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.

Rise Up: The Hamilton Tribute Band

On Thursday, February 7th at 7:30 pm, Rise Up: The Hamilton Tribute Band will be performing in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Tickets are required. The Puget Sound events page describes the event:

Rise Up is an ensemble of top Seattle vocalists and musicians that performs the amazing music of HamiltonHamilton is a record-breaking Broadway musical and winner of 11 Tonys, including Best Musical. It is a sweeping national cultural phenomenon with music that marries hip hop, R&B, and Broadway. Rise Up delivers a performance that captures all the sophistication, detail, and emotion of the music of Hamilton. It has performed extensively in the Northwest, delighting theater, festival, and club audiences and frequently selling out.

Thursday, February 7, 2019
7:30 pm
Schneebeck Concert Hall

Tickets required.

riseuppromo7

Prof. Sara Protasi Featured on Philosophy Talk

Professor Sara Protasi is being featured on this week’s episode of Philosophy Talk, a national syndicated radio show that “celebrates the value of the examined life.” Philosophy talk describes the episode by saying:

Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness, and it’s well known as one of the seven deadly sins. But is envy always a bad thing? Is it simply a petty emotion we should try to avoid, or could envy help us understand ourselves more? Is envy rooted in unhealthy comparison with others, or does it come from our own vision of excellence? Could envy even be used to improve ourselves? Josh and Ken consider whether to envy their guest, Sara Protasi from the University of Puget Sound.

The episode will be available to stream for free starting Friday, February 1st. It will be available for free for one week. To listen, visit this link.

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

 

Talk by Professor Manuel Vargas (University of California, San Diego): “The Philosophy of Accidentality”

Professor Manuel Vargas (University of California, San Diego) will be giving the keynote address at the Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on Thursday 1/31 at 5:00pm in Trimble Hall, Trimble Forum.  Here below is his abstract for the talk:

“The Philosophy of Accidentality”

In a now mostly forgotten mid-20th century philosophical tradition, a peculiar quasi-nationalist existentialist project flourished. The animating idea of this tradition was that the agency of individuals is oftentimes structured by culture and norms in subtle ways that merit careful philosophical investigation. This presentation revisits some of those ideas, including the idea that under some conditions agents can be especially aware of the contingent nature of culturally specific norms and values, and that this awareness can produce a particular experience of normative instability. This experience—call it accidentality—turns out to be useful outside of the historical context of its genesis. In particular, thinking about accidentality can illuminate various forms of social subordination and socially-scaffolded agency, including cultural alienation, biculturality, and double consciousness.

final keynote-vargas - phil conference keynote poster jan 2019

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.

Interview with Peter O’Meara ’18

As the Class of 2018 prepared to graduate, we wanted to hear from philosophy graduates about their time as philosophy majors at Puget Sound. Peter O’Meara ’18 majored in Philosophy and minored in History. In the summer of 2016, he completed an internship at the Institute of Ideas in London.

If you are interested in becoming a philosophy major, if you are a current philosophy major looking for advice from recent alumni, or if you’re simply curious about the endeavors of a philosophy major at Puget Sound, read Peter O’Meara’s interview below:

How did you get interested in philosophy in the first place?

That is the question I have never been able to answer quite clearly. There was no book I read, no person I heard speak, not even a class that I took. It just came to me. I know that no one is endeared by such a vague answer, but that is how it was. It was a primal feeling from the start.

When and why did you ultimately decide to become a philosophy major?

Formally, I believe it was some time during my senior year of high school. In retrospect, I suppose I had not given a great deal of thought to that course specifically. Rather, it was merely a natural progression of the passion itself.

How did your parents and strangers react when you told them you were a philosophy major?

