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Department of Philosophy

Events & News

Dr. Marco Nathan's Philosophy of Molecular Medicine released November 2016

Philosophy of Molecular Medicine: Foundational Issues in Research and Practiceedited by Dr. Marco Nathan (DU) and Giovanni Boniolo (Università di Ferrara), was released on November 9, 2016. Click here to purchase a copy for yourself!

"Philosophy of Molecular Medicine: Foundational Issues in Theory and Practice aims at a systematic investigation of a number of foundational issues in the field of molecular medicine. The volume is organized around four broad modules focusing, respectively, on the following key aspects: What are the nature, scope, and limits of molecular medicine? How does it provide explanations? How does it represent and model phenomena of interest? How does it infer new knowledge from data and experiments? The essays collected here, authored by prominent scientists and philosophers of science, focus on a handful of mainstream topics in the philosophical literature, such as causationexplanationmodeling, and scientific inference. These previously unpublished contributions shed new light on these traditional topics by integrating them with problems, methods, and results from three prominent areas of contemporary biomedical science: basic researchtranslational and clinical research, and clinical practice."

Dr. Thomas Nail interviewed by The other journal

Dr. Thomas Nail was recently interviewed by The Other Journal: An Intersection of Theology and Culture on his book The Figure of the Migrant. Check out the full interview "Kinopolitics and The Figure of the Migrant" here

10/25 "You are not an event (are you?)" talk w/ michael brent

Join the Department of Philosophy 4:00-6:00pm on Tuesday, October 25 in Sturm 258 for Dr. Michael Brent's talk "You are Not an Event (Are You?)". 

Recent philosophical wisdom suggests that your desires, beliefs, intentions, and other mental events cause your bodily actions. Dr. Brent argues that such wisdom ought to be rejected on the grounds that it has a rather bizarre implication, namely, that you play zero role in bringing about the actions that you perform.

Click here for more information.

Dr. Thomas Nail receives Symposium Book Award

Dr. Thomas Nail was recently proclaimed the winner of the Eleventh Annual Symposium Book Award for his book The Figure of the Migrant ! If you haven't read it yet, be sure to pick up a copy!

9/22 Philosophy club: "What is 'is'?"

Please join the Philosophy Club Thursday, September 22 at 6:30pm in Sturm 258 for their first student-led discussion of the quarter, "What is 'is'?" and discuss being and what it means to exist!

*Light refreshments will be served

*ALL are welcome!

Dr. Thomas nail receives neh grant

Dr. Thomas Nail, with Daniel Smith and Nicolae Morar, received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for $170,000 for the translation and editing of the unpublished course lectures of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. For more information on this project, visit the website, Between Deleuze and Foucault.

Congratulations, Dr. Nail!

9/22 "HANNAH ARENDT AND MARTIN HEIDEGGER: TECHNOLOGY, MASS SOCIETY, AND THE 'BANALITY OF EVIL'"  W/ RICHARD WOLIN

Richard Wolin, distinguished Professor of European Intellectual History and Political Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center (City University of New York), will be giving his talk "Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger: Technology, Mass Society, and the 'Banality of Evil'" on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, 12:00-1:30 p.m. in Sturm Hall, 251.

How might one address the seminal question of Heidegger’s influence on Hannah Arendt: above all, with reference to Eichmann in Jerusalem’s controversial “banality of evil” thesis? In this pathbreaking study, Heidegger’s critique of modern technology appears to frame Arendt’s understanding of Eichmann as a “desk-murderer” and “bureaucrat.”

Although Arendt rarely cites Heidegger, his influence on her mature political thought was extensive and profound. The Heideggerian notions of “world” and “worldhood,” as developed in Being and Time, figure prominently in Arendt’s political lexicon. And in many respects, the Human Condition, whose central category is the idea of “action,” constitutes a powerful rejoinder to the later Heidegger’s devaluation of politics in favor of the fatalism of the “history of Being.”

Forty years after her death, Arendt’s political thought appears more relevant than ever – hence, the importance of closely examining its intellectual origins at a time when, with the publication of the Black Notebooks, the “Heidegger controversy” has re-emerged, raising additional questions about the dubious ideological orientation of Heidegger's “fundamental ontology.”

Richard Wolin is Distinguished Professor of European Intellectual History and Political Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center (City University of New York). His many books include:

  • The Wind from the East: May '68, French Intellectuals, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Princeton University Press, 2010)
  • The Frankfurt School Revisited and Other Essays on Politics and Society (Routledge, 2006)
  • The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism From Nietzsche to Postmodernism (Princeton University Press, 2004)
  • Heidegger’s Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse (Princeton University Press, 2001)
  • Labyrinths: Explorations in the Critical History of Ideas (University of Massachusetts Press, 1995)
  • The Terms of Cultural Criticism: The Frankfurt School, Existentialism, Poststructuralism (Columbia University Press, 1992)
  • The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 1992)
  • The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger (Columbia University Press, 1990)
  • Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption (Columbia University Press, 1982)

This event is co-sponsored by the Political Theory Forum, the Department of Philosophy - University of Denver, the Center for Judaic Studies, and Critical Theory at The University of Denver.

