Applications Due Soon: Summer Programs in Philosophy

Various philosophy departments at universities across the United States are offering immersive summer philosophy programs. Visit their websites below for more information about their programs and how to apply.

Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI)
Application Deadline: January 31, 2018
PIKSI Rock Program Dates:  June 27 – July 6, 2018
PIKSI Boston Program Dates: June 19 – June 26, 2018

The Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University (SIPP@Brown)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 8 – July 21, 2018

Summer Program for Women in Philosophy at UCSD
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 31 – August 8, 2018

Pittsburgh Summer Program 2: 
A Summer Program in Philosophy of Science for Underrepresented Groups
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: July 16 – July 20, 2018

2018 Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy: Paradoxes and Puzzles
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018
Program Dates: June 10 – June 29, 2018

Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology
Application Deadline: March 16, 2018
Program Dates: June 11 – June 29, 2018

20th Annual Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy
Application Deadline: May 4, 2018
Program Dates: July 8 – July 15, 2018

“My Friend, the Algorithm” — A summer research project by Jessica Chan Ugalde ’18

Jessica Chan Ugalde ’18, majoring in both Philosophy and Computer Science, spent the summer researching the importance of ethics and philosophy in the world of technology – namely intelligent agents. An article published on the University of Puget Sound website overviews her research:

“It is immoral to limit users’ purview so much that you only see what you want to see,” the philosophy and computer science major says…

“We must establish ethical frameworks to guide the development of “intelligent agents,” she says, referring to the algorithms that bring us Facebook and Web news….

Her solution was revealed in her research paper “My Friend, the Algorithm.” Jessica proposed that intelligent agents—just like friends—should have “free agency” to choose what to show you, and that they should help you attain wisdom. That means showing you what you like, and what you don’t like, or maybe never thought of….

“Technology plays such a huge role, not only in our everyday lives, but in forming our intuitions,” she says. She argues tech companies should take part in philosophical discourse—and that they would benefit from it. Highly ethical firms could attract the best workers, and thoughtful debate would hone the critical thinking skills needed in their collaborative industry….

Jessica’s own goal is to write, and to shine a light on contentious ethical issues. Should she succeed, the computing world may get no peace until it finds the algorithm that is, indeed, our friend.

During her research, Jessica was supervised by Sara Protasi from the Department of Philosophy and David Chui from the Department of Computer Science.

Info Session for Spring 2018 Travel Seminar on Argentina

Stop by to learn about Spring 2018 course:
LAS 399 Latin American Travel Seminar / Argentina: Modernity and Its Discontents
taught by Prof. Lanctot (Hispanic Studies) and Prof. Tubert (Philosophy)

Wednesday, October 4th, 4pm in Wyatt 313

The course satisfies the Connections requirements offers an interdisciplinary examination of the processes of modernization and nation-building in Argentina through the analysis of key primary sources (in translation) and culminating in an immersive, 3-week trip to Argentina upon the conclusion of the semester.  

For more information regarding the course, application process, and costs please come to the information session or contact blanctot@pugetsound.edu or atubert@pugetsound.edu.

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2017 Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy

The University of Colorado, Boulder is now accepting applications for the 2017 Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy.
The Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy is intended for outstanding advanced undergraduates who are considering graduate school in philosophy. The aim is to introduce students to the atmosphere of a graduate-level seminar, giving them a chance to explore their philosophical abilities and interests before they commit to a graduate program.
Review of applications will begin on March 1 and will continue until all available positions are filled.

There is no application form.

Applicants should provide the following:

  • A cover letter including your name, mailing address, email address, and an account of who you are and why you are interested in the program.
  • A letter of recommendation from someone who has taught you philosophy. The letter should address the quality of your contributions to class discussion and your ability to interact productively with other students as well as the quality of your written work for the class.
  • A copy of your college transcript. (An unofficial copy is fine.)
  • A short philosophical essay. (The shorter the better; ordinarily, it should be something written for a class.)

Electronic submission of materials is strongly preferred. Applicants should send the cover letter, transcript and essay in pdf or Word format to the Director of the Seminar, David Boonin, at david.boonin@colorado.edu.

For more information, visit the summer seminar’s webpage at:

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/events/summer-seminar

Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy

The American Philosophical Association, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, offers several undergraduate diversity institutes in philosophy. The goal of these institutes is to encourage and support undergraduates from underrepresented groups in philosophy.

19th Annual Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy

Rutgers University will sponsor the 2017 Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy. This seven-day program is designed to introduce undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to the various areas of specialization within the discipline of philosophy, give students a better idea of what graduate studies in philosophy is about, and explore various views about what it means to be a professional philosopher. Up to fifteen students will be given the opportunity to interact in formal and informal settings with a group of talented graduate students and distinguished faculty members from a number of universities.

