of “intelligent agents,” she says, referring to the algorithms that bring us Facebook and Web news….

Her solution was revealed in her research paper “My Friend, the Algorithm.” Jessica proposed that intelligent agents—just like friends—should have “free agency” to choose what to show you, and that they should help you attain wisdom. That means showing you what you like, and what you don’t like, or maybe never thought of….

“Technology plays such a huge role, not only in our everyday lives, but in forming our intuitions,” she says. She argues tech companies should take part in philosophical discourse—and that they would benefit from it. Highly ethical firms could attract the best workers, and thoughtful debate would hone the critical thinking skills needed in their collaborative industry….

Jessica’s own goal is to write, and to shine a light on contentious ethical issues. Should she succeed, the computing world may get no peace until it finds the algorithm that is, indeed, our friend.

During her research, Jessica was supervised by Sara Protasi from the Department of Philosophy and David Chui from the Department of Computer Science.

CALL FOR PAPERS – Sound Decisions: An Undergraduate Bioethics Journal

Sound Decisions: An Undergraduate Bioethics Journal is now taking submissions for peer review and subsequent publication for their Winter volume. Here are their guidelines for submissions:

All papers submitted should be 8-10 pages in length, and have been edited prior to submission to ensure quality work. Students can submit their final papers, which are typically cumulative of a student’s knowledge from taking a course in bioethics. Topics are at the discretion of the student, but some former publications have been on the topic of the ethics of euthanasia, moral considerations of animal testing, animal agriculture, feminist approaches to abortion, rethinking eugenics in genetic engineering, and more.

To submit an article, visit: http://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/sounddecisions/ , make an author account, and follow the instructions to complete the submission process.  If you have any questions about what to submit or the submission process, feel free to email the editors: cokeefe@pugetsound.edu and gpgarcia@pugetsound.edu

We look forward to editing and publishing your papers and widening the bioethics community with your participation!

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