Join the GQS & Philosophy Summer Book Club

This summer, the Gender & Queer Studies and Philosophy Book Club will be meeting to discuss Prof. Kate Manne’s work Down Girl. These meetings are open to all and lunch will be provided at every meeting. Contact for more information.

Kate Manne is an assistant professor of the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She will be guest lecturing from September 18-19, 2019 as part of the Brown and Haley lecture series.

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CFA: 2019 Ethics and Broader Considerations of Technology Conference (University of Nebraska–Lincoln)

University of Nebraska–Lincoln have sent out a call for abstracts for their 2019 Ethics and Broader Considerations of Technology Conference. Submissions should be on topics of ethics and technology. This conference is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Prof. Tubert will be a featured speaker at this conference.

Submission Deadline: June 15, 2019
Conference Dates: October 31–November 2, 2019

Students are also invited to create a game about ethics and technology for the The Ethics and Technology Game Jam.

For more information about submission requirements, featured speakers, or other conference inquiries, visit the conference website.

2019 Fall Ethics and Technology conference

UPS Ethics Bowl Team Competes in First Ever Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW)

The Puget Sound Ethics Bowl team competed in the first ever Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) on April 14, 2019. The University of Puget Sound and the the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS) teams debated questions such as: Should we bring back species that have been driven to extinction? Are laws allowing terminally ill children to choose euthanasia morally defensible? Is China’s social credit system, which assigns a social credit score based on behavior, morally justified? Do wealthy nations owe a climate debt obligation toward less-wealthy nations? 

FEPPS describes their mission as being:

A rigorous college program for incarcerated women, trans-identified and gender nonconforming people in Washington and creates pathways to higher education after students are released from prison. Our goals are to increase FEPPS students’ economic and personal empowerment, contribute to family stability and reduce recidivism through college education.

The event was sponsored by Freedom Education Project Puget Sound and the University of Washington, Philosophy Department.

This event was also made possible by Paul Tubig, a Philosophy PhD candidate at University of Washington. In addition to coaching the FEPPS team, Paul established ethics bowl at WCCW and organized the event.

Visit the FEPPS Facebook page to read more about the event.


Left table: FEPPS ethics bowl team

Middle table: Puget Sound Ethics Bowl team

Right table: Judges and moderator


Paul Tubig


Brian Kim ’21 Presents at 2019 Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Brian Kim ’21, a double major in Philosophy and Economics with a minor in Sociology & Anthropology, presented his work at the annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. The conference was held from April 5–6, 2019 in Forest Grove, Oregon. Brian presented his paper, “A Critique on the Historical Interpretation of Pirates.” In addition, his paper will also be published in Res Cogitans, Pacific University’s undergraduate philosophy journal. Here is an abstract of his paper:  

The history of pirates has been relatively underrepresented by historians, allowing two dominant interpretations to set the standard for how we study these characters. These interpretations, the capitalist and Marxist interpretation, have unfortunately been cherry picking factual evidence in order to legitimize themselves. While both have merits, I propose an existentialist framework which captures the strengths of both interpretations while dropping the glaring weaknesses of them. As pirates most often began as oppressed navy sailors or seafaring workers in poverty, their transition to become pirates captures an important case study of freedom and choice. I first sketch a background of existentialism and both why and how it is a relevant and legitimate interpretation of pirates. I will critique the dominant interpretations, then offer the new existentialist interpretation and compare it to the dominant views. Finally, I conclude with the importance of adopting my framework over the dominant ones within the context of producing good historical analysis.
Brian reflected on his experience at the conference by saying:
Overall, I thought that the conference was an invaluable, enriching experience! This was my first conference that I presented at and it was fascinating not only to listen to a plethora of interesting and important philosophical topics, but also to get a further look into philosophy culture and meeting unique individuals from all over the States. It was a good experience to not only go to a conference, learn how to present, and to figure out what to do, but also to practice engaging critically both for my paper and for others. I met some amazing people, especially the students from PacificU, and had an amazing time not only sharing my passions with like-minded individuals, but to also learn about different styles of philosophical thought and practice.
    ​The conference accepted over 50 different papers and was broken into three 2 hour windows. Within these windows, there were different rooms which each had three papers presenting for 40 minutes each. After a paper was finished, you had a brief window to go to a different room in order to see other papers. At the end of the paper sessions, philosopher Susan Haack presented her topic on a metaphysics in response to the over accepted paradigm of scientific realism. An important thing I noticed overall about the conference was on my own stamina to philosophy. I would like to think of myself as deeply passionate for almost any philosophical topic and could easily go hours discussing even the most trivial issues. But I learned that there is an important lesson in pacing yourself and closing conversations in order to pursue other topics. I found this out about myself after hour five of philosophy conversations, with only a few hours of sleep under my belt, that I have only so much mental energy to offer in one day!
    Overall, I would highly recommend submitting papers to every conference you have the chance to submit to as it is an extraordinary experience to venture into the philosophy undergrad culture and to meet some amazing philosophical minds, as they become exceedingly harder to find nowadays!

