Call for papers: PHILOMATHIA – University of Utah’s Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy

CALL FOR UNDERGRADUATE PAPERS PHILOMATHIA – University of Utah’s Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy is now accepting submissions for the spring 2010 issue. Papers of 7,000 words or less in any area of philosophy are welcome.

SUBMIT BY: December 11, 2009 For more details, including a pdf of submission requirements, click here.

Philosophy Movie Night: Wittgenstein

The Philosophy Department is going to show another movie next week.  Here’s the relevant information…

Movie: Wittgenstein

When: Tuesday, November 17th, at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Wyatt 109

Info: The movie is a kind of “filmed play” about the life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, and someone who lived a pretty fascinating life.  It was directed by Derek Jarman and written by Terry Eagleton.

Discussion: Immediately afterward.

Here’s an article on Wittgenstein (written by the philosopher Daniel Dennett) for Time Magazine’s list of the 100 great thinkers of the 20th century…

And here’s a clip from the Wittgenstein movie, just to give you a sense for what you’re in for…

Call for Papers: 7th Annual Intermountain West Student Philosophy Conference

7th Annual Intermountain West Student Philosophy Conference; To take place at the University of Utah; Featuring Darrel Moellendorf of San Diego State University as Keynote Speaker ——

Call For Papers: IWSPC 2010 –  March 11-13, 2010

Paper Submissions Due: Jan 10th 2010.  Papers can be on any philosophical topic.  Requirements (in your email to IWSPC):

[1] Word count (3,000 word limit);
[2] Presentation title;
[3] Abstract of no more than 100 words;
[4] Author’s name;
[5] Academic status (Graduate or undergraduate student);
[6] Areas of philosophical interest;
[7] Academic Affiliation (College or University name and Dept.);
[8] Email address;
[9] Telephone number;
[10] Attached paper must be in .doc format and be prepared for blind review; and
[11] Mailing address.

Send submissions and/or questions to IWSPC2010 -at-

Call for Papers: 3rd Annual Appalachian Regional Student Philosophy Colloquium


The Philosophy Department and the Philosophy Club at East Tennessee State University present 3rd Annual Appalachian Regional Student Philosophy Colloquium East Tennessee State University

Date: March 26 – 27, 2010

Keynote speaker: Dr. David Hilbert of University of Illinois at Chicago; philosopher of mind, perception and color

Papers are now being accepted for both undergraduate and graduate presentations. All papers will be evaluated by blind review process. At the conference, the Keynote speaker will choose the best presentation from the undergraduate and graduate categories, awarding a $50 prize for each. A limited number of hotel accommodations may be available at a discounted price.

Papers on any philosophical topic are welcome. Papers should be approximately 10 pages, or 20 minutes presentation time. The papers should not contain any identifying information, as they will be evaluated by blind review. Abstracts should be one paragraph, approximately 150 words, double spaced, and should be attached to the paper. The abstracts should not contain any identifying information. Cover Sheets should be on a separate sheet, and should contain the author’s name, the title of the paper, institutional affiliation, address, phone number, and e-mail address.

The deadline for papers submitted electronically is February 19th, 2010. Papers submitted as hard copy must be postmarked by February 15th, 2010. Notification of acceptance will occur by February 26th, 2010.

Please send submissions to, or request further information from:

Is it better to be a Socrates disatisfied or a satisfied Homer Simpson?

In another of the New York Times editorials on “Happy Days,” Paul Bloom (Yale Psychology Professor and author of Descartes Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human) ponders on the famous passage from Chapter 2 of Mill’s Utilitarianism: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be a Socrates disatisfied than a fool satisfied.”  The article starts as follows:

Is it better to be a happy pig or sad Socrates? How should one choose between happiness and other values, such as wisdom, morality, and piety? You have an angel on one shoulder, the devil on the other — who do you listen to?

One of the insights of modern happiness research is that these are questions we often don’t have to answer. While happiness can clash with other ideals, the surprising finding is how often they go together. One usually doesn’t have to decide, for instance, whether to be happy or to be good. We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life, a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community. You can be happy Socrates.

But what about short-term pleasures, like eating cake, drinking beer, or having sex? Here there is often a clash. These feel good, but if your long-term goals have to do with dieting, sobriety or chastity, you might regret them later. So there is a different dilemma: Do you live a good and happy life or do you satisfy your immediate appetites? Is it better to be Happy Socrates or Happy Homer Simpson? …

Read the rest of it here.

Kierkegaard on Happy Days

The New York Times has a series of opinion pieces on “Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times.”  One of the latest ones is on Kierkegaard and the different ways one can fail to have happy days.  Here is an excerpt:

All progress paves over some bit of knowledge or washes away some valuable practice. Within a few years, e-mail and Twitter moved the art of letter writing to the trash bin. And in an age when all psychic life is being understood in terms of neurotransmitters, the art of introspection has become passé. Galileos of the inner world, such as Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), have been packed off to the museum of antiquated ideas. Yet I think that the great and highly quirky Dane could help us to retrieve a distinction that has been effaced.

These days, confide to someone that you are in despair and he or she will likely suggest that you seek out professional help for your depression. While despair used to be classified as one of the seven deadly sins, it has now been medicalized and folded into the concept of clinical depression. If Kierkegaard were on Facebook or could post a You Tube video, he would certainly complain that we, who have listened to Prozac, have become deaf to the ancient distinction between psychological and spiritual disorders, between depression and despair. …

You can read the rest here.