Summer Undergraduate Diversity Institutes in Philosophy

Diversity institutes support students from groups underrepresented in the discipline of philosophy as they hone their philosophical interests, become part of a community, and gain insight into the graduate admissions process. Further details about each institute, including eligibility and application requirements, may be found on the APA page listing summer undergraduate diversity institutes in philosophy. Though these institutes are typically residential programs that occur at university campuses, most institutes will be held virtually this year.

More information here!

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Here comes Spring 2021!

Just another week or so and spring classes start! Students should know that if they are a philosophy minor or major, it may be that instructors are willing to add them to classes that are full. So, if a class you want is full, add your name to the waiting list on Banner, and let the instructor know that you are a philosophy minor/major, and you are interested in adding the class. Classes are not all the same, and there may be reasons why the instructor won’t be able to add you, but in every case (in Philosophy) it is worth asking about.

Best wishes for the coming term!

Intermountain Philosophy Conference

From the organizers at SUU:

Please find attached the schedule for the 2020 Intermountain Philosophy Conference, hosted as a virtual conference by Southern Utah University, taking place next Saturday, November 21, 2020. 

We are very pleased to have Daniel Graham joining us as our keynote speaker, with the presentation, “Socratic Philosophy as Therapy.” The abstract for the presentation can be found after the schedule. 

Zoom links will be sent next week. If you wish to attend the conference and you have not yet done so, please use this link to register so that we can ensure that you get the appropriate zoom information (full text of link included below). Feel free to forward the schedule and registration link to others who may be interested in in the conference. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday.

What do an addictions nurse and a stand-up comedian have in common?

They both majored in philosophy at USU! On Thursday evening, 7 p.m., we’ll have the chance to meet with Eric Bottelberghe and Aaron Orlovitz, two philosophy majors who went on to careers not normally associated with philosophy. But both would say that philosophy is crucial to what they do.

Zoom link:  https://usu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsdeipqTktHtOZP8H2ynIFj-GAxswUo2tn

Come to a Philosophy Club Talk this Friday!

Here is the link to register for the talk:

https://usu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAld-GoqzMjHdPwx7swy1us995Lk4fb1KLZ

Here is a description of the talk:

It Could’ve Been Beef

COVID-19 is linked to meat consumption, but it doesn’t seem to be causally connected to the meat that most Westerners eat. Rather, the cause of COVID-19 appears to be tied to the wildlife trade and not conventional animal agriculture. Nevertheless, animal advocates draw connections between pandemics and meat-eating in a way that seems to be designed to assign some kind of blame, or partial responsibility to, all meat eaters, including those with no connection to the wildlife trade, for the COVID-19 outbreak. Is this just confused, or can we make some sense of it?

In my talk, I’ll argue that Western meat eaters share responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic even if their behavior didn’t play a causal role in the production of this pandemic. In doing so, I’ll defend three different arguments: the argument from risky behavior, the argument from worsening impacts, and the argument from collective habits. I’ll moreover introduce and defend a new expansive notion of shared responsibility–non-causal counterfactual responsibility. As I will argue, because all meat eaters engage in pandemic-risky behavior, they are all part of the total “pandemic risk.” And because Western meat eaters contribute to the “pandemic risk,” they, too, are morally responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic (and factory farms, too, are morally responsible for the pandemic). After all, it could’ve been beef that caused a 2019 pandemic.

Hope to see you there!

“Gamification and Value Capture” by Dr. Thi Nguyen, University of Utah

Thursday at 4!

To register: https://usu-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIsfuihrDksEtyH2OgFe9C-PJZCQudwofbK

Value capture occurs when an agent’s values are rich and subtle; they enter a social environment that presents simplified — typically quantified — versions of those values; and those simplified articulations come to dominate their practical reasoning. Examples include becoming motivated by FitBit’s step counts, Twitter Likes and Retweets, citation rates, ranked lists of best schools, and Grade Point Averages. We are vulnerable to value capture because of the competitive advantage that such crisp and clear expressions of value have in our private reasoning and our public justification. But value capture poses several threats. First, value capture threatens to change the goals of our activities, in a way that often threatens to undermine the value of those activities. Twitter’s scoring system threatens to replace some of the richer goals of communication — understanding, connection, and the mutual pursuit of truth — with the thinner goals of getting likes and going viral. (See also, citation rates and impact factors). Second, in value capture, we take a central component of our autonomy — our ongoing deliberation over the exact articulation of our values — and we outsource it. And the metrics to which we outsource usually engineered for the interests of some external force, like a large-scale institution’s interest in bureaucratic management. That outsourcing cuts off one of the key benefits to personal deliberation. In value capture, we no longer adjust our values and their articulations in light of own rich experience of the world. Our values should be carefully tailored to our particular selves, but in value capture, we buy our values off the rack.