It is free of charge and open to the public.

Click here for a map of campus.

Click here for more information.

9/15-9/16 Visiting Scholars Dr. Justine Kingsbury & Dr. Tim Dare

Please join the department in welcoming two visiting scholars from New Zealand for two lectures this fall.

Join us for Dr. Justine Kingsbury's (Philosophy - University of Waikato, New Zealand) talk "Conceptual Housekeeping" on Thursday, September 15th from 2:00-4:00pm in Sturm 476.

Abstract:
"In this paper, I consider some kinds of conceptual untidiness and how to respond to them. A concept might be incoherent given our best science (as is the case with NEWTONIAN MASS and arguably with FREE WILL), or it may lump together a collection of things that are not genuinely of the same kind (as is the case with JADE and with INNATENESS), or it may be spuriously precise (HEXADECAROON: a person who is exactly one-sixteenth black). Philosophers such as Frank Jackson are inclined to hold on to such concepts as FREE WILL, while admitting that strictly speaking nothing in the actual world corresponds to them. They take their job to be finding the right successor concept, which will be close enough to what we normally mean by "free will" to be worthy of the name. In this paper, I discuss this and competing responses to conceptual untidiness."

Join us the very next day for Dr. Tim Dare's (Philosophy - University of Auckland, New Zealand) talk "Predictive Risk Modeling as Screening: An Ethical Analysis" on Friday, September 16th from 2:00-4:00pm in Sturm 258.

Abstract:
"Predictive Risk Modeling (PRM) tools use automated algorithms to generate risk scores for the probability of some future event or state of affairs. Such tools promise considerable benefits in social policy contexts. However PRM also brings significant ethical risks and costs, including predictable false positives, the possible stigmatization of already vulnerable populations, the use of data without consent, and difficulties in designing  and implementing effective interventions. Not surprisingly, PRM has been treated with suspicion in social policy contexts. This paper is part of a larger project addressing the ethics of predictive risk modeling (PRM) in such contexts. It takes a PRM developed in New Zealand for use in child protection as its focus and treats it as a screening tool, applying and extending existing ethical analysis of such tools in order to identify and assess one cluster of ethical concerns about PRM. Doing so clarifies both some worries about the use of PRM in social policy contexts and the proper interpretation of existing conditions for ethical screening."

9/8 Discoveries Lecture w/ Dr. Marco Nathan

Will you be a first-year student this Fall? Don't miss Dr. Marco Nathan's lecture "Of Molecules and Minions: Storytelling in Science" during Discoveries Week on Thursday, 9/8 from 4:40-5:30pm!

*First-year students only*

Dr. Thomas Nail's Theory of the Border released

"We live in a world of borders. Territorial, political, juridical, and economic borders of all kinds quite literally define every aspect of social life in the twenty-first century. Despite the celebration of globalization and the increasing necessity of global mobility, there are more types of borders today than ever before in history. In the last twenty years, but particularly since 9/11, hundreds of new borders have emerged around the world: miles of new razor-wire fences, tons of new concrete security walls, numerous offshore detention centers, biometric passport databases, and security checkpoints of all kinds in schools, airports, and along various roadways across the world." (taken from Introduction)

Dr. Thomas Nail's new book, Theory of the Border with Oxford University Press was officially released on Tuesday, August 2, 2016.

Preview Theory of the Border here.

Order a copy of your own here.

Hedonic Festival

Join the Department of Philosophy & the DU Philosophy Club for an end of the year Hedonic Festival. Combine your higher & lower pleasures: philosophical discussion, hanging out, & CHOCOLATE!

Friday, May 27th
1:00pm-2:30pm
Philosophy Suite (Sturm 257)

All are welcome! Bring a friend!

Click here to view the invite and here for the Facebook page. 

Philosophy Club: What is Disability? 4/11

Please join the DU Philosophy Club Monday, April 11th from 4:00pm-6:00pm in Sturm 380 for a faculty discussion on "What is Disability?" with Professors Jeffrey Brown and Marco Nathan of the Department of Philosophy. 

Professors Brown and Nathan will discuss this question from the perspectives of Philosophy of Science and Political Philosophy. Together, they present a novel answer to this question.

ALL students and faculty are welcome.

Pizza will be provided.

