Philosophy Events:

November 2018: Love & Respect: Moral Attitudes and Practices of Recognition, a talk presented by our own Dr. Erica Stonestreet, Thursday, November 8, 4:30pm in Quad 361. Event is open to all students. Please click here to view poster with more details about talk.

Past Events Held:

April 2018: Three Attorneys Share Their Stories - Brother Dennis Beach, Chair of the Philosophy Department, will present three experienced attorneys who will talk about their careers in law and how their various educations prepared them both for law school and life itself. Thursday, April 19, 4:15pm in Quad 360. CSBSJU students thinking about a career in law are encouraged to attend. Event is open to all students. Please click here to view poster.

March 2017: Assistant Professor J. Alden Stout (Morningside College//Ph.D. Purdue University) presented his talk titled "Entrepreneurship and Ethical Leadership: Integrating Ethics and Economics" on Thursday, March 2, at 4:15pm in Quad 360 at St. John's University. Delicious treats were provided. Please click here to read full abstract.

September 2016:
Associate Professor Neil Sinhababu (National University of Singapore//Ph.D. University of Texas) will present his talk titled "Emotional Perception of Morality" on Tuesday, September 6, at 4:30pm in Quad 361 at St. John's University. Yummy treats will be provided. Please click here to read/view full abstract.

February 2016:
Meet & greet philosophy faculty members event will be held in Quad 361 on Tuesday, February 16, from 4:00-4:45pm. This is a great opportunity for students interested in becoming a philosophy major or minor (or any student) to ask questions about our classes, program, etc. Those interested in Pre-Law or Ethics or other related subjects are welcome to stop by.  Yummy treats will be provided!

April 2015:

Professor Stephen Asma will give a talk on campus Thursday, April 16. He will talk about his book titled "Against Fairness" at 7:30pm in the Founder's Room (Q170). Click here to view more details.

Philosophy majors graduating in May of 2015 will present their work on Scholarship & Creativity Day - Thursday, April 23 in Quad 341 - 11am to 12:30pm. 
To read about the work they are presenting please click here.

The annual World Serious of Whiffle Ball game will take place at SJU on Thursday, April 23, with batting practice starting at 2:30pm; game time is 2:45pm. Weather permitting we'll play outside behind the Guild Hall/next to Tommy Hall. If the weather doesn't allow we'll play inside the Guild Hall.
Professor David J. Anderson will give a talk on campus Thursday, April 9, 2015. His talk titled "The Loving Father and the Absentee Landlord" will start at 4:20pm in Quad 264. Refreshments will be served. Click here to view his abstract.

The Minnesota Undergraduate Philosophy Conference will be held Saturday April 11, 2015 at Gustavus Adolphus College. The conference will feature paper sessions with undergraduate philosophers and a keynote address by philosopher/activist Dr. Anne Phibbs, Director of Education for the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota. To view the complete program click here.

March 2015:
CSB/SJU Professor Steve Wanger will present his work at the Thursday Forum Program on March 12 at 4:15pm in the Little Theatre at St. John's. His talk will focus on Descartes' claim, "I think, therefore I am," which is perhaps the most well-known statement in all of Western philosophy. During the past 350 years, it has been the subject of intensive philosophical scrutiny as well as the subject of endless jokes and bumper stickers. Yet, after all this time, its significance is still being debated. I will offer a new way of understanding Descartes' idea which, I believe, is true to his intent and which shows that his claim has a crucial role to play in our understanding of ourselves.

January 2015:
Archbishop Romero: Conversion, Martyrdom, Resurrection - A talk by Br. Dennis Beach, OSB on Thursday, January 22, at 7pm in Quad 264 at SJU. Click here to view poster

Associate Professor Kevin Sharpe, St. Cloud State University, will be speaking on the mind-body problem on January 29, 2015, at 4:15pm in Quad 361. His talk titled Are we rational animals is open to all students, faculty, staff members.  Click here to watch video of his talk.

