Philosophy Department Events

Upcoming Events

Spring 2018

February 9, 2018
“Silence and Salience: The Ethics of Being Judgmental”

Lecture by Neal Tognazzini, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University

Abstract: Part of being adult is realizing that just because something is true doesn’t mean you should say it. But here’s a more controversial maxim: just because it’s true doesn’t mean you should think it. This is more controversial because although it’s reasonable to expect someone to have the self-control necessary to refrain from saying every little thing that crosses their mind, it’s unclear whether anyone has control over what crosses their mind in the first place. And yet we do criticize people for being judgmental, and it sure seems that sometimes such a criticism is warranted. In this talk, I plan to explore the way that our involvement in interpersonal relationships ought to structure our thoughts. My thesis will be that to care about someone is to be oriented toward them, or to see them through a particular mental lens, in a way that produces a particular pattern of salience and silence. That is: caring about someone (at least ideally) has the effect of making some features of that person particularly salient, and silencing or screening off other features from one’s consciousness. One is aptly described as judgmental when one’s thoughts do not display this sort of pattern, indicating a failure to fully adopt the orientation that constitutes properly caring about the person.

February 22, 2018
"Why Study Philosophy Cross-Culturally and Comparatively? An Applied Case from the Chinese Philosophy of Medicine"
Lecture by Wenqing Zhao, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Whitman College

Abstract: We live in increasingly multicultural and cosmopolitan worlds where different people abide by different normative regimens. Modern people are called upon to comprehend how others understand the content and contours of a good human life. In this talk, I explore a variety of popular reasons to study culturally-situated philosophies. In particular, I give an applied case of conceptualizing health and wellness in light of the Chinese philosophy of medicine. In this Chinese context, health is not understood as a resource for life or objective of living. It is an integrated way of life centered around the concept of nurturing life (yangsheng 养生).  This Chinese perspective, which has endured and continued to inform the everyday life of Chinese people all around the world, raises important questions for its Western counterpart: Is health best understood as a resource for life fulfillment? Is illness the opposite of health? What is the appropriate healthy state that we should desire? In this case, Chinese philosophy enables us to critically reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of conventional thinking about health and wellness in the West.

Fall 2017 Events

September 22, 2017
"The Perfect Bikini Body: Can We Really All Have It? Loving Gaze as an Anti-Oppressive Beauty Ideal"
Lecture by Prof. Sara Protasi

October 25, 2017
"Reconciling Environmental Heritage by Transformative Justice: Confronting Environmental Racism Century after Century"
Lecture by Prof. Robert Melchior Figueroa (Oregon State University)

November 1, 2017
SHOT: A performance by the Spectrum Dance Theater
This event is sponsored by the Chism Lecture in Humanities and Arts Endowment, the Matthew Norton Clapp Visiting Artist Fund, the Department of Philosophy, and the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement. This event is also supported by African-American Studies, Theater Arts, CWLT, and Gender Queer Studies.

November 3, 2017
"From Philosophy to Law"
Talk by alumna Maia Bernick '15

Selected Past Events


February 17, 2017  
Philosophy Day
1:00 - 5:00 pm  Murray Boardroom, Wheelock Student Center
Student Presentations:
1:00—1:30 pm   Jenny Paul, “Compatibilism and the Degrees of Influence:  An Analysis of the Morality of the Self and its Relation to the External”
1:30—2:00 pm   Eric Ralph, “The Paradox of Psychology:  Replication Crises as Opportunities”
2:00—2:30 pm   Steven Baptiste, “Justice as Harmony—Plato’s use of Literary Symbolism in the Republic:  Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Socrates”
2:30—3:00 pm   Conor O’Keefe, “The Advantages of Dogmatic Metaphysics over Kantian Synthetic Metaphysics”
3:00—3:30 pm   Coffee Break
3:30—5:00 pm   Ethics Bowl

April 3, 2017
Rational Devotion and Human Perfection
Lecture by Prof. Christina Chuang (Nanyang Technical University, Singapore)

April 17, 2017
Humeanism and the Categorical Character of Epistemic Normativity
Lecture by Prof. Neil Mehta (Yale-NUS College, Singapore) 

Fall 2016

September 23, 2016
Racist Things: How Biases Get Materialized in the World
Lecture by Prof. Shen-yi Liao (Puget Sound). We find implicit and explicit racial biases in individuals' minds. We find conventionalized and codified racial biases in social structures. And, this talk will argue, we find covert and overt racial biases in mundane physical things. The recognition of "racist things" and its relation to other manifestations of racial biases allows us to better understand challenges in changing minds and changing social structures.