Questions? 
Email Philosophy@du.edu or call 303-871-2063

WEEK OF JEWISH PHILOSOPHY

Professor Michael L. Morgan (Chancellor’s Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies (Emeritus) at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN) will be on-campus the week of April 11th for DU's annual Week of Jewish Philosophy co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Center for Judaic Studies, DU-Iliff Joint Doctoral Program in Religion, CU-Boulder's Program in Jewish Studies, and the American Academy of Jewish Research.

You can find the full schedule here.

MA student published in The denver journal of international law and policy

Philosophy MA student Cameron O. Hunter's paper “Submission of the Sovereign: An Examination of the Compatibility of Sovereignty and International Law” was recently accepted to be published in The Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, 44.4, 2016. 

Congratulations, Cameron! 

Dr. Brown's "Is Disability a Neutral Condition?"

Dr. Brown's article "Is Disability a Neutral Condition?" was recently accepted by the Journal of Social Philosophy.

Critical Theory Speaker: Marcelo Hoffman 2/11

It is our pleasure to announce our first speaker in the Critical Theory speaker in our series at DU, Marcelo Hoffman, who will be giving a talk on his new book, Foucault and Power, on Michel Foucault’s political theory and activist work this Thursday, February 11th 2-4pm in the Sturm 476. 

Click here for more information.

"Ethics without ethics" w/ dr. sarah pessin 2/12

"Ethics normally refers to rules for living—rules derived from human reasoning (such as: act in a way that maximizes positive outcomes for the greatest number of people) or rules derived from divine command (such as: act in whatever way religious tradition x says that God wants you to act). Either way, rules are rules. In this talk, we explore an alternative view of ethics in Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) for whom a certain vision of the self + a certain way of living in light of that vision of the self bring one to a committed life of responsive/responsible action without rules."

Please join us this Friday (2/12) for Dr. Sarah Pessin's lecture "Ethics Without Ethics" from 8:30-10:00 am in Anderson Academic Commons. 

Click here to read more and register.

"DU Philosopher: We're In The Century Of The Migrant" w/ Dr. Thomas Nail 2/2

"Forget the presidential candidates. There's another important political figure that few seem to talk about: the migrant."

Dr. Thomas Nail was recently interviewed by CPR's Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel on Friday, February 2nd on his new book, The Figure of the Migrant.

You can listen to the interview here.

Dr. Sarah Pessin Receives 2016 Everding Distinguished Lectureship

Congratulations to CJS Director and Philosophy Prof. Sarah Pessin on being awarded the 2016 Everding Distinguished Lecturership. Established through a gift from Prof. H. Edward and Lee Palmer Everding, this endowed lectureship is a project of the Iliff School of Theology and Saint John's Cathedral aimed at enhancing interfaith dialogue and inter-religious learning throughout the community through annual lectures from outstanding visiting teachers.

As part of her Lectureship appointment, Prof. Pessin will be delivering six public lectures this Winter at St. John's Cathedral, including four on forgiveness.

Philosophy Student Travel Fund Award

Undergraduate students may apply for the Philosophy Student Travel Fund Award if presenting a paper at a Philosophy conference. The award will cover one roundtrip airline ticket or two nights in a hotel up to $400 in value. Graduating seniors may not receive the award for travel after their graduation date. Please email Philosophy@du.edu for more information.

AHSS December Faculty Spotlight - Prof. Jere Surber & Video games

Professor and Chair Jere Surber is featured in the AHSS December Faculty Spotlight for his work on the philosophy of video games. 

"The book, provisionally entitled The Philosophy of Video Games, will consider not only how philosophical issues are presented in video games but also ways in which this medium poses new questions for philosophy itself," said Surber. "Ultimately it explores the possibility that video games might represent an entirely new medium for expressing and exploring philosophical views and questions."

Click here to read the article!

12/5-12/6 The Roots of Fiction: Possibilities & Imagination workshop

Professor Marco Nathan will be speaking at The Roots of Fiction: Possibilities and Imagination 2015 Philosophy Workshop December 5th and 6th at the University of Macau.  

"Theoretical accounts of fiction, once confined to the field of aesthetics, are now widely considered as useful frameworks for philosophical investigation more generally. Fictionalist tendencies in various disciplinary fields regard possible worlds, scientific theories and models, numbers, propositional attitudes, mental entities, and the self as if they were fictional objects. In the context of fictionalist-oriented views, imagination has been given a special attention. The workshop will push forward the discussion of the advantages and limits of deploying the aesthetic notion of fiction outside of its original domain, with an emphasis on imagination's role and nature." 

Click here to read more about the workshop.