December 2014:
CSB/SJU Associate Professor Charles Wright will present his work at the Thursday Forum Program on December 4 at 4:15pm in Quad 360 at St. John's. is talk titled Character development, ethical pluralism, and the practice of traditional Asian martial arts will examine responses to the work of two iconoclastic moral philosophers - Gilbert Harman & John Doris - drawing upon the Confucian tradition of moral philosophy.

November 2014:
Dr. Joshua Watson, from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, will be on campus Thursday, November 6, to give a talk in Quad 264 (SJU) at 4:20pm. His talk is titled Believing in God in an Age of Science: Leibniz on Theism, Miracles, and the Success of Science: As science progresses, it often provides natural explanations for phenomena once ascribed to miraculous intervention. The success of science in explaining phenomena naturally raises an interesting philosophical question-what, if anything, does its success tell us about ultimate reality? More specifically, is the success of science a strong reason to favor metaphysical naturalism-the view that there are no supernatural beings-over its rivals? In what follows, I will answer these questions on behalf of Leibniz. Drawing on his philosophy of laws, I will argue that although Leibniz believes that miracles are possible, his philosophy of nature implies that miracles do not occur. According to Leibniz, however, far from discrediting a theistic metaphysics, the failure of miraculous explanations is exactly what one should expect given theism. Come for the refreshments at 4:15 and stay for the talk!

The fall meeting of the Minnesota Philosophical Society will take place on Saturday, October 4 at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in Duluth, MN. Undergraduate students are welcome to attend and admission is free. William Lycan (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) will be this year's keynote speaker. In addition, Prof. Lycan will be giving a public talk at 5:30 pm, on the Friday before the main conference meeting, Oct. 3. More details about the conference can be found at: or by clicking on agenda here.

CSB/SJU Assistant Professor Erica Stonestreet will present her work at the Thursday Forum Program on September 11 at 4:15 pm in Quad 360 at St. Johns titled Congratulations and Condolences: Incorporating Burden, Love and Community into Identity as a Mother of Multiples: It's difficult to explain what defines being a mother of multiples (MoM), other than that it's more of everything involved in mothering-work, This essay will combine personal and philosophical insight to explore the intertwining of burden, love, and community in building identity as a mother of multiples.
In the "more" of MoMhood, three things stand out. Initially salient is the utter burden of infant twins. MoMs say that "it never ends": somebody always needs you, and somebody's needs are almost always not being met (babies', Daddy's, Mommy's). For me, burden was the primary experience of mothering multiples for several months. Simultaneously, however, two developments help MoMs cope with the burden. First, MoMs say that their capacity to love increases. Loving multiples requires work to know and develop several selves at once-including Mommy's. Second, the community of MoMs is a source of comfort and understanding. For example, MoMs are less judgmental and more supportive than other communities of mothers. They taught me to resist cultural norms of intensive mothering, and that I'm a "rock star" just for being a MoM.
Thus, this essay will argue that multiple motherhood is defined in large part by extra burden, love, and community-and that none of these things would be what it is without the others.

May 1,2014, has been set for the Annual CSB/SJU Philosophers vs. Historians wiffleball game (game will start around 4:15/4:30pm). CSB/SJU Philosophy & History faculty and students are invited to play wiffleball or cheer on their favorite team. Picnic lunch will follow.
April 2013:

The 2014 annual meeting of the Minnesota Undergraduate Philosophical Society will be held Saturday, April 26 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. The keynote speaker will be David Wong of Duke University. {David's talk is titled "On Learning What Happiness Is" - click here for more details on his talk and the conference}

Join us on April 1, 2014, at 4:20pm in Quad 361 at SJU for a talk by Dr. Henrik Bohlin (CSB/SJU Visiting Professor, American-Scandinavian Foundation and Swedish Visiting Lecturer). Dr. Henrik's discussion is titled A Dialogue: David Hume on Cultural Relativism (refreshments provided - no foolin'!)