October 7, 2016
"First Friday @ Four" Department Tea
Join us for philosophical discussion and refreshments.

October 11, 2016
Arbitrary Reference is Pluri Reference
Lecture by Dr. Eric Guindon (University of Connecticut).

October 28, 2016
Philosophy Department Fall Party
Spend time with philosophy students and professors outside of class! Play games, eat pizza, and enjoy casual philosophical conversations.

November 4, 2016
"First Friday @ Four" Department Tea
Join us for philosophical discussion and refreshments.

November 16, 2016
The Center for Social Justice as a Transformational Space on Campus: A Model
Lecture by Professor of Philosophy Sherri Irvin (University of Oklahoma). The University of Oklahoma Center for Social Justice was created in 2008 within the Women’s and Gender Studies program. The CSJ is now a hub for social-justice-related initiatives. This presentation offers a model for creating a CSJ given limited resources and discusses how a CSJ can intervene in a conservative campus climate.

December 2, 2016
"First Friday @ Four" Department Tea
Join us for philosophical discussion and refreshments.

Spring 2016

February 12-13, 2016
Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Keynote addresses by Prof. Sara Goering (University of Washington, Department of Philosophy) and Prof. David Wong (Duke University, Department of Philosophy).

April 4, 2016
Philosophy Department Party
Spend time with philosophy students and professors outside of class! Play games like Philosophy Jeopardy and Name That Philosopher, learn about your professors' favorite philosophers, and enjoy casual philosophical conversations.

Fall 2015

September 25, 2015
Philosophy Department Pizza Party
Meet and greet with the Philosophy professors and other students interested in Philosophy, find out about upcoming activities and courses for spring, get involved in planning the Philosophy Conference, and more.

October 22, 2015
A New Paradigm of Anti-Racism: Why Discourse of White Privilege, Justice, and Equality Do Not Work
Lecture by Prof. Naomi Zack (Oregon) presenting a new way to think about racial oppression and other forms of current injustice. Read more about this event here.

October 27, 2015
Rachel Lark Concert
Rachel Lark performs her original songs, talks about feminism and sex-positivity, and takes questions from the audience.  Read more about this event here.

October 28, 2015
A Theory of Everything that Exists in the Entire World
Prof. Justin Tiehen (Puget Sound) delivers the the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Magee Address. The talk examines the prospects of Physicalism, focusing especially on potential problems for the view that arise in connection with attempts to provide Physicalistic explanations of consciousness, of normativity (including morality), and of absences (things that don’t happen).  Read more about the talk here.


Spring 2015

April 8, 2015
Can Robots Solve the Care Crisis?
Maia Bernick ’15 leads the first discussion in the series Ethics and Technology: “Can Robots Solve the Care Crisis?” We examine the use of Socially Assistive Robots as caregivers and medical assistants. Read more about this event here and here.

April 22, 2015
Ethics After Dark: Human-Robot Relationships
Maia Bernick ’15 will be leading the second discussion in the series Ethics and Technology: “Ethics After Dark: Human-Robot Relationships.”. The session focused on the ethical considerations that may arise from relationships with robots. 

May 5, 2015
The Art of Thought Experiments: Exhibit and Opening Reception
A series of paintings by Si-Won Song ’15 depicting famous thought experiments in philosophy using as models various faculty and students from the Department of Philosophy at Puget Sound.  Read more about the exhibit here and here.


Fall 2014

September 26, 2014
Agency, Narrativity, and Oppression
A panel discussion featuring the work of three Puget Sound Philosophy seniors. Part of the Race and Pedagogy National Conference. Read more about the panel here and about the conference here.

October 3, 2014
What is so special about agency? Constitutivism and Inescapability
A talk by Prof. Luca Ferrero (Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  Read more about the talk here.

September 18-19, 2014
Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Keynote address “Moments of a Life: Some Similarities Between Life and Literature”by Prof. Marya Schechtman (Illinois-Chicago).  You can read more about the talk and conference here and here.


Spring 2014

March 24, 2014
The Stumbling Democracy in the Middle East: Challenges and Prospects
A talk by Prof. Aseel Alawadhi (Kuwait University) about democracy in the Middle East.

