Tea Time! Philosophy and Mormonism

We’ll have an open discussion over Zoom about the adventures in relating philosophical inquiry to one’s faith: Wednesday, Feb 24, 4:30. Below is a description, and a Zoom link. All are welcome! Bring your own beverage of choice!

As a religious tradition, the LDS faith seeks to answer fundamental questions about who we are, what role we occupy in the universe, and how we should live our lives. It represents in many ways a deviation and synthesis of religious concepts and faiths that came before it. Philosophy also deals with fundamental questions about goodness, reality, and truth. It is thus natural that there will be intersections between Mormonism and philosophy. There has been a long debate in various branches of Mormonism about how the LDS faith and philosophy should interact with one another.

This event will be an opportunity to ask some questions that you might have about this interaction. Dr. Otteson has taken different positions on these sorts of questions throughout his life and has been close to a wide variety of people in and around the LDS faith who have also thought a lot about these questions. Join him for a lively discussion!

Zoom link: https://usu-edu.zoom.us/j/89491352291?pwd=WGVGVG1ua0J3NEhwMzY3NEF6ZzBmdz09

Please join us for a Philosophy Club talk by Dr. Michael Otteson titled, “Decisive Indecision: A Critique of Kantian Perfectionism”

We are lucky to have Dr. Michael Otteson with us this year as a Visiting Assistant Professor. On Thursday, February 11th at 4:30 p.m. on Zoom, Dr. Otteson will deliver a talk to the Philosophy Club titled, “Decisive Indecision: A Critique of Kantian Perfectionism”. The Zoom link and talk description are provided below. We hope to see you there!


I argue against theories of perfectionism that root normativity in the activity of rational deliberation.  These theories, which I collectively call Kantian perfectionism, assert that the human good is found in making careful, rational choices about what we want to do with our lives that respect and protect our capacity to be rational agents.  I argue that these theories are inadequate as normative theories because they fail the Terminal Requirement.  The Terminal Requirement holds that an intrinsic or ultimate good, whatever that may be, must not be entirely directed at finding some other good, lest it devolve into infinite regress or futility.  Insofar as Kantian perfectionism recommends an activity (rational deliberation) that involves determining what the agent has most reason to do, it will either find some good beyond deliberation itself or fail on its own terms.   

Virtual student symposium

Please find below a call for papers for the Spring 2021 virtual student research symposium, hosted by the Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies, to be held April 16, 2021.  The symposium will be held virtually on Zoom this year. 

If you are in a philosophy class, you may want to think about developing a paper you will be writing into a presentation. Talk to your professor about it!

Please announce this in your classes and encourage students to be involved. Students are invited to submit abstracts to Dr. Ko-yin Sung [koyin.sung[at]usu.edu] by Friday, March 19.  Students wanting to be considered for the Best Paper Award should submit complete papers to Dr. Sung by March 26.

Phi Sigma Tau call for members!

USU is home to a chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the national honors society in philosophy. Due to the quarantine, we are long overdue for an admission of new members. But we will go ahead with an online induction ceremony next month.

To join Phi Sigma Tau, you need to meet the following requirements:

• You must have completed 1.5 semesters at USU;
• You must have a 3.3 cumulative GPA;
• You must have completed (or are now completing) three Philosophy classes;
• You must have a B average in your Philosophy classes.

Note that you need not be a minor or major in Philosophy. Membership in the national organization costs $25.

If you meet the criteria, and would like to join PST, please send an email mentioning your interest to charlie.huenemann@usu.edu.

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!

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.