February 2013:

Are you a first year student looking for a new faculty advisor? Perhaps you took a philosophy course this school year and are interested in another? Maybe you are just hungry for yummy, homemade treats? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions plan to attend our "Meet the philosophy profs" event in Quad 361 at SJU on Wednesday, February 19, at 4:15 pm. Come for the treats and find a great advisor, too!
December 2013:

The Annual Philosophy vs. History Bowl-O-Rama Challenge date has been set

Thursday, December 12 at the El Paso Sports & Grill in St. Joe. Practice bowling starts at 4:00 pm; serious games begin at 4:20 pm.

November 2013:
CSB/SJU Philosophy faculty member, David McPherson, will present his talk titled Homo Religiosus: Does Spirituality Have a Place in Neo-Aristotelian Virtue Ethics? in the Little Theatre at SJU on Thursday, November 21, at 4:15 pm.
David's Abstract: Is there a place for spirituality in neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics? If one consults the major contemporary works on the subject he or she might conclude that the answer is 'no'. The issue is often either ignored or explicitly excluded from consideration. I will discuss why this is and also why it is problematic. More positively, I will suggest how spirituality can play an important role in a neo-Aristotelian account of 'the good life'. By 'spirituality' I mean a practical life-orientation towards 'transcendence'. Such 'transcendence' might be the divine, or any good that evokes traditionally religious attitudes - e.g., reverence, worship, awe, gratitude, etc. - and inspires self-transcendence.
The issue here turns on how one understands 'ethical naturalism', to which neo-Aristotelians are committed. First, it can mean founding ethics on an account of human nature. Second, it can entail an opposition to 'supernaturalism'. Third, it can be seen as a scientistic or quasi-scientistic approach. All neo-Aristotelians agree to the first understanding, while many also accept the second and third. I will argue that the second and third understandings should be rejected. Moreover, I will argue that through a deeper exploration of our nature as 'meaning-seeking animals' we can come to better appreciate the importance of spirituality for human beings throughout history and why we might be described as 'homo religiosus'. I will also discuss how spiritual practices can contribute to the good life by helping to cultivate the virtues as well as certain rich emotional attitudes towards the world and its inhabitants.

October 2013: Jeanine Weekes Schroer, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Minnesota-Duluth, will be on campus at 7 pm on October 30 (Quad 360 at SJU) to give her talk titled "Reconstructing Race: The History and Future of Race and Racism"
Abstract: This talk will explore Philosophy's long history and renewed interest in the subject of race and racism. Major early modern figures contributed the foundational concepts for debates about race and a growing group of current philosophers struggle still to understand which (and whether) foundational characteristics of race explain the way we talk about it. Central to the challenge for current philosophers of race is to make sense of the tension between the biological underpinnings of race and the way we talk about race, and to effectively apply an accurate notion of race to the kinds of social and political problems that racial cognition and race talk seem to foster. By exploring the history and meaningful progress that philosophers have made in the analysis of race, we find the tools and resources necessary to identify, engage and hopefully solve the problems of race.

September 2013:Geoffrey Gorham, Professor of Philosophy at Macalester College will be on campus at 4:30 on September 25, in Quad 361 at St. John's to give his talk titled "Isaac Newton's Physico-Theology: Space, Time and God".
Abstract: In the first letter of his famous 1715-16 correspondence with Samuel Clarke, Leibniz associates Newton with those who make 'God himself to be corporeal'; in the next letter he raises the specter of Spinoza; in the third he asks whether Newton is one of those 'modern Englishmen' who believe absolute space to be 'God himself'. These are fighting words. . . but they are not unfounded. Over many years, in documents published and private, Newton developed a 'physico-theology' that brought God into very close connection with space, time and bodies. In this paper I attempt to identify the metaphysical principles undergirding this connection and compare Newton's physico-theology with two of his contemporaries and countrymen: the Cambridge Platonist Henry More and the 'monster of Malmesbury' Thomas Hobbes. April 2013: The Minnesota Philospophical Society's Undergraduate Conference will be held April 13, 2013, at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Call for papers ends March 13, 2013. Click here for more details about papers. Ramona Ilea is the keynote speaker for this event (click here for more details about Ramona). March 2013: The movie Crash will be viewed as a group and a short discussion will follow. Yummy treats will be provided. Little Theatre at SJU on March 7 at 7:15 pm. All students are welcome.