Eligible students must demonstrate how their experiences and background foster greater diversity in the discipline of philosophy and be full-time students in a college or university in the United States (preference will be given to sophomores and juniors, though others are eligible). Interested students must be in good academic standing and be interested in philosophy as a career. The Institute will provide travel, room and board, and a $250 stipend. This year’s program will be held at the Continuing Studies & Conference Center in New Brunswick, NJ. Applications must be completed and submitted to the 2017 Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy and postmarked no later than May 8, 2017.

For more information, visit their website.

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Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI)

The American Philosophical Association, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, offers several undergraduate diversity institutes in philosophy. The goal of these institutes is to encourage and support undergraduates from underrepresented groups in philosophy.

Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institutes (PIKSI)

The two PIKSI programs are affiliated with one another but operate autonomously. The are funded in large part by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the APA, as well as their host institutions.

PIKSI-Boston

PIKSI-Boston, founded in 2015, is held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is also supported by the University of Massachusetts Boston.

  • Dates: July 17-July 23, 2016
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Application InformationApplications are accepted until March 21, 2016. The two PIKSI institutes use a shared application process. Applicants must complete an online application and submit a transcript and writing sample, and each must have a faculty sponsor. Undergraduates and recent graduates from underrepresented groups such as women, African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, LGBTs, economically disadvantaged communities, and people with disabilities are urged to apply.
  • About the Institute: PIKSI summer institutes are designed to encourage undergraduates from underrepresented groups to consider future study of philosophy. Transportation and lodging are provided; stipends are awarded to all.
  • Additional Information: PIKSI-Boston Website

PIKSI-Rock

PIKSI-Rock, founded in 2006, is held at the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University.

  • Dates: June 13-22, 2016
  • Location: State College, PA
  • Application InformationApplications are accepted until March 21,2016. The two PIKSI institutes use a shared application process. Applicants must complete an online application and submit a transcript and writing sample, and each must have a faculty sponsor. Undergraduate women or men from underrepresented groups such as African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, LGBTQA persons, economically disadvantaged communities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
  • About the Institute: PIKSI summer institutes are designed to encourage undergraduates from underrepresented groups to consider future study of philosophy.Each year, PIKSI-Rock chooses a theme for its institute; 2015’s theme is “Philosophy and Social Justice.” Transportation and lodging are provided; stipends are awarded to all.
  • Additional Information: PIKSI-Rock Website

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Summer Research Project: What is Logical Consequence?

Computer Science and Mathematics double major Jesse Jenks received a Summer Research Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences (information on the Summer Research Grants in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is available here). He describes his experience working on his summer research project under the supervision of Prof. Cannon in the Philosophy Department:

BY JESSE JENKS:

In the beginning of the 20th century, many prominent logicians and mathematicians, such as Frege, Russell, Hilbert, and others, felt that mathematics needed a very rigorous foundation in logic. The standard approach in the early part of the 20th century was to use a syntactic or proof-theoretic definition of logical consequence which says that “for one sentence to be a logical consequence of [a set of premises] is simply for that sentence to be derivable from [them] by means of some standard system of deduction” (Etchemendy 1988).

These two ways of understanding logical consequence have a long history dating back to Aristotle and Euclid. Proof-theory in particular is foundational to almost all of mathematics. For philosophers in the 19th century, the idea that was taken for granted was that a statement is logically true if and only if it can be proven. But in 1929, Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorems revealed that not all logically true statements are provable. This is now considered one of the most important results in logic and led logicians such as Tarski to define logical consequence with what was eventually developed into the standard “model-theoretic” definition. This way of defining logical consequence says that an argument of a certain form is a logically valid argument if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false (Cannon 2016). Many philosophers have written about the effectiveness of this definition, but in 1990, John Etchemendy offered a fundamental criticism of Tarski’s definition, both as to whether it is conceptually correct, and whether it captures the right set of arguments, or interpretations. b65pddmk-kgrhqvlueyjc2kv3bmylokpdd-1_35

The modern version of model theory is derived from Tarski’s original definition, but is based in set theory. Although this is the most commonly taught version of model theory, this is problematic for foundationalists who believe that logic is the basis for mathematics. But Tarski did not originally require set-theoretic definitions. Instead, he used what Etchemendy calls “interpretational” semantics. Etchemendy’s criticism of Tarski essentially centers around the question of what “possible” means. For example, we could interpret this to mean an argument is logically valid if it is metaphysically impossible for the conclusion to be false if the premises are true. This is called “representational” semantics. The more standard approach is to say an argument is logically valid if a) we can define the “form” of an argument, and b) every argument of the same form consists of a materially (or empirically) true conclusion or a materially false premise. This is the most appealing version of model theory since it avoids both problems from metaphysics and concerns from foundationalists. However, Etchemendy points out that under an interpretational view, in almost any standard logical system we can construct sentences which are logically true, like “there are at least three objects in the universe”, which is a metaphysical claim about the size of the universe, and is not a matter of logic. This problem runs much deeper and could potentially undermine Tarski’s work. My summer research focused on what Etchemendy’s argument was and how other philosophers have responded to his claim.

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Photo courtesy of S. Harris, http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com