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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.

Call for Papers: Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Call for Papers: 21st Annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

April 21-22, 2017 |  Pacific University | Forest Grove, Oregon | Keynote talk by Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley) 

The 21st annual Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference will be held April 21-22, 2017 on the campus of Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Oregon. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for the presentation of philosophical work of undergraduates to their peers. Papers are required to be of philosophical content, but there are no specific restrictions on subject matter within the arena of philosophical discussion itself. Papers should be approximately 3000 words (10-12 pages). Electronic submissions, including paper and abstract (Word documents), should be sent to: ian.oloughlin@pacificu.edu.Submission deadline is February 1, 2017Final decisions will be made by February 28, 2017. Volunteers for session chairs are also welcome.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in Volume 8 (2017) of the journal Res CogitansThis is strictly an undergraduate conference, with only undergraduates allowed on the conference program. The single exception is the keynote speaker. Past keynotes speakers have included: Elliot Sober, Paul Churchland, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, Keith Lehrer, Catherine Elgin, John Perry, Hubert Dreyfus, Jerry Fodor, Alvin Plantinga, Cora Diamond, James Sterba, Peter Kivy, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Daniel Dennett, and Elliott Sober. This year’s keynote talk will be by Alva Noë.The conference banquet will be on Friday, April 21 and all paper sessions, including the keynote talk, will be on Saturday, April 22. Travel and lodging information can be found by going to the conference web site at: www.pacificu.edu/as/philosophy/conference

Registration costs: $50, payable at the conference. Three meals will be provided: Friday night banquet, Saturday breakfast and lunch.

For further information, contact Professor O’Loughlin via email (ian.oloughlin@pacificu.edu) or by phone (503 352 1547) or at the address: Dept. of Philosophy, Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116

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Alumni Profiles: Sarah Jacobson

Philosophy majors pursue a wide variety of career paths after graduation, including but not limited to law, business, and higher education. Every few weeks, we will be featuring one of our department’s alumni, highlighting how their studies in philosophy have helped them in their post-graduate careers.

Sarah Jacobson graduated in 2005 with a degree in Philosophy. She now works as a Transit Control Supervisor for the Minneapolis Metro Transit. When asked how studying philosophy has helped her in her career, she said:

“My philosophy degree helped me transition into management positions easily, since I have superior critical thinking and problem solving skills and excellent written and oral communication. My career didn’t turn out as planned, but even so, I think my degree set me up to succeed.”

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Alumni Profiles: Holli Fillbach Simcoe ’95

Philosophy majors pursue a wide variety of career paths after graduation, including but not limited to law, business, and higher education. Every few weeks, we will be featuring one of our department’s alumni, highlighting how their studies in philosophy have helped them in their post-graduate careers.

Holli Fillbach Simcoe graduated in 1995 with a degree in Philosophy. She now works as an Assistant General Counsel at Huron Consulting Group, which is a global management consulting group. When asked how studying philosophy has helped her in her career, she said:

“It’s hard to put a finger on exactly how philosophy studies have contributed to my career. It certainly helps me to be a critical thinker but also to be open-minded and creative.  I usually have more than one solution to a problem which most people find refreshing(…) in our many class discussions, I often took the minority viewpoint for the sake of argument. For example, if you were stuck on a boat in the ocean would you fend for yourself or cooperate for the greater good.  I found it more interesting to consider fending for myself than the more “sane” concept of working together.  This “thinking skill” or perhaps, “objectivity,” allows me to consider many angles of an issue or problem.  I tend not to dismiss something that may seem less rational than other solutions.”

 

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Alumni Profiles: Roger Valdez ’90

Philosophy majors pursue a wide variety of career paths after graduation, including but not limited to law, business, and higher education. Every few weeks, we will be featuring one of our department’s alumni, highlighting how their studies in philosophy have helped them in their post-graduate careers.

Roger Valdez graduated from Puget Sound in 1990 with a major in philosophy. He is now the director of Smart Growth Seattle, an advocacy group that works with the City of Seattle to manage neighborhood growth. He has been profiled in The Stranger, Seattle Met Magazine, and Seattle Times, and also contributes to Forbes Magazine. We asked him how studying philosophy has helped him in his career, and he had this to say:

“Throughout my career in public policy, I have relied on my study of philosophy in four important ways. First, I learned how to argue in philosophy – and I don’t mean just shouting louder than someone on the other side. Philosophy trains the mind to organize ideas and find flaws, inconsistencies, and errors in the other sides arguments. Second, I started to learn how to write in my philosophy classes. Many of the things I learned in my years in the program formed the foundation for the writing I do today. Third, the history of ideas matters; who’d have thought that I’d be quoting from Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program (“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”) on the local radio station more than 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union (…) Finally, my philosophy education, and more broadly my liberal arts education, has given me a rich context in ideas and culture from which to draw when both understanding where our current world came from and where it might be going.”

 

“Dialogues with Phil and Sophia – Who’s Moving?”

Recent graduate and philosophy major Nick Navarro ’15 has a strong interest in philosophy for children. So strong, in fact, that he wrote a philosophical book for children as an independent study in conjunction with his senior seminar (both taught by Ariela Tubert). Nick wanted to get children to think about the same issues that were being read and discussed in the senior seminar, and thus, the book project was born.

Dialogues with Phil and Sophia – Who’s Moving? follows the adventures of siblings Phil and Sophia as they work through some big questions about personal identity and agency. As Nick describes the book, “Phil and Sophia along the way practice thinking philosophically, questioning everything they encounter. From trees to pastries, each chapter discusses how reflection, relationships, reasoning, and resistance are meaningful to developing an identity. “

The book includes spaces for the readers to interact, noting their own philosophical questions and thoughts, as well as discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The book also includes artwork by illustrator Avery Aresu.

Following is a brief excerpt of Nick’s work. See if you can recognize the philosopher whose work inspired this encounter!

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If you guessed Derek Parfit, you’re right! Other chapters of the book make use of the work of Marya Schechtman, Paul Katsafanas, and Christine Korsgaard, giving the overall story its strong theme of questioning personal identity, but presenting this topic in ways that children can understand and grapple with for themselves.

For the end of the academic year, several excerpts from Nick’s book were enlarged and put up as an exhibit in Wyatt Hall, as shown below:

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Nick provides the following information about himself in relation to the book:

Nicolas Navarro dreams of a world driven by insatiable inquiry. Hoping to spark curiosity and imagination in everyone, Nicolas writes with the values of philosophy in mind so others may find satisfaction through pursuing wisdom.

Recently completing his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Puget Sound, this is Nicolas’ first novel before he continues his studies, pursuing a M.S.Ed. in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. On the horizon, Nicolas plans to apply for the Peace Corps and to continue writing philosophy novels for children.

I (Nicolas) think the most important way I can impact people’s lives is to teach them to think philosophically. Philosophy values a dialogue by which ideas can be discussed to develop meaning and broaden one’s experience. Doing philosophy inherently teaches people to think critically about the decisions they make and to become more accepting of others’ views. I hope you enjoy the book!

Want to read more? Nick’s book is now for sale on Amazon! Congratulations Nick!