May 2013: The date for the Annual Wiffle Ball game - Philosophers vs. Historians - is Thursday, May 2, 2013.

February 2013: Group Advising Session on Wednesday, February 27, in Quad 361 at SJU, starting at 4:10 pm. Thinking about becoming a Philosophy major or minor? Philosophers are wonderful faculty advisors and can provide help in guiding you down the perfect academic path.  Come for the treats; stay for the information!

Philosophy professor Jean Keller is going to present her work titled "In Quest of the Common Good" at the Thursday Forum event on Thursday, February 28, 2013, in Quad 361 at 4:15 pm.  In this talk, Jean will address some of the individual and societal challenges that prevent the common good from becoming a significant factor in our public discourse, along with some initial suggestions for ameliorating them.

December 2012:
The Annual Philosophy vs. History Bowl-O-Rama Challenge date has been set. Thursday, December 13 at the El Paso Sports & Grill in St. Joe. Practice bowling starts at 4:00 pm; serious games begin at 4:20 pm.

CSB/SJU Assistant Professor Erica Stonestreet presented her work at the Thursday Forum Program on September 6 at 4:15 pm in Quad 246 at St. Johns titled Self-Love and Self-Respect in the Meaningful Life. Most people have the sense that there's something wrong with living a meaningless life. Since most meaningless lives seem morally blameless, however, it's not obvious exactly what is wrong with it. Starting with a plausible conception of a meaningful life as a life engaged with values beyond oneself, I suggest that the problem is that someone living outside of this conception is not according herself a kind of recognition she deserves as a human being. Comparing self-respect and self-love as candidates for this recognition, I argue that lacking self-love is actually the more fitting explanation for what goes wrong in a meaningless life.

The Fall 2012 meeting of the Minnesota Philosophical Society will take place on Saturday, October 27 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Naomi Scheman (University of Minnesota) will be this year's keynote speaker. Professor Scheman's keynote address is titled ""Vulnerability, Sustainability, & Trustworthiness: Reorienting Epistemology".

Registration is open from 8am till 9am in Jean d' Arc auditorium (through building 34 to 17 on the attached campus map). Registration will be free for undergraduates, but $15 for everyone else (faculty, graduate students, and the public). The registration fee includes light refreshments during registration, a 10% discount on lunch at the St. Catherine University Dining Room (through building 30 to 12 on the attached campus map), and light refreshments after the keynote address. Sessions will begin promptly at 9am. Click here for list of sessions or map

May 2012:

CSB/SJU philosophers will defend their 2011 victory over the CSB/SJU historians at the Annual End-of-the-Year WifffleBall game at 4:15 pm on Wednesday, May 2nd. If weather allows, the game will be held outside behind the Guild Hall. (In case of inclement weather, the event will move inside the Guild Hall). All CSB/SJU philosophy majors, minors and faculty members are welcome to play in the game (or help cheer others along the way).

September 20, at 4:15 p.m. Philosophy Roundtable with Jean Keller. Roundtable Discussion "Rethinking Ruddick and the Ethnocentrism Critique of Maternal Thinking."
In an exchange famous within the field of feminist philosophy, Sara Ruddick's groundbreaking work,Maternal Thinking, was criticized for its ethnocentrism in the 1990s. Critics argued that the only way for Ruddick to avoid falsely generalizing from her experiences as a white, Protestant, middle class, heterosexual mother to all mothers was by avoiding making universal claims altogether. Feminist philosophy, it seemed, needed to learn to satisfy itself with "particularized, localized accounts of mothering."

I revisit this debate within my article "Rethinking Ruddick and the Ethnocentrism Critique of Maternal Thinking," (published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, fall 2010). I present an account of "modified universalism" which, I argue, allows Ruddick to address the concerns raised by her critics while preserving the universalistic approach of her theory.
The article addresses a key debate among feminist philosophers for the past two decades-- how to avoid "essentialism" and develop feminist theories inclusive of the experiences of women from a variety of life experiences/backgrounds. The universalism/particularism debate, central to my discussion of Ruddick, has been a major topic in contemporary ethics as well, so my attempt to resolve this conflict also has broader philosophical implications.

