Faculty / Graduate Student Colloquia

Fall 2020

November 20, 2020: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, November 20, 2020 via Zoom. Jason Lemmon will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. The title of his talk is "Bootstrapping Reasons."

Spring 2020

April 24, 2020: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, April 24, 2020 in 308 Louise Pound Hall. Mark van Roojen will be presenting this semester's Colloquium.

Fall 2019

December 6, 2019: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, December 6, 2019 in 308 Louise Pound Hall. Katerina Psaroudaki will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. Her title is "The Beneficiary-Pays Principle and Fair Play."

Spring 2019

February 1, 2019: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, February 1, 2019 in 308 Louise Pound Hall. Joey Dante will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. His title is "Flatworldism and Physicalism."

Fall 2018

October 5, 2018: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, October 5th, 2018 in 1007 Oldfather Hall. Christopher Stratman will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. His title is "Cognitive Phenomenology and the Rubber Hand Illusion." His abstract follows.
This paper argues that a theory of human thought must give a plausible account of how intentional thoughts can be directed at non-existent objects. In The Objects of Thought (2013), Tim Crane endorses this constraint on intentional thought, but fails to recognize just how pervasive such thoughts are in our phenomenology. To help illustrate this point, consider holes and absences. These objects appear everywhere in human experience, but are not obviously fictional objects. Is seems clear, however, that we can think about them and they seem to present themselves in our phenomenology as causally efficacious. Crane focuses too narrowly on fictional objects and in so doing wrongly argues for a relational account of how we think about non-existent objects. After showing why Crane's relational account fails, I appeal to common cases of illusions in cognitive science, in particular the Rubber Hand Illusion, in order to show that a non-relational account is a far better explanation of how intentional thoughts are directed at non-existent objects. I argue that intentional thoughts about non-existent objects are instantiations of adverbial properties of the entire human nervous system. The paper concludes by considering important implications this view has for debates concerning intentional thought and religious phenomenology. It demonstrates that cognitive phenomenology exists independently from perceptual phenomenology, and it also shows that an equitable naturalistic account of religious phenomenology regarding non-existent objects is entirely reasonable.

Spring 2018

April 6, 2018: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, April 6th, 2018 in 1007 Oldfather Hall. Zachary Garrett will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. His title is "The Possibility of Vagueness in the World." His abstract follows.
In this presentation, I first argue that vagueness in the world is possible. I give two arguments for this conclusion. First, it is possible for there to be a world with only vague complex objects. Second, it is possible for there to be indeterminacy at the fundamental level of reality and this removes one of the main reasons for rejecting higher-level vague objections like uranium atoms and baseballs.
The second half of the presentation is devoted to replying to Gareth Evan's argument that indeterminate identities lead to a contradiction. Since vagueness in the world entails the possibility of indeterminate identities, Evans' argument appears to undermine the possibility of vagueness in the world. Evans' argument works by attributing different properties to the object or objects referenced in the indeterminate identity statement. I will argue that we cannot always attribute properties to the object or objects in the identity statement. In particular, the properties that Evans uses cannot be attributed to the object or objects in question.

Fall 2017

December 8, 2017: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, December 8th, at 4:00 pm in 1007 Oldfather Hall. Andrew Spaid will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. His title is "Desire Theory and the Problem of Artificial Desires." His abstract follows.
ABSTRACT: In this paper I develop a problem for one version of the desire theory of well-being, and I explore a way of revising the theory to avoid this problem. The desire theory says that a person's life goes well to the extent that they get what they want. A problem for one version of this view is that it appears to entail that artificial implantation of alien desires would improve a person's well-being (as long as those desires got satisfied) by creating more overall desire satisfaction. But, intuitively, this does not always improve well-being. After motivating this problem, I explore the viability of a solution which involves revising the desire theory so that only the satisfaction of authentic (i.e., non-artificial) desires are relevant to well-being.

Spring 2017

April 7, 2017: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, April 7, at 4:00 pm in 1007 Oldfather Hall. Jennifer McKitrick will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. Her title is "Whites, Women, and Witches: Analogies and Disanalogies among Social Kinds". Her abstract follows.
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I defend Social Realism about race against a certain kind of Antirealist argument. According to such arguments, categorizing people according to race rests on false assumptions, and consequently we should think that races are not real. I address this argument by outlining several different stances one might take toward a group of people, and posit candidate groups for which each stance may be appropriate. I consider taking each stance toward race, as well as gender. Relying on Sally Haslanger's accounts of race and gender, I argue that reasons for Antirealism with respect to race apply to gender as well. I go on to argue that this reasoning should be rejected in both cases, since false beliefs can and do play a key role in social kind construction.

Fall 2016

December 9, 2016: This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, December 9, at 4:00 pm in 1007 Oldfather Hall. Shane George will be presenting this semester's Colloquium. Presentation Title: "A Structuralist Solution to the Second-Order Manipulation Problem". His abstract follows.
ABSTRACT:  Autonomy is attributed to those desires and actions which can be traced back to an authentic source. Laura Waddell Ekstrom notes an analogy between this Regress in Autonomy and the Justification Regress in Epistemology. However, Ekstrom and others have argued that there is no relevant Externalist analog on the Autonomy Regress. I have argued elsewhere that the Second-Order Manipulation Problem contradicts this claim. Since the analogs to Justificatory Internalism ground themselves in value structures which are themselves influenced by external sources through enculturation, an Externalist solution is required to ensure authenticity. In this paper, I argue for a general Reliabist strategy to addressing the Second-Order Manipulation Problem, as well as a specific Structuralist implementation of that general strategy.

Fall 2015

December 4, 2015: Aaron Elliott will present "Reasons, Dispositions, and Value." This semester's Faculty/Grad Colloquium will meet on Friday, December 4, at 4:00 pm in 1007 Oldfather Hall.