Ross Hall, Room 122
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
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.
Dr. Richard Kraut, Northwestern University, "Against Absolute Goodness"
Abstract: G. E. Moore claimed in Principia Ethica that the one reason we have for undertaking any action is that it will produce the most absolute good. What he meant by “absolute” goodness is what others call “impersonal” goodness: it is a matter of something’s being good (period), not it’s being good for someone, or good of a kind (a good poem, a good job). Although many philosophers have rejected Moore’s thesis that absolute goodness is the only thing that provides us with good reasons, it is still widely believed that this is at least one kind of good reason. Why, they ask, should we value knowledge, or virtue, or pleasure? They reply: because these things are, quite simply, good things. My paper will cast doubt on whether this is a good answer. I will be suggesting that there may be no such property as absolute goodness.
Graduate Student, Tyler Hildebrand of Colorado State University, "Genuine Empirical Metaphysics"
Abstract: In this paper, I present a new empirical method of practicing metaphysics. The method avoids appeals to intuitions, ordinary beliefs, scientific theories, and the like. It does not accept basic principles of simplicity, unity, and the like. Instead, it proceeds from logic, analytic principles, and observation statements alone. This is noteworthy for two principal reasons. First, the defense of this method corrects the unfortunate (but almost universally accepted) misperception that British empiricism precludes the practice of metaphysics. Second, the core of the method shows that observation statements are relevant to metaphysical theories, and thus that metaphysics can be empirically informed without appealing to realistically interpreted scientific theories. Since the core of the method relies on very minimal assumptions, it can be employed by metaphysicians with a wide variety of epistemological positions. After presenting this method, I explain how it relates to Quine's empirical method of determining ontological commitments and discuss its implications for some recent debates in metaontology. (Time permitting, I shall quickly sketch how the method can be employed to argue for the existence of governing laws of nature.)
Dr. Susan Wolf, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Good-for-nothings"
Abstract: Many people think that inanimate objects can only be good if they are good for someone whose existence is itself good. This might explain why the epithet “good-for-nothing” is a term of abuse. But such a view cannot make sense of our experience or of our judgments about art and philosophy. These are not good because they benefit us; rather, they benefit us because they are good. This can explain why writing good philosophy or creating good art can be worthwhile even if it does not increase anyone’s welfare. It also encourages us to take seriously the claims of deep ecologists who say that what is good in nature is not dependent on its interest for us.
Dr. Ned Markosian, Western Washington University, "A New Answer to the Special Composition Question"
Abstract: When do several objects compose a further object? The last twenty years have seen a great deal of discussion of this question. According to the most popular view on the market, there is a physical object composed of your brain and Jeremy Bentham’s body. According to the second-most popular view, there are no such objects as human brains or human bodies, and there are also no atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. And according to the third-ranked view, there are human bodies, but still no brains, atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. Although it’s pleasant to have so many crazy-sounding views around, it would also be nice to have a commonsense option available. The aim of this paper is to offer such an option. The approach I offer begins by considering a mereological question other than the standard one that has been the focus of most discussions in the literature. I try to show that the road to mereological sanity begins with giving the most straightforward and commonsensical answer to this other question, and then extending that answer to further questions about the mereology of physical objects. On the approach I am recommending, it turns out that all of the mereological properties and relations of physical objects are determined by their spatial properties and relations.
Pablo Zavala, UW Graduate Student
"Ideally Necessary Laws of Nature,"
Dr. Candace Upton, Denver
"One-Off Situations and Direct v.s. Indirect Virtue Ethical Theories,"
Dr. Carlos Mellizo,
University of Wyoming
"Philosophy and Literature: On Literary Plots or Why Godot Never Shows Up,"
Candice Shelby, of Colorado State University-Boulder
"A Semanitc Approach to Understanding Addictive Thinking,"
Dr. Dennis Whitcomb, of Washington State University
award winning paper, "Grounding and Omniscience"
Catala, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder
"Beyond Political Legitimacy: Reframing the Normative Question of Secession,"
Dr. Stephen Darwalll,
Professor of Philosophy at Yale University
Christian Lee, Graduate Student at the University of Colorado-Boulder
"Intrinsic and Conditional Final Value,"
Dr. Jan Zwicky, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria in Canada
Professor Juan Arnau of the University of Barcelona
"Philosophy on Stage: Theatricality and Logic in Ancient India,"
Dr. Julia Driver, of Washington University in St. Louis
"Defending Objective Consequentialism,"
Dr. Roy Sorensen, of Washington University in St. Louis
Ian Harmon, UW Graduate Student in Philosophy
"Specificity and Know How Attribution"
Dr. Phil Holt, UW Professor of Classics
"The Trial of Socrates, in Context. or, Did Socrates Have it Coming?"
Franz-Peter Griesmaier, UW Professor of Philosophy
"Induction and Modal Commitment"
Andrew Seremetis, UW Graduate Student
"Can Funtionalism Accommodate Extended Cognition?"
Joe Mayes, UW Graduate Student
"Intention and Permissibility: on the Highway to Hell?"
Thomas Metcalf, PhD Student at University of Colorado-Boulder
"Synthetic Identificationism and the Normativity of Epistemic Justification"
Dr. Manuel Escamilla, Professor at the University of Granada-Spain
"The City with Almost Perpendicular Streets: Mill & the Liberation of Women,"
Dr. Matt McGrath, Professor at University of Missouri-Columbia
9/1/09 - Kaiser Ethics lecture
Dr. Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy & International Affairs of Yale University
"Health Care Reform for the U.S. and the World's Poor,"
"How to Understand Kant's Transcendental Idealism,"
Dr. Carlos Mellizo
"Mill on Religion: A New Look"
Dr. Robert Koons
Click here to view his talk.
"Intuition, Causation, and Explanation"
Dr. David Barnett
Dr. Nicholas D. Smith
"Plato on the Power of Ignorance"
Dr. Steve Crowley
"Intuition & Calibration"
Dr. David Sosa
"Ulysses Contracts and the Significance of Consent"
"Can Gratitude Serve as a Basis for Political Obligation?"
May 13 - 17, 2008
Society for Exact Philosophy Conference
Beth Tropman, "Renewing Moral Intuitionism"
Mark van Roojen, "Moral Rationalism and Rational Amoralism"
"Nature and the City or The Utility of Hunting"
"Consciousness and Essential Embodiment"
"Justice, Development, and Just Development: An Institutional Analysis of Development"
Christina Van Dyke
"Ethical Vegetarianism: Feminist Obligation or Patriarchal Burden?"
"Billboards, Bombs and Shotgun Weddings: A Case for Content Relativism"
10/8/06, Kaiser Ethics Lecture
Stephen J. Macedo
"US Immigration Policy & Social Justice
"Sex and Commerce: Feminist Approaches "
"The Matrix as Metaphysics" and "Probability and Propositions."
"The Design Argument" and "Epiphenomenalism - Do's and Don'ts"
"Science, Society, and the Value of Good Philosophy"
"Norms of Rationality and Levels of Epistemic Sophistication"
"When Good People do BadThings"
"Francisco Sanchez of Tui (1550-1623) & the New Science"
"After Medieval Philosophy, What? An Essay on Periodization"
"How to See With Your Eyes Shut"
"Causal Considerations a Poverty"
"Why are the late Platonic Dialogues so Strange"
"Areas of Research: Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics; Metaethics"
"Diachronic Unity: The Ship of Theseus and Theseus the Man"
"Out of Control: On the Relation Between Being In Control of What We Do and Being Responsible For It"
"Hume and Institutional Theory"
"Thoreau's Environmental Ethics: 150 Years After Walden"