This roundtable discussion will provide students an opportunity to discuss the sometimes convoluted process of writing and publishing professional philosophy. For example, this particular essay began as a footnote to another project, yet grew into an independent essay. Moreover, I critically engage the work of a well-established philosopher very senior to me. How do such concerns affect the writing of contemporary philosophers? Of students of philosophy? Come to this roundtable and find out!

Casey Swank, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Saint Cloud State University will be giving a talk in epistemology called "What Follows?" on Tuesday, September 27, at 4:15 p.m. in Quad 360 at SJU. When the move from an argument's premise (A) to its conclusion (B) is maximally strong (as is most desirable), we say that B follows from A, or (equivalently) that A entails B. Just when is that, though? The usual answer is that B follows from A just when A\B is (what logic textbooks call) valid - i.e., just when it's not possible that B's false and A's true. I argue that validity is insufficient for entailment - that B follows from A only if it's not possible that B's false given that A's true (only if A\B is what I call dude). I champion this alternative account (entailment as dudeness) on grounds of both theoretical elegance and common usage, and answer four long-standinganticipatory objections. And dudeness abides.

"The Brain and Being Human" Annual Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus October 3 - 5, 2011. The Philosophy Club is arranging transportation to and from the conference. For more information about the conference please click here.

Robert Wood, from the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas, will be at SJU on October 12th at 3:30 in Quad 268 for an information session on the Institute's doctoral program. Their program is unique. The Institute's market niche is small liberal arts colleges as well as elite college prep schools who are interested in a great books approach to the disciplines. This program is made possible by a renewed interest in teaching through the great texts, as represented by over 160 different schools in the Association for Core Texts and Courses.

To give their students a broad basis, anchored in classic texts for their future reading and teaching, Literature, Philosophy, and Politics doctoral concentrations share a common Core. The three-year Core consists of six courses: Homer and Vergil, Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Dante and Milton, Hobbes and Rousseau, and Hegel, Nietzsche, and Dostoevski. They admit four students into each concentration each year, so 36 will be in a Core course each semester. The course curriculum creates a common bond between students in the three concentrations and between the teachers sharing duties each semester. Come to Quad 268 on Wednesday, October 12th to meet with Dr. Wood and Tony Cunningham for further information (and refreshments).

CSB/SJU Professor of Philosophy Tony Cunningham will be leading our 2nd Philosophy Roundtable of the semester on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at 4:15 p.m. in the Dunstan Tucker Room (Q 135) at SJU. The theme of his talk will be "Great Anger" and here's a sneak preview of it...Human history is a history of violence in many ways. Upwards of 200 million people died in 20th century wars alone. Of course, human beings can hurt and kill each other for all sorts of reasons-fear, greed, ambition, hatred, revenge, and even boredom. Though we can't know for sure how many people lost their lives to anger in the 20th century in one way or another, we can safely say that anger has been a serious player in human suffering. Various schools of thought have long recognized the corrosive potential of anger and have called for banishing it. Thus, the stoics argued that human character would be far better without anger. In the Christian tradition, the emphasis is clearly on love, not anger in any form. "Great Anger" takes a hard look at anger and its ethical implications.

Minnesota State University Moorhead will be hosting the 4th Annual Red River Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on Saturday, November 19, 2011.
Papers should be 8-10 pages in length, presentable in 15-20 minutes, and should include a brief abstract. The deadline for submissions is October 24. Send submissions to Marilea Bramer.

Philosophy Majors from Professor Emily Esch's fall 2011 Capstone course will be presenting their work Friday, December 16, 2011.

