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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
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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 2015 - Spring 2016

Monday-Tuesday, November 16 & 17, 2015 - Veritas Forum

Dr. Sam Newlands, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame University, will be presenting as part of the Veritas Forum. 

  • Monday, November 16 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building Room 142, Dr. Newlands will present, "Spinoza, Leibniz, and the Metaphysics of Perfection."
    • Abstract: Spinoza seems to reject appeals to perfection in metaphysics, on the grounds that perfection, like good and evil, are too mind-dependent to do any serious explanatory work. However, Spinoza himself invokes perfection throughout his own metaphysics, raising questions of consistency. After resolving this tension, I argue that Spinoza uses his purely metaphysical account of perfection to reach startling ontological conclusions. I then turn to two advocates of similar accounts of metaphysical perfection, hailing from very different eras: the young Leibniz and Jonathan Schaffer. Lastly, I question whether Leibniz can maintain his starkest account of metaphysical perfection and avoid substance monism.
  • Tuesday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the A&S Auditorium will be a public lecture by Dr. Newlands and Dr. Susanna Goodin (UW), "Reckoning with Evil; God, Hope, and Philosophy." 
  • Thursday, November 19 there will be a follow up dinner and discussion hosted by the Philosophy Club at 6:00 p.m. in CR 118

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dr. David Shoemaker, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Tulane University, will present "Empathy, Psychopathy, and Responsibility" on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118.

  • Abstract: A promising strategy for figuring out what makes paradigm agents morally responsible is looking at “marginal agents,” people who seem to have one foot in and one foot out of the moral responsibility community, in order to see what’s missing in them that is necessary for paradigm moral agency. The go-to marginal agent for many moral theorists interested in this strategy has been psychopaths. For those thinking they are not morally responsible, it has been thought to be in virtue of their incapacity for (or mitigated) empathy. Consequently, empathy is thought to be one necessary condition for paradigm moral responsibility.

    However, there have been three major recent attacks on the thought that empathy is necessary for morality, namely, (a) we’re just too bad at it for it to be a condition for morality, (b) empathy is actually morally pernicious; and (c) the moral understanding allegedly delivered by empathy can be reached in numerous alternative ways. In this presentation, I will show how empathy really is essential for moral responsibility, and in so doing I will defend it from all three of these attacks. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dr. Adam Thompson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and former UW Philosophy Graduate Student, will present "Blame and the Humean Theory of Motivation," on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 118.

  • Abstract: The paper primarily argues that employing the Humean Theory of Motivation (HTM) to account for the nature of blame is unmotivated (unless one already ascribes to HTM) and problematically distorts the target psychological phenomenon it aims to capture. I conclude by drawing attention to the fact that this result not only supports accounts of blame that employ an Anti-Humean Theory of Motivation, also gives us reason to adopt the Anti-Humean Theory of Motivationto account for the intimate connection between moral judgment and motivation more broadly independent of considerations about the nature of motivation.

Prior academic year events can be viewed in the "past events" link.

Be sure to check back for more information on future lectures.

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