My parents did not have any bias, surprisingly; they were supportive from the very start. The challenge that I have endured came not from any opposition to the major itself, but rather how to best utilize it in the pursuit of the path. I want to get my Ph.D., yes, but how to forge the best profile? This has made itself apparent in more recent years. I have found myself increasingly in a state of mind that emphasizes the “golden lining” of one’s resume. That is, in order to appeal to the tiers I am aiming for, I have been forced to consider all avenues of potential success, even if it is distant from my chief interests. My parents have at times emphasized the raw intrigue of combining my major with neuroscience, law, and the like. It has been frustrating on occasion, especially as I have struggled to put into words just what my areas of interests are. It can also be especially frustrating when you feel like sometimes others do not understand just how frequent and “close to home” your chosen path is; when you say that it must be done every day, and you mean nothing less than that. This is not to disparage such a strategy, nor the actual pursuit of alternate venture within the discipline. Philosophy can be integral with used in tangent with either, and I wholly support it.

Is there an area of philosophy that interests you the most?

As it currently stands, I am enthralled by the notion of variety, specifically on a metaethical level. I wish to explore how it is that variety interferes and interacts with morality. To that end, I may also pursue the questions in metaphysics, as well as normative ethics. I am also highly curious about human sexuality, and its own subsequent ethics, though I do not yet know how it will figure into my central path of inquiry.

 What about those areas are interesting to you?

Much of my interest comes from my frustration with Mill’s rule utilitarianism. I am myself a deontologist. For a doctrine that aims to be a communal morality, it seems content to leave many people behind. I am mesmerized by that which deals with the most and least of something; the majority and the minority. How everyone ought to be accounted for no matter what. Further, within a moral being, there exists the idea of being an “expert” in something, yet not in other things. I am captivated by the idea that one does not need to be an expert or scholar of something (for the sake of clarity, morality), but it is evident to them, at least given the appearance of thorough consideration juxtaposed with holding a belief that is not as scrutinized, that there exists an ethical breach that is not disconcerting. That which appears to be at a glance merely a case of weakness of will, yet indicates a more nuanced perception of morality. I do not mean to be so abstract. This is actually a line of inquiry acquired only a few months prior, and I have had difficulty putting it into clearer terms.

As I am trying to formalize my interests, I believe my interest in variety initially stemmed from questions I have regarding sexuality. I have long been fascinated with its grip on humankind when compared to other “base desires”. It is a visceral feeling to deal with something that is considered quite personal and normal, yet to desire to subject it to philosophical scrutiny all the same.

Has your study of philosophy informed your day to day life or how you make decisions?

I practice philosophy every day. It is the only way to stay on top of it. The greatest revelation, one could argue, is that philosophy truly is everywhere. No one and nothing is exempt from it. It is legion. On a less poetic note, though, I do indeed inform my decisions everyday using philosophy. I do not believe in “keeping work at work”. I frequently find myself asking how I could do something which entirely concerns everyday life if I am not actually going to act as I say. That is one of the grand ironies of philosophy, I find. It is something which concerns everything, and yet is easy to keep locked away in the Ivory Tower. No matter how abstract something might be, I do everything to try and integrate it into routine.

What was your favorite philosophy class?

Ha! That is like picking children! In truth, I could not choose a single class, as it has all been instrumental in developing the way I think and pursue philosophy, and I cannot imagine being without their respective teachings. That said, if I had to name one in which I feel that many of the skills and axioms attained were demonstrated, it would be one of the last two classes, “Topics in Knowledge and Reality”, during my spring semester of senior year.

How has your minor and/or other major shaped your philosophical studies and vice versa?

My minor was history, and while I cannot say that there has been a great deal of interaction between the two thus far, I look forward to seeing how that arises in time.

Do you have a particular memory as a philosophy major at UPS that stands out to you?

During my senior year, I was taking a “Philosophy of Emotions” course with Professor Protasi. I had a reputation for run-on sentences and highfalutin language. As such, she challenged me to answer the daily writing prompts using no more than fifteen words per sentence. Though difficult at first, I was able to keep to this throughout the semester, and as a result, I found that my writing improved drastically. There was one instance, however, when I ended a sentence with the word “entelechy”, which, though a stretch, I thought at the time captured what I was trying to say. After submitting, I prepared to go to class, and the Professor walked by, having read the post. She stopped, looked at me and remarked “‘Entelechy?’ Really, Peter?”. Once again, my manic logophilia got the better of me. I will treasure that moment forever.