April 22, 2014
A Defense of a Weak Linguistic Relativist Thesis
Prof. Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana (UT-Austin) discusses the relationship between language, culture, and thought. He argues that some aspects of language mold some aspects of thought and that language could provide new patterns to adequately accomplish certain social interactions.  Read more about this event here.


Fall 2013

October 16, 2013
Student/Faculty Conversation: "Knowledge and Its Limits"
What affects or limits what we can know about the universe? Lively conversation and refreshments as we discuss what we know and how we know it from a range of different perspectives. Participants include: Jim Evans (STS & Physics), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), Leslie Saucedo (Biology), Mike Spivey (Math & Computer Science), Katherine Smith (History), David Latimer (Physics), Suzanne Holland (Religious Studies), Andrew Gardner (Sociology and Anthropology) and Kristin Johnson (STS).

October 30, 2013
Philosophy Pizza Party 
Interested in philosophy? Learn about Spring courses, inquire about the major, find out what becomes of philosophy graduates, and enjoy some good conversation. 

November 14, 2013
The Skeptical Nature of Nietzsche’s "Immoralism"
A talk by Prof. Jessica Berry (Georgia State), Puget Sound Class of '94.  You can read more about the event here.

December 2, 2013
The New Religious Intolerance 
Prof. Martha Nussbaum, professor of law and philosophy (University of Chicago), delivers the Swope Endowed Lecture on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values.  You can read more about the talk here.


Spring 2013

February 4, 2013
Becoming Who We Already Are: Repetition and Human Existence in Heidegger’s Being and Time
A talk by Prof. Nate Zuckerman (Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy).

March 5, 2013
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Philosophy and Political Theory Film Series)
Film screening followed by a discussion with Alisa Kessel (Politics & Government), Justin Tiehen & Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

April 26, 2013
Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Keynote address "Humor and Morality" by Prof. Noël Carroll (CUNY Graduate Center).  You can read more about this event here and here.


Fall 2012

September 25, 2012
Film "Apocalypse Now"
Film screening followed by discussion with Alisa Kessel (Politics & Government), Justin Tiehen & Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

September 27, 2012
Talks by Scott Soames
Prof. Scott Soames (USC) gives talks titled, “Language, Meaning, and Information: A Case Study on the Path From Philosophy to Science” and "Language, Thought, and Information."  You can read more about these events here.

October 18, 2012
Must Physicalism Imply the Supervenience of the Mental on the Physical?
A talk by Dr. Barbara Gail Montero (City University of New York Graduate Center and College of Staten Island).  You can read more about this event here.

October 30, 2012
Film "Bellflower"
Film screening followed by a discussion with Alisa Kessel (politics and government); Justin Tiehen (philosophy); Ariela Tubert (philosophy); and Paul Loeb (philosophy).


Spring 2012

January 20, 2012
Time-slices, Banana-Stages, and the Problem of Change
A lecture by Visiting Assistant Professor Johanna Wolff.

January 31, 2012
Film "The Minority Report"
Film screening followed by discussion with Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), and Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

February 28, 2012
Film "The Battle of Algiers"
Film screening followed by discussion with Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), and Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

March 30, 2012
Puget Sound Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
Papers being presented by students from various universities, and comments by Puget Sound students. In addition, a keynote address delivered by Prof. Niko Kolodny (UC Berkeley).  You can read more about this event here and here.

April 24, 2012
Film "Breaking the Code"
Film screening followed by a discussion with Alisa Kessell (Politics & Government), Ariela Tubert (Philosophy), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy) and Douglas Cannon (Philosophy).

Fall 2011

September 19, 2011
Thought and Isomorphism in Aristotle
A lecture by Prof. Robert Colter (Wyoming), Puget Sound Class of 1992.

September 20, 2011
Ethical Reductionism
A guest lecture by Prof. Neil Sinhababu (National University of Singapore).

September 27, 2011
Film "Clockwork Orange"
The first film of the Philosophy and Political Theory Film Series 2011-2012 is Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Join us for a screening of the film followed by a discussion led by Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), and Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

October 7, 2011
Philosophy Summer Research Presentations
Two students will be giving presentations on their philosophy summer research projects: Kevin Halasz: “A Foundation for Arithmetic” and Johnston Hill: “The Best Explanation: A Defense of Scientific Realism”

October 28, 2011
Philosophy Reception
Learn about Spring courses, get to know philosophy faculty and students, inquire about the major, ask what becomes of philosophy graduates, and enjoy some good conversation. Philosophy majors, minors, and students interested in taking some philosophy are welcome!

