Philosophy talk: “Humeanism and the Categorical Character of Epistemic Normativity”

“Humeanism and the Categorical Character of Epistemic Normativity”
Talk by Dr. Neil Mehta, Yale NUS College

Monday April 17th |3:30 – 5:30 pm | Wyatt 305

The talk brings together issues in philosophy of mind, meta-ethics, and epistemology.    Refreshments will be served.  All are welcome!

Abstract: According to the Humean view, any subject’s having a foundational practical reason to φ is fully grounded in her having desires or desire-regulating systems of a certain kind. According to the unity view, foundational reasons form a genuine kind that subsumes both foundational practical reasons and foundational epistemic reasons. And according to the epistemic categoricity view, no subject’s having a foundational epistemic reason to φ is ever grounded even partly in her having desires or desire-regulating systems of any kind. I find all of these claims very attractive; the rub is that they appear to be jointly incompatible. This paper, however, is a possibility proof to the contrary: I construct a theory, the telic theory, that accommodates them all.


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“Rational Devotion and Human Perfection”: A Lecture by Prof. Christina Chuang

“Rational Devotion and Human Perfection”
Christina Chuang (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Monday April 3rd | Wyatt 313 | 3:30-5:00 pm

Abstract: In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna lays out three paths of yoga as the means to achieve human perfection: the path of self-less action (karma yoga), the path of knowledge (jnana yoga), and the path of devotion (bhakti yoga). In this talk I will argue for an interpretation of the Gita in which the path of devotion is the last step that leads to moksha. This is not to claim that bhakti yoga is more important than karma and jnana yoga, but rather that the latter two are more elementary. In order to practice bhakti yoga, one must first have practiced karma and jnana yoga. All three forms of yoga are equally important—but there is a prioritized order in which they are to be practiced. On my reading, bhakti is more than having an intense feeling of love for God, because practicing devotion to God is an intellectual love of God that entails an intuitive understanding of the essence of things. My approach is to cross-examine the concept of human perfection as discussed in the Gita and Spinoza’s Ethics. Human perfection is characterized in both texts as a total liberation from being guided by things external to oneself other than one’s own nature. In other words, the aim of life is to liberate oneself by acquiring the right kind of knowledge. The freer one becomes and the more knowledge that one has, the more perfect one becomes.

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Isabella Gresser Film Screening, Reception, and Artist Talk

Isabella Gresser is having an opening at the Kittredge Gallery on Wednesday, March 22 from 5-7pm and the screening of her film, Fatigue Society – Byung-Chul Han in Seoul / Berlin will be on Thursday, March 23 at 5pm in Rausch Auditorium. The screening with be followed by a discussion of the film which is based on philosopher Byung-Chul Han’s book, Burn-Out Society.


Philosophy Day 2017

Philosophy Day is a showcase of the philosophical community at University of Puget Sound. There will be four student presentations on topics such as free will, the replication crisis, justice, and metaphysics. There will also be a presentation from the Ethics Bowl team on real-world ethical dilemmas.

No previous experience with philosophy is required. Feel free to pick and choose the sessions that best fit with your interests and schedules!

Date            02/17/2017
Time            1pm-5pm
Place           Murray Boardroom, SUB

1:00-1:30: Jenny Paul, “Compatibilism and the Degrees of Influence: An Analysis of the Morality of the Self and its Relation to the External”
1:30-2:00: Eric Ralph, “The Paradox of Psychology: Replication Crises as Opportunities”
2:00-2:30: Steven Baptiste, “Justice as Harmony – Plato’s use of Literary Symbolism in the Republic: Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Socrates”
2:30-3:00: Conor O’Keefe, “The Advantages of Dogmatic Metaphysics over Kantian Synthetic Metaphysics”
3:00-3:30: Coffee Break
3:30-5:00: Ethics Bowl, “Civil Disobedience” & “The Tunnel Problem” – Cases about the ethics of leaking classified information and the responsibility for accidents from self driving cars.