Summer Course: Introduction to Philosophy

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If you’ll be in Tacoma this summer, consider taking a course in philosophy. Professor James Garrison will be teaching Introduction to Philosophy during Summer Session I (May 20–June 28, 2019). This course satisfies the Humanistic Approaches core requirement. The course description says:


2019 Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference Report

From January 31–February 1, 2019, students from the Philosophy Department led the 2019 Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference featuring student presenters from around the country. Here are some photos from the event:

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The conference was covered by The Trail, and all accepted papers and corresponding comments are now published in Sound Ideas

Graduating Senior Samantha Lilly Receives the Watson Fellowship

Samantha Lilly ’19, majoring in Philosophy with an interdisciplinary emphasis in Bioethics, is a 2019 recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Out of around 200 students nominated by universities, this prestigious fellowship is awarded to up to 50 students. As described by the Puget Sound Fellowships Office, “in selecting Watson Fellows, the Foundation is most concerned with holistically identifying individuals who demonstrate integrity, imagination, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership, the promise of creative achievement and excellence within a chosen field, and the potential for humane and effective participation in the world community.”

Samantha illustrates the fellowship, her project, and how her philosophy education has prepared her for the project:

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, colloquially known as “The Watson,” is a rare window after college and pre-career to engage my deepest interest on a global scale. Watson Fellows conceive original projects, execute them outside of the United States for one year and embrace the ensuing journey. They decide where to go, who to meet and when to change course. The program produces a year of personal insight, perspective and confidence that shapes the arc of fellows’ lives. Started in 1968, Watson Fellows comprise leaders in every field.

My project, “Understanding Suicidality Across Cultures” will take me to the Netherlands, Argentina, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Nepal. In each country I intend to understand the tangible ways that different communities and cultures understand suicidality. In other words, my project is driven by my background in philosophy because underneath the hands on work I’ll be doing, I am asking questions that I believe are best answered philosophically: “What makes a life worth living? What does flourishing look like? Can suicide be ethical? Why do people die by suicide? How do we know for certain suicide is wrong? What makes a suicide rational or irrational? And, when is paternalism justified and when is it an infringement on autonomy?”

It is my hope that my Watson Year further shapes my ability to think freely, reason well, and grow as a philosopher and human.

After my Watson year, I intend to pursue a J.D. in Health Law with a special interest on mental health care law in the United States. But, I try not to think about that too much. I want to live in this moment of achieving something I’ve been dreaming about and working toward since I was a wee sophomore here at UPS. There’s honestly not much else I’d like to say except to give thanks and express my gratitude to every professor in the philosophy department for mentoring me and guiding me through this major and ultimately shaping me into the type of person who gets awarded a kick ass fellowship like this.

If it were not for Ariela, I would not have even considered becoming a philosophy major and definitely would have never thought of going to law school. Thank you for being my advisor, mentor, and friend. There is so much more I could say here, but I just want you to know you have changed my life and I am grateful.

I am more ethical (gentler, warmer, and softer) because of you.

Without Justin, I would have never asked the important questions regarding mental illness, the mind, and how we can be certain of our beliefs. Thank you for teaching me how to question and how to articulate my thoughts. I am a better thinker, questioner, and joke teller because of you.

Or, in other words, I am a better version of myself because of you.

Sara, I would have never considered a disability framework for suicidality until I took your class. And, quite frankly, I’d still be writing scattered papers with absolutely no sections (yikes!) if you hadn’t taught me what makes a good philosophy paper.

I am more considerate and empathetic because of you.

Beardsley, oh boy, where to begin? I don’t know where I would be today without 19th Century Philosophy. Your ability to teach and communicate Hegel is I bet pretty unprecedented. I think about this class every day — it has shaped my thoughts about the world around me and has overall given me the words and confidence to speak about the future and the past.

I am more thoughtful because of you.
And, this is out of context, but I also think about souls and owls a lot because of you.

And finally, Sam. I think similarly to Ariela, I cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you have put into my work. You have allowed me the opportunity to articulate how I feel in a way that is constructive and worthwhile.  There are so many things to say and so little time. I suppose I’ll just leave you with this:

I am a better philosopher because of you.

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