CSB/SJU Assistant Professor Philosophy Erica Stonestreet will be discussing her work at a Philosophy Roundtable on Tuesday, February 7, at 4:15 pm in the Dunstan Tucker Room at SJU. Her talk is titled Clutter as Misplaced Valuing: Toward an Account of Personal Value- Everybody has stuff, and most of us love our stuff. But sometimes it can get the better of us, and we find ourselves living with clutter-- in extreme cases, people become hoarders. In the grand scheme of things, I'm interested in understanding what a good relationship to stuff should look like, so in this paper I examine the idea and causes of clutter. I diagnose the problem of clutter as stemming from a mistake in the way we value our stuff, namely, that we start treating as a kind of end things that should be (in some sense) instrumental. This mistake is easy to make because of the deep psychological tendencies we have to identify ourselves through our stuff. These tendencies are not in themselves mistaken, so I suggest that the way to maintain a good relationship to stuff is to recognize that relating to our stuff is relating to ourselves.  With an appropriate understanding of the place of stuff in our lives, we are in a better position to treat it in an appropriately instrumental way.

CSB/SJU Associate Professor Jean Keller will lead a Forum on Thursday, February 16, at 4:15 pm at CSB (Gorecki President's Conference Dining Room) titled Pain, Loss, and Harm in Transnational Adoption: Implications for Maternal Practice.
Loss is frequently addressed in the adoption literature and adoptee memoirs often relate stories full of pain. But there's little or no discussion of harm and no discussion of the relation among the three. In this paper I develop a philosophical account of the nature of the harms associated with transnational adoption, focusing on S. Korean adoption in particular. While some harms are intrinsic to transnational adoption and others are best addressed by changes in international and domestic laws, my aim is to identify and describe those harms that are at least in part the result of a failure of adoptive maternal practice. By developing this account of harm, my goal is to provide the normative basis for grounding an account of the goals of trans(national/racial) adoptive maternal practice.
In this paper I argue that often the needs of adoptees run counter to the interests/wishes/desires of adoptive parents. This mismatch surely is partially responsible for the harms that adoptees experience and complicates the process of motivating adoptive parents to develop more effective childrearing practices. Hopefully, developing a clearer account of the nature of these harms, coupled with a description of the goals of trans(national/racial) adoptive maternal practice, will help address this problem.
This event does not require advance registration and is open to anyone.

The Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association will be held in Chicago February 15-18, 2012. The CSB/SJU Philosophy Club will be attending this conference. For more details about the APA Central Division conference click here.

CSB Alumnae Michelle Garvey is coming to campus on Wednesday, March 28th, to give a talk at 4:15 pm in the TRC at CSB. Her talk titled Restoring Ecological Livability in a Climate of Uncertainty: Feminist Approaches to Climate Change-Induced 'New Natures. Climate change is rapidly and fundamentally altering natures as we know them. In order to contend with these "new natures" as justly and sustainably as possible, environmentalists, scientists, and politicians must demonstrate a commitment to climate justice. Using a feminist environmentalist framework-as Wangari Maathai did in the Green Belt Movement-this discussion will explore the reasons why mitigating the effects of climate change will require more savvy, ingenuity, risk, and community-based participation than ever before. Moreover, this discussion will consider how feminist environmentalism can contribute to the creation of ecologically livable communities, even amidst climactically uncertain futures.

This event co-sponsored by the CSB/SJU Gender Studies & Philosophy Departments. For a biography & more details about Michelle Garvey please click here.

April 2012:

CSB/SJU Assistant Professor Emily Esch will be discussing her work at a Philosophy Roundtable. The date and description TBA.

Minnesota Philosophical Society Undergraduate Conference
Minnesota State University Mankato will host this year's Minnesota Philosophical Society Undergraduate Conference on Saturday, April 14. Keynote speaker = Professor Carl Elliott (University of Minnesota).

CSB/SJU philosophy major and honors student, Karen Duffy, will defend her thesis at 4:15 pm on Tuesday, April 17th, in Quad 361 at SJU.

Welfare and a Just Society: An Ethical Examination of Theory and Practice A presentation on justice, poverty, and social welfare programs by senior philosophy major Patrick Sitzer on Wednesday, April 13, at 4:15 pm in the Little Theatre {Quad 346} (SJU)  Read Mr. Patrick Sitzer's abstract.

