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Department of Philosophy|College of Arts & Sciences

Contact Us

Department of Philosophy
Department Head:
Franz-Peter Griesmaier
Office Associate:
Clayleen Rivord
Ross Hall, Room 122
Dept. 3392
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: 307-766-3204
Fax: 307-766-2096
Email: philosophy@uwyo.edu
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Colloquium Series

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Wyoming provides a series of speakers throughout the semester on a variety of topics. Speakers and dates are available of upcoming events as well as past events.

Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

Fri., October 24, 2014

Dr. David Boonin, University of Colorado-Boulder, will present "The Experience Machine: Debunking the Debunking Arguments" on Fri., October 24, 2014 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118

  • Abstract: “Suppose there was an experience machine that would give you any experience you desired.   Super-duper neuropsychologists could stimulate your brain so that you would think and feel you were writing a great novel, or making a friend, or reading an interesting book.  All the time you would be floating in a tank, with electrodes attached to your brain. Should you plug into this machine for life, preprogramming your life experiences?”  Many philosophers believe that this thought experiment, first proposed by Robert Nozick in Anarchy, State and Utopia, can be used to generate a serious objection to the hedonistic account of human well-being.  Others, though, have developed a variety of responses to this objection.  These responses all attempt, in one way or another, to explain away the intuitions that most people seem to have about the case.  In this talk, Professor Boonin will explain the experience machine thought experiment and the strong objection to hedonism that is widely believed to be grounded in people’s intuitive responses to it.  He will then discuss the various debunking arguments that attempt to undermine the objection and will argue that none of them are successful.

Mon., November 17, 2014

Ph.D. Candidate, Joey Stenberg,  University of Colorado - Boulder, will present "Happiness on Earth (kind of) as it is in Heaven: Aquinas on Imperfect Happiness," on Mon., November 17, 2014 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118.

  • Abstract: What does it take to be happy here and now? Thomas Aquinas clearly wants to answer this question and central to his answer is the claim that happiness here and now is importantly like the happiness the saints enjoy in heaven. However, there is disagreement about how earthly happiness is like heavenly happiness and, consequently, there is disagreement about how we should understand Aquinas's answer to the question: What does it take to be happy here and now?

    In this paper, I argue that the two most common interpretations of Aquinas on this point are mistaken. I then advance a novel interpretation according to which Aquinas believes that what it is to be happy here and now is to be engaged in and enjoying a genuinely good activity. I take it that, on this interpretation, Aquinas's account is plausible, even when compared to contemporary accounts of what makes a human life go well for the one living it.

Past Events for the Current Year:

Mon., September 29, 2014

Dr. Naomi Reshotko, University of Denver, presented "Plato's Epistemological Paradox and Plato's Epistemological Project" 

  • Abstract: Plato’s primary epistemological project is to figure out what an object has to be like in order for it to be a possible object of knowledge while maintaining a high bar for what counts as knowledge.  Maintaining that there are such objects serves as the bottom line for putting together his theory of what knowledge is and whether or not human beings can have any.  Despite finding that these metaphysical considerations set up a paradoxical set of criteria for human knowledge.  Plato rejects neither the assumptions nor attempts to resolve the paradox and proceeds to come up with the best theory of human knowledge that these assumptions allow.

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