Two talks this week by distinguished philosopher Scott Soames

Both talks are by Scott Soames, distinguished professor, director of School of Philosophy, University of Southern California.

Don’t miss them! Here is the info on the first talk:

“Language, Meaning, and Information: A Case Study on the Path From Philosophy to Science”

Thursday, September 27, 2012 @ 7:30pm — Kilworth Memorial Chapel

Philosophy, practiced since the beginning of time, led to the emergence of more “hands-on” sciences such as physics and economics. Could it be that the study of language today is experiencing similar growth of new knowledge and new applications that stem from philosophy?

Scott Soames will discuss this question, looking at developments in deductive logic, in the theory of computation, in generative linguistics, and most recently in the semantics of names and natural kind terms—all of which were initiated by philosophers. He will examine how these inquiries have led to the experimentation, empirical research, and systematic theorizing that is characteristic of the sciences.

Soames’ own work, beginning with his graduate training with renowned scholar and author Noam Chomsky, has been at the center of recent developments. Such studies have born practical fruit, most obviously in the capacity of computers to communicate in English and other human languages, but also in teaching second languages, in preserving heritage languages, in organizing vast stores of electronic information, in Google searches, and in the sort of data mining that discovers threats to national security in a mass of text messages.

And here is the info on the second talk:

“Language, Thought, and Information”

Friday, September 28, @3:30pm in Wyatt 109

Film ‘Apocalypse Now’ on Tues 9/25

The Philosophy and Political Theory Film Series theme for 2012-2013 is “Apocalypse and Dystopia”. Please join us for the first film in the series:





Philosophy Blog Call for Articles

Hello Everyone!

The Puget Sound Philosophy Blog is doing a call for articles.  If you are a Puget Sound student or alumni with interests in philosophy, we want we want your work!

Here are a few guidelines:

Roughly 300-500 words

  • Choose a topic that fits closely with the following suggestions:
    • An article about a philosopher or philosophical topic
    • An article about philosophical themes in films
    • A book review of a contemporary philosophical text
    • If you have an idea, but are not sure if it fits, email with a brief description of your intended topic.

Once submitted, your articles will be reviewed by students and then posted on the blog. This is a great opportunity to hone your writing skills, and explore the wonderful world of philosophy. We look forward to reading your pieces!

PS: If you are interested in becoming an editor for the blog posts, or helping out with a senior interview project for spring semester, please also email for more information.

Huffington Post: On the Value of Philosophy for Entrepreneurship

Another recent article on the practical value of studying philosophy (for some earlier similar ones, see here, here, here, here, and here.)  This article, like some of the earlier ones, points out that the value of studying philosophy lies not only in the particular facts or theories one learns about.  The skills that are developed in the process can be useful in many pursuits that are unrelated to the material being studied.

Here is a brief excerpt (read the rest of the article for a list of skills she finds are developed by the study of philosophy and useful for entrepreneurship):

…While working with a team this past year to develop an entrepreneurial education program, I met with dozens of entrepreneurs from around the world, listened to their stories, and looked for patterns in their experience. Even in skill-specific fields such as technology, many successful entrepreneurs studied — and were downright passionate about — philosophy. Curious, I decided ask these philosophy grads how their major had contributed to their success and found that many of their answers were, in fact, similar.

Few said that they were likely to reference Foucault in a meeting or zip home in a hurry to consult their much-highlighted copy of Husserl’s Logical Investigations before making a business decision. They found, however, that the ways of thinking, making connections, and approaching problems developed through the rigorous study of philosophy maintained their relevance and value long after graduation. While having a background in philosophy may not be enough to start and manage a successful business, philosophy grads do bring a unique set of skills to new businesses….

Call for papers: Arete, The Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Rutgers University

Arete, The Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Rutgers University, is now accepting paper submissions for publication in its Spring 2013 issue. On the order of 3 papers will be published, digitally and in print (limited run).

Traditionally only work from college upperclassmen is encouraged. Analytic rigor is prerequisite for publication. Papers from any field of philosophy are welcome.

Submissions should not exceed 8,000 words, with a cover page, abstract, and citations in APA format. Do not include information in the text of your paper that identifies the author or the institution you attend. Submit papers by attachment, (from an email address we can use to correspond with you) in Word document or PDF format, to by October 15th, 2012.

The authors of papers accepted for publication will be notified in December.

Call for Papers: New Undergraduate Journal, The Ethical Biologist

Call for Submissions: The Ethical Biologist

Although ‘bioethics’ is often used to describe the application of ethical and moral theories to biological sciences and technology, in its broadest sense, the term ‘bioethics’ refers to the study of the ethics of life.  This interdisciplinary field promises to become increasingly important to all people as technology and science becomes increasingly prevalent in daily life.  The Ethical Biologist is a new peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal based at the University of Connecticut that seeks to highlight new ideas in bioethics.

We are currently accepting submissions for our inaugural issue, to be published in the spring of 2013.  We encourage the submission of pieces that address current issues in bioethics, or that consider the behavioral, biological, environmental, political, legal, or socioeconomic factors that influence bioethical issues.

The journal is completely student-run and student refereed.

Until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on December 16, 2012, we will be accepting:

●      Original Academic Research Papers (2500-3500 words) – Pieces that address a specific area of bioethical study
●      Perspectives (1200 word maximum) – Opinion pieces that analyze a recent development in bioethics
●      Field notes (2000 word maximum) – Journal-style pieces based on relevant personal experience and written with a more personal voice

Please turn in all submissions to by December 16, 2012. If you have any questions, please contact us directly.  Our website, which is currently undergoing maintenance, will be available for more information beginning in October.  Visit us at