Puget Sound Students Present their Work at Pacific University Philosophy Conference

Three Puget Sound philosophy majors presented their work at the Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference last weekend.  They report getting good feedback on their projects, having good conversations with philosophy students from other colleges, and enjoying the keynote address by Daniel Dennett.  Here are their projects:


Lee Pennebaker ’15, “The Epistemological Significance and Implications of Belief Polarization”
Abstract: A principal assumption in the epistemology of disagreement is that we, as rational subjects, assess evidence neutrally in order to justify our beliefs. However, the existence of the phenomenon of Belief Polarization threatens the validity of this assumption. Belief Polarization brings to light significant claims about the nature of justification and belief forming processes, specifically concerning evidence gathering. As this paper will argue, once aware of the possibility of Belief Polarization, rational subjects should be less confident in the justification of their belief forming processes. In other words, rational subjects should not be fully confident in the truth of their beliefs.

SiWon2NewSi-Won Song ’15, “Theorizing Transgender Identities and Legitimacy”
Abstract: My goal in this paper is to provide theoretical grounding for thinking about transgender identity. The theory I will be proposing allows for responding to popular criticisms of transgender identity and shows potential problems with popular and influential theories about transgender identity. I will try to reconcile the two claims of transgender accounts that allude to natural gender and feminist theories that argue against it. I will take the approach that gender is not natural or cohesive, but try to still give theoretical justification for transgender identities.​

pacificUniversity - Version 2Conner Sabin ’15, “Subject Formation and Morality in Film”

Abstract: I seek to determine whether or not the social imaginary that is created and constructed by film can constitute the Self in a way that makes us better ethical actors. Using the film M as a guide, I walk through how the Self is pieced together, and the impact that watching movies has on creating moral scripts that we end up following ourselves.

Discussions on Ethics and Technology

The Philosophy Department invites you to join Maia Bernick ’15 for two discussions on the topic of Ethics and Technology. More specifically, the discussions will be considering the ethical dimensions surrounding the creation and use of various types of robotics. Each session will last approximately one hour, no philosophical background is necessary. Each event will start with a brief introduction to the topic and the rest of the time will consist of questions and group discussion.

APRIL 8, 7 p.m., Wyatt 109: “Can Robots Solve the Care Crisis?” We will be examining the use of Socially Assistive Robots as caregivers and medical assistants.

APRIL 22, 7 p.m., Wyatt 109: “Ethics After Dark: Human-Robot Relationships” Are there any ethical considerations that arise from relationships with robots?

Maia Philosophy Poster

Philosophy degree pays off

A philosophy degree pays off in many ways but it also pays off in terms of earnings.  There have been many articles pointing this out but check out this recent one.  Here is a brief excerpt:

 A philosophy degree earns more than an accounting degree

We talk a lot about the need for good jobs in America, but good-paying jobs often require certain skills. Engineering, science and technical degrees are seen as highly prized, and not without merit. However, you don’t necessary need to major in software development or computer science to go far in this world. You can make a good living with a philosophy degree…



I think, therefore I … make money! Graduates with philosophy degrees have “higher earnings potential than many other arts and humanities-related fields,” said TheRichest. Payscale reports midcareer median salaries are $84,000 for your modern day Kant or Descartes. Why? Well, let’s be logical. Which is exactly what philosophy programs require of students … logic. Thinking is hard, it requires analysis, and those who can do it well can get a good job … which is a good philosophy to have.

Career Services Philosophy Open House

CES Philosophy Open House

Wednesday, February 25 @ 4pm

Howarth 101

 The office of Career and Employment Services is having a special session for philosophy majors, minors, or students considering a philosophy major or minor.

 Come learn about what philosophy students have done after graduation, how to present the skills you acquire in your classes to employers, how to prepare a resume, where to search for internships and summer jobs, how to prepare for the career fair, and much more.

 If you have any questions, please contact:

Jennifer Allen-Ayres,
Career Advisor, Office of Career and Employment Services

Prof. Ariela Tubert,
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

Panel discussion on “Agency, Narrativity, and Oppression” today!

The panel discussion features the work of 3 Puget Sound Philosophy seniors and is part of the Race and Pedagogy National Conference taking place on campus.

“Agency, Narrativity, and Oppression”
Friday 9/26 from 12-1:15pm in McIntyre 203.

Ariela Tubert (Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Puget Sound), chair of the session
Maia Bernick ’15 (Philosophy major and Economics minor)
Austen Harrison ’15 (Philosophy/Political Theory/Classics major)
Si-Won Song ’15 (Philosophy major and Studio Art minor)

What effects does oppression have on a person’s identity and possibility for agency? On the one hand, it would seem that oppression has deep effects on a person’s identity and is ultimately limiting of a person’s agency. On the other hand, such a view may seem to leave the person who is subject to oppression without a possibility for liberation. If the agency of the oppressed is limited, then there seems to be little chance of self-liberation. But if agency under oppression is not limited, it would seem to be up to the oppressed to liberate themselves making it unclear why it seems so difficult and who is responsible for the continuing oppression. In this panel, we investigate the issue of agency and identity under oppression within the conceptual framework provided by the narrative view of personal identity. The narrative view of personal identity holds that a person’s identity is self-constituted by a narrative. We focus on this view because of its potential for both explaining oppression’s deep effect on a person’s identity (oppressive narratives are internalized) and the possibility of liberation through counter-narratives. Education’s liberatory role can also be understood within this framework as one of its roles would be to enable those who are subject to oppression to develop counter-narratives that allow for liberation.