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Department of Philosophy


Department of Philosophy

Events & News

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
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.

Email or call 303-871-2063


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 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.


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 - 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.


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.