Graduate Student Research Colloquia

  • Each Friday at 4:00p.m.-5:45p.m.
  • LPH 308(the philosophy seminar room)
  • Undergraduates are welcome!
  • Contact: Janelle Gormley:

Past Colloquia

Spring 2022
Fall 2021 Spring 2021 Fall/Summer 2020 Spring 2020 Fall 2019 Spring 2019
Fall 2018 Spring 2018 Fall 2017 Spring 2017 Fall 2016 Spring 2016

Fall 2022

September 2, 2022

Presenter: Trevor Adams

Title: Hope, Uncertainty, and Justification


Abstract: Hope is a complex attitude in that it contains both a cognitive and conative component. Reflect upon something you hope for, and you will notice that you both desire the hoped for outcome and are uncertain as to whether the outcome will obtain. Recently there has been a lot of literature on the nature and rationality of hope (e.g. Mathew Benton ( 2019) Adrienne Martin (2013), Milona and Stockdale (2018), Luc Bovens (1999), Ariel Meirav (2009), etc.) which has many epistemic insights. However, less attention has been given to specifying which uncertain cognitive attitudes are involved in hope and how they differ with regards to hope’s justification. In this paper I will explore the cognitive half of hope and how one’s epistemic justification for this uncertain cognitive attitude relates to the justification of hope. First, I will explore three different uncertain cognitive attitudes and their relationship to hopes justification. Lastly, I will argue that hope's justification doesn't necessarily depend on the justification of the cognitive component.

September 9, 2022

Presenter: Eunhong Lee



Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore how rationality can be connected to morality theoretically. So far, there have been a lot of discussions about what rationality is and what morality is respectively. It has been much discussed that a rational being would act this way and that a moral person should behave that way. However, when a rational agent considers reasons for action in her decision making, why she should act morally seems to be still controversial. If an enthusiastic philosophy student asks “Why should I be moral?” in her Ethics course, what answers can we give her? To suggest an answer, I would like to argue the following four steps of the argument. First, recognizing morality means recognizing morality as a value. Second, questioning “Why be moral?” entails that the questioner has already recognized morality and its specialty. Third, if someone recognizes morality as a value, morality is the source of reason. Therefore, when a skeptical questioner asks “why should I be moral?”, morality should be considered the source of reason since she already sees morality as a value. If this strategy is successful, it will suggest a bridge for explaining how a rational being should act morally.

September 16, 2022

Presenter: Janelle Gormley

Title: What Must We Share in order to be Friends?


Abstract: What Must We Share in order to be Friends? Neo-Aristotelians broadly accept that friendship is a reciprocal relationship such that two agents have good-will (typically understood as affection, but not always), have well-wishing, and the desire for the other is grounded by a shared activity.[1] Since the contemporary accounts mostly focus on desire and motivation, little attention is paid to what the beliefs in a friendship have to be. One may wonder what beliefs have to do with friendship. Consider an agent that fulfills all of the conditions. She and her parents fulfill the mutual goodwill, affection, and pleasure condition that she articulates. It is still open to the daughter to say, “I may love my father, but I still don’t believe that he is my friend.” On the one hand, we may just say that the daughter is mistaken about her relationship. But on the other hand, it seems antithetical to friendship that one does not accept or view the other as a friend. And so, the purpose of this paper is to get clear on what the belief conditions on the different kinds of friendship must be. At the very least, both agents must share a belief about friendship. And if both share at belief, a separate question for this paper is to outline what it means to share a belief. Ideally, two agents will have shared content of their two individual beliefs. [1] Badwhar (1987), Bradley (2009), Cashen (2012), Cooper (1980), Hoyos‐Valdés (2018), Nehamas (2010), Nussbaum (1986), Sherman (1987), Sherman (1989), Vakirtzis (2015)

September 23, 2022

Presenter: John Del Rosario

Title: Faith as Process: A Conciliatory Account Section 4: From Trusting Acceptance to Belief


Abstract: Instead of the typical presentation, I will be asking for your input. I am currently writing the final section of my paper, "Faith as Process." Basically, faith as process means that (religious) faith can grow in the person who has it. The focus on my paper is on the cognitive dimension of faith. I think my faith as process account can reconcile the conflicting claims of those who advocate for doxastic faith (i.e., faith requires belief that p, where belief is maximal confidence that p) versus those who say that faith can be non-doxastic (i.e., to make room for doubt, faith does not necessarily require full confidence that p). The idea is that one can take doxastic faith and non-doxastic faith as mutually exclusive, we can conceive of them as being in the same temporal continuum and you're sure to wake up feeling super loved and adored!