SAVE THE DATE: PHILOSOPHY CLUB INAUGURAL EVENT & PANEL 1/13 & ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING 1/20

The Department of Philosophy will be reviving the Philosophy Club. Don't miss out on our inaugural event and panel on the nature of harm on Wednesday, January 13th from 6:30-8:00pm in Sturm (room TBA). Panelists include Jeff Brown (Philosophy) and George DeMartino (Korbel). Refreshments will be served. This event and the Philosophy Club are both open to all students interested, undergraduate and graduate. RSVPs are encouraged - Philosophy@du.edu or 303-871-2063. Click here to find out more.

A follow-up meeting regarding the organization of the Philosophy Club will take place the following Wednesday, January 20th from 6:30-8:00pm in Sturm 258. The Philosophy Club is open to all students. Light refreshments will be provided. Click here to find out more.

Marsico Visiting Scholar Andrea Borghini - Workshop & Talk

Please join us for a workshop and talk with Dr. Andrea Borghini co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Marsico Visiting Scholars Program on Friday, November 13th!

The workshop, "The Causal Influence of Redundant Causes," will be held from 10:00am-12:00pm in Sturm 259. Click here to find out more.

The talk, "The Depths of Hunger," will be held from 2:00-4:00 in Sturm 258. Click here to find out more.

From abstract:

"Hunger is central to the human condition. The depths and manifestations of hunger can reveal a surprising array of information about our ancestors, emotions, and world-views. Despite its centrality, outside of discourses surrounding famines and acute food shortages, hunger received sparse and unsystematic attention from scholars. In this talk I present a new line of research that investigates the meaning of hunger and, hence, some core philosophical issues that surround it, most notably the ethics of hunger and the relationship between hunger and agency. People's worldviews and meaning systems, their experiences of morality and agency, influence how they relate to their hunger. By studying such relation, this project aims to offer both theoretical insight as well as to make an important contribution to the discourses on dietetics and public health."

Both events are open to all students, faculty, and public.

The Political Philosophy of Michel Foucault & Gilles Deleuze Conference - Purdue University - 11/13-11/14/15

Purdue University will be holding a conference on The Political Philosophy of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze on November 13th and 14th. Professor Thomas Nail has helped organized this conference and will also be a featured speaker. The conference is free and open to the public. You can find out more by clicking here.

Dr. Marco Nathan Presenting at 31st Boulder Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science

This weekend Professor Marco Nathan will be presenting at the 31st Boulder Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science in Boulder! His presentation, "'Emergent' Complexity in Neural Networks: A Pragmatist Approach" will be given 3:00-3:50pm on Sunday, 10/18. 

Click here for more information.

Dr. Thomas Nail's Work on Migrant Politics: The Figure of the Migrant & Hostis

Professor Thomas Nail has been quite busy this summer with his work on migrant politics!

His new book, His new book, The Figure of the Migrant, is scheduled for publication this September. You can pre-order the book on Amazon now.

The Figure of the Migrant

He was also recently interviewed by the journal Hostis about migrant politics. You can read the interview here.

Dr. Thomas Nail Awarded a PROF Award

Thomas Nail has received a Professional Research Opportunities for Faculty award to conduct research for his next book monograph, Theory of the Border. The book offers a philosophical history of the emergence of material social borders and an original kinetic framework for analyzing contemporary border politics.

Dr. Marco Nathan Presented at the University of Urbino's International Conference on Evaluating Biodiversity

On Monday, June 22nd, Professor Marco Nathan gave his presentation, "Is Biodiversity a Truly Interdisciplinary Field?," at the University of Urbino's International Conference on Evaluating Biodiversity in Italy. 

Click here to read more!

urbino biodiversity conference

DU Bioethics Debate Team Places 3rd in National Competition

On April 4-7, 2015, the philosophy department sent four DU philosophy majors to Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL to compete in the Bioethics Bowl, a debate competition that is part of the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference.

During its seven years of existence, the DU Bioethics Debate Team has placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th; once, the team did not place despite winning all its rounds, and the team also hosted the debate and conference at DU! Further, the team has travelled widely across the U.S., to Harvard University, Puget Sound University, Duke University, Loyola University Chicago, and Georgetown University.

 Bioethics

From left to right, this year's bioethics debate team consists of: Tal-Hi Bitton (Philosophy), Brandon Arnold (Philosophy), Nick Esposito (Philosophy), & Angela Ott (Philosophy).

The DU team competed against nineteen other teams, including UCLA, Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago, Rutgers University, Loyola University New Orleans, The Illinois Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, Bowling Green State University, San Jose State University, and University of Miami.

During the competition, Arnold, Bitton, Esposito, and Ott debated their views on suppressing puberty in transsexual youths, the use of oxytocin pills to enhance relationships, force feeding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, concussions in high school football, and treating mental disorders in U.S. prisoners, along with several other compelling, contemporary bioethical issues.

Bioethics debate coach and Professor of Philosophy Candace Upton is very proud and is looking forward to next year's Bioethics Bowl, which will take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.