Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations to all our philosophy and religious studies students who are graduating this semester.

  • Nicollette Carmack, Philosophy Major, Academic Excellence in Philosophy Award, Phi Sigma Tau
  • Jonathan Cordova, Philosophy Major, Accomplished Student In Philosophy Award
  • Jim Fletcher, Philosophy Major, Religious Studies Minor, Outstanding Student in Religious Studies Award
  • Jared Laughlin, Philosophy Major
  • Maxwell Spangler, Philosophy Major
  • Samuel McMillin, Philosophy Minor
  • Alex Deters, Religious Studies Minor

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nigel Warburton –Cosmopolitanism

It’s not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity.
Nigel Warburton –Cosmopolitanism

You can read more about Cosmopolitanism at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. See also this interview with Kwame Anthony Appiah at Mother Jones.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lesser-Known Trolley Problem Variations.

Test your moral intuitions against these variations of the famous Trolley Problem. Here's one:
There’s an out of control trolley speeding towards Immanuel Kant. You have the ability to pull a lever and change the trolley’s path so it hits Jeremy Bentham instead. Jeremy Bentham clutches the only existing copy of Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Kant holds the only existing copy of Bentham’s The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Both of them are shouting at you that they have recently started to reconsider their ethical stances.
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Lesser-Known Trolley Problem Variations.

You can find yet another variation here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Philosophy of Markets

3:AM Magazine interviews Liza Herzog, whose research focuses on the relation between economics and philosophy.
Economic models make simplifying assumptions about human agency and about social interaction. If one only used these models to answer the questions they are supposed to answer, taking into account their methodological limitations, there wouldn’t be any problem. But often they are used to make much wider claims. For example, predications are based on a theoretical model, but with insufficient discussion of whether the assumptions of the model also hold in reality. Along the way, one often finds that normative judgments sneak in, but without being made explicit. Thus, one cannot even ask critical questions, for example whether certain theories serve the interests of certain social groups – whether they are ideologies in the classical sense.
Philosophy of Markets » 3:AM Magazine

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Philosophers' Cafe Topic: Nothing!

Zero and infinity. Dangerous ideas? Some thought so. We'll have a great discussion. You can count on it.

Philosophers' Cafe
April 23 from 3:00-4:30
GH 316

Philosophers' Cafe

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Kierkegaard on the Individual vs. the Crowd, Why We Conform, and the Power of the Minority

Truth always rests with the minority … because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion.
Kierkegaard on the Individual vs. the Crowd, Why We Conform, and the Power of the Minority | Brain Pickings

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Philosophy from the Zettabyte

The best philosophy (the one you find on the crests of the sine wave) has always combined a high degree of control with very powerful ideas. And this is what I hope a post-analytic-continental divide perspective may regain. It is certainly what we need today. As for the philosophy of information, I can only hope that it will mature into a first philosophy. Anything less and it will have failed in its task of providing us with the powerful and controlled ideas that we need to shape and make sense of the human project in the twenty-first century.

Philosophy from the Zettabyte » 3:AM Magazine

Thursday, April 02, 2015


All students of Sociology, Anthropology, or Philosophy (majors, minors, and focus) are invited to submit a paper for the 2015 Departmental Essay Contest. The authors of the selected papers will each be awarded a $200 prize; the winning authors will be expected to submit their papers to one of the Kentucky professional societies for the discipline (e.g., KPA, KAS, or ASK, see descriptions below). Students who attend professional meetings may receive up to an additional $100 to support conference attendance and fees for the 2015-2016 meetings.

Paper Guidelines:
Submissions on any philosophical, sociological or anthropological topic are welcome.  Students can submit up to two papers for consideration. Papers should be written for a multi-disciplinary audience and will be evaluated by faculty in all three disciplines in the Department. Papers should not exceed 3,000 words, they should be formatted according to discipline standards (e.g., ASA, MLA, AAA), and should be prepared for blind review. Include the following information as a cover page in a file separate from the paper.  Name the cover file as “Cover_LastName_Discipline.” Name the paper the same as the title:

1) Title of paper
2) 150-word abstract
3) Author’s name
4) Author’s major
5) Author’s email address and a phone contact

Papers should be emailed as two attachments—cover page and paper—in Word to Dr. Sharyn Jones ( on or before April 15th  with Departmental Essay Contest in the subject line.

Examples of specifics for different KY professional societies, see the following websites:          

**If you find another conference you would like to present at (that is not listed below), please have it approved by the Department Chair or the Program Coordinator.

Kentucky Philosophical Association (KPA):

--Papers for the annual meeting are generally due mid-February 2016.