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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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