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

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Peter O’Meara: Studying Abroad at the Institute of Ideas, London

Peter O’Meara, a Philosophy major, spent the summer of 2016 undertaking an internship at the Institute of Ideas in London. Here’s what he had to say about his experience: “My time in England at the think tank known as the Institute of Ideas proved to be a domain in which my classroom teachings could shine. In the wake of Brexit, and in preparation for our think tank’s most coveted debate forum, I found myself surrounded by the foremost issues of the day. When I was called upon to investigate the issue of Bodily Autonomy, I harkened back to my articles on Oocyte Cryopreservation from Ethics Bowl. Similarly, when attending a debate regarding self-driving cars at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, my experience in Moral Philosophy proved invaluable. When the turmoil brought about by Brexit was at a fervor, my think tank sponsored and attended a university debate on the matter, with both parties citing economic and democratic reasons for leaving and remaining.The application of my philosophy classes in a practical environment demonstrated the power of the subject beyond the ivory tower.”

Science, Democracy, and Values?

The University of Vienna, Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Institute Vienna Circle are holding their annual Scientific World Conceptions two week summer program from July 4-15, 2016 in Vienna. This course will explore the historical, philosophical, and political perspectives on the relations of science, values, and democracy. Specific topics include:

  • Roles of values in science
  • Historical relations of science and democracy
  • Public engagement in sociotechnical controversies
  • Race, gender, and science
  • Science and religion in democracies
  • Politics of expert advice
  • Public assessment of scientific expertise
  • Science communication in democratic contexts
  • Universities and public life

The main Lecturers will be:

Mark B. Brown is a professor in the Department of Government at California State University, Sacramento
Heather Douglas is the Waterloo Chair in Science and Society and Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
 
Andrew Jewett is Associate Professor of History and of Social Studies at Harvard University.
For more general information about the program, click here.
To apply, click here.

Summer Seminars in Philosophy

Below is information on various summer seminars in philosophy.  Some of them offer free tuition and free room and board.  They are great opportunities for students considering graduate work in philosophy.

  1. Colorado Summer Seminar in Philosophy, held from July 20th-August 6th. Featuring special sessions taught by Shelly Kagan (Yale), Doug MacLean (UNC Chapel Hill), Rivka Weinberg (Scripps College), and Susan Wolf (UNC Chapel Hill), the seminar is intended for outstanding undergraduates who are considering graduate school in philosophy. The aim is to introduce students to the atmosphere of a graduate-level seminar, giving participants a chance to explore and sharpen their philosophical abilities before they commit to a graduate program. More details here.
    http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/outreach_summer_seminar.shtml
  1. Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) – Penn State and BostonThese institutes are designed to encourage undergraduate students from under-represented groups to consider future study in the field of philosophy. PIKSI will emphasize the on-going project of greater inclusiveness that is transforming the discipline, inviting students to be participants in the conversation. The institute will take place from June 13 – June 22, 2015 at two locations: PIKSI-Rock at Penn State, and PIKSI-Boston at MIT and UMass Boston. For more details see the PIKSI website.
    Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) – Penn State: http://rockethics.psu.edu/education/piksi/
    Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) – Boston: http://piksi-boston.mit.edu/
  1. Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology
    In 2015, the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University will hold a three-week summer school in logic and formal epistemology for promising undergraduates in philosophy, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, economics, and other sciences. The goals are to: introduce promising students to cross-disciplinary fields of research at an early stage in their career; and forge lasting links between the various disciplines. The summer school will be held from Monday, June 1 to Friday, June 19, 2015. There will be morning and afternoon lectures and daily problem sessions, as well as planned outings and social events. The summer school is free. That is, we will provide: full tuition and dormitory accommodations on the Carnegie Mellon campus. Applicants need not be US citizens. Applications are due by Friday, March 13, 2015. http://www.hss.cmu.edu/philosophy/summerschool/home.php
  1. Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy, held at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, from July 26 – August 2, 2015. 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. Details here.
    http://www.philosophy.rutgers.edu/events-335/summer-institute
  1. Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University. “The Brown Philosophy Department is pleased to announce a call for applications for the Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy at Brown University. SIPP@Brown is a two-week residential program for members of traditionally underrepresented groups in philosophy, including women and students of color. This year’s program will run from May 31, 2015 to June 13, 2015 and will feature seminars taught by Brown faculty and the SIPP@Brown research conference. Students will have travel and lodging expenses covered and will receive a $500 stipend.” http://www.sippatbrown.com/
  2. UCSD Summer Program for Women in Philosophy:
    The Philosophy Department at the University of California, San Diego is pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2015 Summer Program for Women in Philosophy, which will be held at UCSD from July 26 to August 8, 2015. The two-week program will feature two intensive courses and a variety of workshops, all geared towards providing an engaging philosophical learning experience and preparation for applying to graduate school in philosophy. Participants will be provided with housing and meals, will have transportation costs covered, will have all course and workshop materials provided, and will receive a $600 stipend. Applications are due March 1, and participants will be notified by April 15. This year’s instructors are Anne Eaton (University of Illinois, Chicago) and Julie Walsh (Université du Québec à Montréal). Anyone who’s interested can visit our website or Facebook page