Experimenting with Coffee with Professor Liao

Can you know how something tastes without tasting it yourself? Some philosophers say that first-hand experience is required to judge something’s taste. But this is odd since first-hand experience isn’t required to know what colour or shape something is—you can learn that from another person. So other philosophers say that you can learn about tastes from others—although it might be difficult in ordinary circumstances.  How well, then, do we communicate about taste?

Does a moral flaw in a cup of coffee make it worse as a cup of coffee? Does our knowledge of a coffee’s moral status make any difference to the way we experience its flavour? Or, to give a simple example, would a direct-trade coffee taste better than its non-direct-trade counterpart?

Puget Sound Philosophy Professor Sam Liao and co-writer Aaron Meskin integrate philosophy into everyday life by exploring how well people communicate about the taste of coffee and how morality relates to taste in Experimenting with Coffee.

Lecture by Justin Tiehen: “A Theory of Everything that Exists in the Entire World”

Justin Tiehen, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Puget Sound, will be delivering the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Magee Address titled “A Theory of Everything that Exists in the Entire World” on Wednesday, October 28th @ 5pm in Trimble Forum.

Professor Tiehen sent us the abstract for the talk:

Philosophers have long sought a unified theory of everything. Consider Thales, the first Western philosopher, who thought everything that exists is ultimately made of water. Today a more common view is Physicalism, the thesis that everything that exists is ultimately physical, that is, made up of the sort of entities described by the science of physics. My talk will examine the prospects of Physicalism, focusing especially on potential problems for the view that arise in connection with attempts to provide Physicalistic explanations of consciousness, of normativity (including morality), and of absences (things that don’t happen).

Justin Tiehen is the author of numerous articles in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. His recent works include“A Priori Scrutability and That’s All,” in The Journal of Philosophy (2014); “Explaining Causal Closure,” in Philosophical Studies (2014); and “The Role Functionalist Theory of Absences,” in Erkenntnis (2015). More information about these and his other writings can be found in his webpage.