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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 12.17.20 PM

2019 Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference Featured in The Trail

Recently, students from the Philosophy Department led the 2019 Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference featuring student presenters from around the country. The Puget Sound student newspaper, The Trail, covered the event with interviews from UPS students, visiting student presenters, and the keynote speaker Professor Manuel Vargas (University of California, San Diego). To read the article, visit this link.

The author of the article, Juliano Estrada Donatelli, writes: 

The conference was inclusive and pushed students both within and outside the philosophy department to think and engage with other points of view.

“I love the idea that people are coming from all over and are sharing their ideas and allowing us to engage in those critical conversations,” Hanson said, highlighting the value of this student-led conference.

By allowing students to organize events and both conduct research and share these topics amongst their peers, this conference offered a really unique opportunity for students to delve into the multidisciplinary and hands-on experience of a liberal arts education.

 

Pittsburgh Summer Program 3: A Summer Program in Philosophy of Science for Underrepresented Groups

From July 15–19, 2019, the University of Pittsburgh is hosting a Pittsburgh Summer Program in Philosophy of Science for Underrepresented Groups. This program is for:

Undergraduate Students who are highly motivated and show strong academic promise and interest in the philosophy of science, including but not limited to:

  • Women
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds
  • Students with disabilities
  • First-generation undergraduates
  • Undergraduates from groups underrepresented in philosophy of science

The Summer Program will include:

Two daily graduate seminars about core issues and cutting-edge topics in general philosophy of science and philosophy of the special sciences (e.g., physics, biology, cognitive science and neuroscience, social sciences). The seminars and lectures will be given by internationally recognized faculty in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh as well as in the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University.

For further details, visit the page for PSP2, where you’ll find last year’s course descriptions, schedule, etc.

Housing, meals, and transportation costs (US travel only – the University will not provide transportation costs for travel into or outside of the US) will be covered, and all course materials provided. Applications are due March 1, 2019, and participants will be notified by April 15, 2019.

For more information, visit the program website.

Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference: January 31–February 1

The fifth Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, run entirely by students, will be from January 31–February 1, 2019. This conference features presentations from undergraduate philosophy scholars from various schools across the country with additional commentary from Puget Sound students.

All presentations, with the exception of the keynote address, are delivered by undergraduate students. For more information about presentation topics, the keynote speaker, and how philosophy students are involved, visit the conference press release.

This conference is free and open to the public. For the conference program with a complete schedule of talks, visit the conference website.

final2019conferenceposter

 

CFP: Upcoming Undergraduate Philosophy Conferences and Philosophy Journals

Several upcoming undergraduate philosophy conferences and undergraduate philosophy journals have put out calls for papers. You are highly encouraged to submit any of your outstanding philosophical work. For more information about submitting your work, visit their websites.

Students whose work is accepted to present at a conference can apply for a travel grant from the university. More details about student travel awards are on the university website.

Moral and Political Philosophy at the Border Conference
Conference Dates: April 26–27, 2019
Submission Deadline:
December 15, 2018
Keynote speaker: 
Dr. Christine Straehle (University of Ottawa) & Sukaina Hirji (Virginia Tech)

24th Annual SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Conference Dates: April 12–13, 2019
Submission Deadline: December 15, 2018

Great Lakes Philosophy Conference
Conference Dates: April 5–7, 2019
Submission Deadline: December 15, 2018
Keynote Speaker: Robert Audi, University of Notre Dame

Fifth Annual Southern Utah University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Conference Dates: March 23, 2019
Submission Deadline:
January 12, 2019

Dianoia: The Undergraduate Philosophy Journal of Boston College
Submission Deadline: January 25, 2019

SLU Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Conference Dates: March 29–30, 2019
Submission Deadline:
January 31, 2019
Keynote Speaker: David Wong, Duke University

Gonzaga University Undergraduate Conference
Conference Dates: April 12–13, 2019
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2019

Rowan University Regional Undergraduate Ethics Conference
Conference Dates: April 12, 2019
Submission Deadline:
February 22, 2019

Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity 2019 Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity has announced their 2019 Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. The Foundation challenges college level juniors and seniors to submit their work analyzing the urgent ethical issues confronting them in today’s complex world.
The submission deadline is Friday, December 14, 2018 at 5pm PST.

Awards:

  • First Prize – $ 5,000
  • Second Prize – $ 2,500
  • Third Prize – $ 1,500
  • Two Honorable Mentions – $ 500 Each

Eligibility:

  • Registered undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States during the Fall 2018 Semester.

2019 Essay Topic:

Articulate with clarity an ethical issue that you have encountered and analyze what it has taught you about ethics and yourself. Note that the most engaging essays often reflect deeply on a particularly meaningful experience or episode in one’s life. That approach could focus ethical reflection on:

A personal issue
A family matter
A travel incident
An academic inquiry
A dilemma in literature or film
A recent article or editorial in a major newspaper
A current conflict in American life
An international crisis

Write about any specific topic you wish, provided it explores an ethical problem, question, issue, or concern.

For more information please visit their website.