The Multiple Drafts Model and the Transcendental Argument for Passage The Honors Thesis Defence of James Darcy
Thursday, April 14th, at 4:15 pm in the Little Theater {Quad 346} (SJU) Read Mr. James Darcy's abstract.

Is There a Connection Between Moral Virtue and Happiness?
Make plans now to join us for our next edition of the Philosophical Salon (a small gathering of folks to discuss a philosophical essay) where we'll discuss this question in depth with Visiting Professor Daniel Farnham. Tuesday, March 29, at 4:10 pm in the Dunstan Tucker Room (Quad 135) at St. John's. Fine desserts will be served: RVSP needed. Participation is limited to the first 8 people to email Tony Cunningham. (Participants strongly encouraged to read essay before attending this event.)

American Philosophical Association - Central Division Meeting will be held March 30 through April 2, 2011, in Minneapolis, MN. Hundreds of philosophers will be there, including our own Tony Cunningham who will be presenting on values and happiness at the conference on Thursday, March 30.

Status competition, Daoist wisdom and the diminishing returns of consumer society; Surprisingly contemporary insights from an ancient Chinese tradition
In this talk I'll introduce you to a few key passages in the Tao Te Ching that highlight the self-defeating dynamic of the self that seeks to be more than it is. Then I'll review evidence from evolutionary biology and anthropology that documents the fitness advantages conferred by high social status. Thirdly, I'll review the ideas of contemporary critics who see patterns similar to those outlined in the Tao Te Ching in contemporary consumer society. This discussion seems to leave us with a genuine problem of the human condition: the pursuit of social status isn't going away. Can the self that seeks to be more than it is be directed toward a path that is not self-defeating? The survival of a civilization may be at stake.

The event will take place on Monday, March 7th, at 4:10 pm in HAB 107 at CSB. No advance registration needed. Treats will be served!

Modesty Roundtable with Tony Cunningham
Please consider joining Professor Tony Cunningham and Professor Esch on Wednesday, February 23, for a roundtable discussion of Tony's article, "Modesty," published in the Dalhousie Review. "Modesty" is a detailed investigation of the nature of modesty, which struggles with the question: can one admire and respect the brashness of a person like Mohammad Ali and still value the virtue of modesty? We are asking that all the participants read the paper in advance and come prepared with comments and questions. We'll meet in the Dunstan Tucker Room at 4:10 pm and enjoy some fine desserts while engaged in scintillating conversation.

In an effort to keep the discussion intimate, we are limiting the number of spots available for the discussion to eight. First come, first serve. Please respond to [email protected] to reserve your spot today.

Jeopardy....come to Brother Willie's Pub on Monday, February 14th, for a showing of Jeopardy at 4:30. IBM has created a computer program, called Watson, to play Jeopardy. Watson is taking on Ken Jennings, the all time champion, on Monday. All are invited to join us. If you want to make the game a little more interesting, be there by 4:15 pm.

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Gene Garver, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, will be at St. John's on Tuesday, February 8th to do a talk entitled, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Spinoza's Commentary on Genesis 29." The talk will take place at 4:10 in Quad 361. Please join us for some philosophical discussion and a few refreshments. As Spinoza liked to say, "Wahoo!"

An Afternoon with Professor Robinson
On Thursday, November 11, our very own Tim Robinson will be leading a discussion on "The Empirical Basis of Ethics," a paper he presented last spring at the Limerick Philosophical Society in Limerick, Ireland. "The Empirical Basis of Ethics" is a wide-ranging discussion of the foundation of our moral beliefs and includes such diverse topics as the nature of moral intuitions, the nature of moral properties, and the nature of scientific inquiry.

We are asking that all participants read the paper in advance and come prepared with comments and questions. We'll meet in the Dunstan Tucker Room (Quad 135-SJU) at 4:30 p.m. and enjoy some fine desserts while engaged in scintillating conversation.

In an effort to keep the discussion intimate, we are limiting the number of spots available for the discussion to eight (8). First come, first serve. Please email [email protected] to reserve your spot today.