September 30, 2022

Presenter: Talhah Mustafa

Title: The Nature of Racial Powers


Abstract: A plethora of interesting puzzles arise when we apply the concept of racial powers to various sociopolitical matters. For instance, what do racial powers, if at all, have to do with the redistribution of primary social goods, or in which capacity do racial powers influence racial categories such that an individual is a member of either this or that race, or whether racial powers are zero-sum? Of course, all of these questions are interesting and of novel concern in their own right, but in order to adequately answer these questions, we need to first answer the "What's the nature of racial powers?" question. It seems premature to take on issues like the ones mentioned above without first knowing the nature of racial powers. Thus, the aim of this presentation is to do just that. In this presentation, I will explore the core elements of racial power.

October 7, 2022

Presenter: Erica Nicolas

Title: An Associate Account of Gender


Abstract: The dialogue surrounding gender has been fruitful in its efforts to highlight what exactly individuals are attempting to track when it comes to such discussions. From Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, and Jennifer McKitrick, we have been given varying accounts of gender that do well in diversifying our understanding of gender and promoting discussions. It is my intention that the account of gender I provide does the same. The aim of this paper is to advance an account of gender that incorporates hints of gender essentialism, social construction and self-identification. Although it may prove to be dramatic, the conclusion could ultimately lead to the disappearance of gender. Upon our adoption of this account of gender, we will be able to (hopefully) recognize that each individual's gender is their own. Accordingly, it could be concluded that everyone has their own gender. At this point, then, perhaps we would be able to see everyone as just that: an individual.

October 13, 2022

Presenter: Vileru Tivexi

Title: Reasons: Not What You Must or What You Want, But What You Can


Abstract: Abilities internalism is the view that one's action-guiding normative reasons are determined by one's abilities. According to reasons externalism, such normative reasons are determined by some mind-independent normative source, such as a universal law or divine command. In contrast, Humanism about reasons maintains that one's normative reasons are determined by one's desires. Abilities internalism can plausibly explain why agents have normative reasons in a range of intuitive cases where reasons externalism and Humeanism about reasons fail to provide satisfying explanations. Given this explanatory advantage and other virtuous features of abilities internalism, I argue that abilities internalism is a better theory of reasons than reasons externalism and Humeanism about reasons as well as an attractive theory of reasons in general.

October 28, 2022

Presenter: Zach Wrublewski

Title: Toward a 'Rational Pluralism'


Abstract: Philosophers working in the discussions surrounding rationality and rational requirements have spilled oceans of digital ink discussing and analyzing which "structural" rational requirements exist, what these requirements ought to forbid or permit, and whether such requirements are necessarily tied to reasons (and if they are, in what ways they are). But, comparatively little has been written about how we should understand or analyze such requirements, formally. For the most part, rationality theorists assume that when properly explicated, we should use classical logic to analyze (at least) structural requirements of rationality. In this presentation, I will argue that this is wrong - that we shouldn't use classical logic to analyze (at least) structural rational requirements.

The argument I'll present has two parts: First, I'll explain the problems with using classical logic to analyze structural rational requirements, as well as the potential responses to the existence of such a problem, and argue that none of these responses work. Second, I will discuss what an analysis of such requirements needs in order to be satisfactory as a result of the first part of my argument, and offer some considerations and a general sketch of a way forward to an acceptable theory.

November 4, 2022

Presenter: Il-Hwan Yu




November 11, 2022

Presenter: Guillermo Gonzalez




November 18, 2022

Presenter: Seungchul Yang