November 1, 2011
Film "V for Vendetta"
The second film in The 2011-2012 Philosophy and Political Theory Film Series. A screening of V for Vendetta, followed by discussion led by Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), and Ariela Tubert (Philosophy).

November 7, 2011
What Morrissey’s Lament Teaches Us About The Philosophy of Memory
A guest lecture by Tony Bezsylko (Ph.C., Berkeley).

December 1, 2011
Philosophy and the Occupy Movement
An open discussion of the philosophical ideas arising from the Occupy Movement. Discussion led by: Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Ariela Tubert (Philosophy), and Matthew Parrott (Philosophy).


Spring 2011

January 24, 2011
Talk by Prof. Gary Shapiro (University of Richmond). Co-sponsored by Philosophy, Honors, Humanities, STS, EPDM, and Geology.

Talk by Prof. Gary Shapiro (University of Richmond). Co-sponsored by Philosophy, Honors, Humanities, STS, EPDM, and Geology.

March 1, 2011
Film "Blade Runner"
Part of the Philosophy and Political Theory Film Series. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Alisa Kessel from the Politics and Government Department and Justin Tiehen and Ian Schnee from the Philosophy Department.

April 8, 2011
Virtue and the Demands of Morality
Lecture by Prof. Joel Martinez (Lewis and Clark College).


Fall 2010

October 22, 2010
Illness as Metaphor: The German Romantic Legend of Disease
A lecture by Prof. Irina Ruvinsky (School of the Art Institute of Chicago).


Spring 2010

February 9, 2010
Film "The Lives of Others"
Followed by a discussion with Alisa Kessel (Politics & Government), Ariela Tubert (Philosophy), and Justin Tiehen (Philosophy).

March 9, 2010
Film "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema"
Film screening followed by an informal discussion led by Alisa Kessel (Politics and Government), Justin Tiehen (Philosophy), and Ariela Tubert (Philosophy). 

March 8, 2010
Evolution and Ethics: Sex and the Scala Naturae
Prof. Marlene Zuk (UC Riverside, Department of Biology) gives the third and final talk in the Collier Committee Lecture Series: Evolution and Ethics.

April 13, 2010
Film "The Prestige"
Followed by discussion with Justin Tiehen and Ariela Tubert from Philosophy and Alisa Kessel from Politics & Government.


Fall 2009

September 24, 2009
Evolution and Ethics: A Philosopher’s Perspective
Prof. Geoff Sayre-McCord (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) gives the second lecture in the Collier Committee Lecture Series on Evolution and Ethics.

October 7, 2009
Student Philosophy Talks
Two senior philosophy majors give presentations on their summer 2009 research projects: “The Tripartition of the Soul and Plato’s Moral Psychology” by Jed Hafner and “The Politics of Language: A Research Survey of J. Searle, J. Butler, and J. Habermas” by Andrew Fink.

October 27, 2009
Film "Philosophy is in the Streets"
The movie is a documentary by director Astra Taylor, and it contains interviews with the philosophers and theorists Kwame Anthony Appiah, Judith Butler, Michael Hardt, Martha Nussbaum, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Sunaura Taylor, Cornel West, and Slavoj Zizek. The film is especially concerned with the “practical applications of these thinkers’ ideas. Following the screening of the film there will be discussion led by Alisa Kessel from Politics and Government, Justin Tiehen from Philosophy, and Ariela Tubert from Philosophy.

November 17, 2009
Film "Wittgenstein"
A kind of “filmed play” about the life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century, and someone who lived a pretty fascinating life.  It was directed by Derek Jarman and written by Terry Eagleton. Discussion immediately afterward.


Spring 2009:

April 6, 2009
Evolution and Ethics: A Historian's Perspective
Prof. Paul Farber (Oregon State, Department of HIstory) gives the first lecture in the Collier Committee Lecture Series on Evolution and Ethics.

April 8, 2009
The Intellectual Vision Thing
Prof. David Sosa (University of Texas at Austin) gives a talk on the nature of intuition — is intuition a kind intellectual vision? David Sosa was the dissertation advisor for both Ariela Tubert and Justin Tiehen at the University of Texas.

April 30, 2009
Can We Make Promises to Ourselves? Yes and No
A guest lecture by Lauren Fleming (Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at Georgetown University).

May 12, 2009
From Friendship to Political Obligation
A guest lecture by Nina Brewer-Davis (Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at University of California, San Diego).