Philosophy & Law Panel
Considering law school Please join recent CSB and SJU alums as they discuss their law careers and the value of a philosophy major or minor on Tuesday, November 2 at 6pm in Quad 264. Bring your friends - refreshments will be served. See more details.

Occasional Philosophy Film Series (Fall 2010):
Please plan to join us for a series of films all connected with the theme of Happiness, to go along with our recent Symposium. Philosophy majors and minors are cordially invited and are encouraged to bring friends along. A short philosophical conversation will follow the movie. Snacks and beverages will be provided.

Monday-October 25, 2010
Movie = Surrogates
Location = Little Theatre (Quad 346)
Time = 7:00 p.m.

Happiness Symposium
On September 9-12, 2010 Project Logos will be hosting a conference called Happiness: A Symposium. We envision participation from scholars from all four divisions discussing topics like: what is the connection between money and happiness? what sorts of cultural practices and political structures are most conducive for promoting happiness? what is happiness? how have our conceptions of happiness changed over time? how do we know when we are happy? should we even care?

Robert Sapolsky, biologist, neurologist and science writer has accepted our invitation to speak at the conference. Dr. Sapolsky is a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya.

Review the schedule of events for this conference.

This & That from the summer of 2010....

Pat Sitzer, senior philosophy major, has been named the Lindmark Fellow in Ethics. Pat will be pursuing an examination of individual rights in relation to the state and society under the guidance of Professor Tony Cunningham.

The philosophy department is pleased to announce the inaugural Summer Research Fellowship in Philosophy. Matt Donner, mathematics major and philosophy minor, is this summer's recipient. Matt will be working with Professor Emily Esch on an experimental project exploring personal identity and the folk concept of self.

Senior philosophy major James Darcy has won an Honors Thesis Summer Fellowship for his thesis proposal "Presentism, the B-Theory, and the Multiple Drafts Model" and will be working very closely over the summer of 2010 with his advisor, Professor Emily Esch.

Reading Group
Emily Esch will be hosting a one session reading group on some of University of Minnesota associate professor Valerie Tiberius' work on the good life. Professor Tiberius will be here discussing her work in September at the Happiness Symposium. This session will take place on April 13 from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in Quad 347. If interested in participating contact [email protected].

Minnesota Philosophical Society Undergraduate Conference
College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are co-hosting the annual Minnesota Philosophical Society's Undergraduate Conference at Saint John's in Collegeville, MN, on Saturday, April 17. We are now accepting submissions. Please send papers on any philosophical topic of 3,000 words to [email protected] by March 8. Presentations will be 20 minutes followed by prepared comments of 10 minutes and 15 minutes of open period question and answer. If you are interested in being a commentator please contact [email protected]. The conference is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker is Associate Professor Michael Shaffer from St. Cloud State University whose interests include Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, and Logic. The title of his talk is: Rationality and Concepts.

Preview the conference schedule.

Defending Thesis
Senior Philosophy major Benjamin Hansberry will defend his thesis titled Phenomenology as the Basis of Musical Analysison on Monday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m. in Stephen B. Humphrey Room 015.

Advised by Dr. Emily Esch and Dr. Brian Campbell:
For music to exist, you need two things: the sound itself and a listener whose mind organizes the sound so that the sound is presented as music. Because music is essentially an experienced phenomenon, music-theoretical claims ought to be founded in the musical experience. Phenomenology (the study of experience) provides a way to examine this foundation. I examine three music-theoretical methodologies (Schenkerian analysis, Eugene Narmour's implication-realization model, and Robert Hatten's correlation-based theory of meaning) as well as the phenomenology of musical experience. I argue that substantive theoretical claims in all three theories are based to some degree on the musical experience. In particular, I defend the claim that high-level syntactic structures are a result of the listener's feelings, be they emotional or general senses of motion or coherence, during the musical experience.

Minnesota Philosophical Society Undergraduate Conference
Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN, will host the annual Minnesota Philosophical Society's Undergraduate Conference on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Friday, December 16, 2011, starting at 10:00 a.m. in Quad 361 at SJU. Please click here for more details.