Do you have any advice for current philosophy students?

Firstly, the dictionary is not your friend! If you are asked the question “What is good?”, the worst thing you can do is look it up and offer it as part of your explanation. While it can be helpful for certain terminology, do not rely on it to get you far in philosophy. Secondly, philosophy must be practiced outside the classroom every day. This is not to say you are thinking about it constantly, but it is the only way to improve and to learn how philosophy is meant to have a chief place among decisions and day-to-day life.

Any final thoughts?

If you ever want to know if you are passionate about philosophy, you must be willing to speak about yourself a bit morbidly. Can you ask yourself “Can I live without this?” or can you say “I give myself wholeheartedly to this?” Perhaps you might even say to yourself “I have been called to the holy work (and nothing less)”. If you can do these things, do not fret, because even when people react with fright and worry, you will be able to rest in the knowledge that such words belie the most relentless optimism.  

Applications Open for PIKSI – Deadline January 31

PIKSI summer institutes are designed to encourage undergraduates from groups traditionally underrepresented in philosophy to consider future study of philosophy.  Undergraduates and recent graduates are urged to apply; groups traditionally underrepresented in (anglophone) philosophy include women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people, people from economically disadvantaged communities, people with disabilities, and people of color or people racialized as nonwhite, including Chicano/a/xs and Latino/a/xs, Indigenous people, Pacific Islanders, people of African descent, and people of Asian descent. Transportation and lodging are provided. Stipends are awarded to all.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Undergraduates – January 31, 2019

Graduate Assistants (PIKSI-Rock only) – January 31, 2019

PIKSI ROCK
Rock Ethics Institute/Penn State

Dates: June 17-28, 2019
Director: Kris Sealey, Fairfield University
Theme: Philosophy and Public Life
Speakers: Myisha Cherry, University of California, Riverside, Axelle Karera, Wesleyan University, Esme Murdock, San Diego State University, Yannik Thiem, Villanova University

PIKSI BOSTON
MIT/UMB

Dates: June 20-27, 2019*
Faculty Directors: Lisa Rivera, University of Massachusetts Boston & Keota Fields, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Graduate Directors: Mallory Weber, MIT & Marion Boulicault, MIT
Speakers: TBA

*to be confirmed 

For more information visit: piksi.org

Contact: info@piksi.org

SPONSORS: THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION, AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION – PENN STATE’S ROCK ETHICS INSTITUTE, COLLEGE OF THE LIBERAL ARTS, AND DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY – MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY – STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY – UNIVERSITY OF OREGON – UNIVERSITY OF IOWA – IRIS MARION YOUNG DIVERSITY SCHOLARS FUND – ANN ARBOR PHILOSOPHERS’ PIKSI FUNDING INITIATIVE – ASSOCIATION OF FEMINIST ETHICS AND SOCIAL THEORY – PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS-HARVARD UNIVERSITY-TUFTS UNIVERSITY

 

Joseph Stramondo Events Featured in “The Trail”

The Trail recently published an article about the recent Joseph Stramondo events titled “Lecture and documentary engage students in discussion of bioethics and disability.” The article, written by Mary Salmon, can be found on their website.

Although decisions regarding quality of life are entirely up to each individual person, non-disabled people tend to interpret the opinions of those who are disabled as being incorrect or invalid. Non-disabled people assume that adaptive preferences have played a role in compromising these outlooks on life as disabled people have “settled” for something less….

Stramondo continuously argued that the choices disabled people make are autonomous and highly reflective of their own well-being, not influenced by these concepts that non-disabled people have created. In this way, his lecture directly pertained to the philosophy department’s ongoing debates and discussions….

Both Stramondo’s lecture and the documentary are prime examples of the philosophy department’s integration of real-world discussion into its curriculum. Having held other lectures in the past, the department leaders are likely to host engaging events in the future, something Puget Sound students can look forward to.

joeStramondo1

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Heald.