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Department Colloquia

Colloquium: Tamar Schapiro

Most philosophers agree that when we act in a weak-willed way, e.g., indulging an appetite against our better judgment, we are not simply being overpowered by an external force. Weak-willed action, though weak, is still in some sense willed. And yet it is also weak. I argue that philosophers have underestimated the difficulty of explaining the sense in which it is weak, and I offer my own account, which draws on the details of my theory of inclination.

Colloquium: Angela Potochnik

Levels of organization and their use in science have received increased philosophical attention of late, including challenges to the well-foundedness or widespread usefulness of levels concepts. One kind of response to these challenges has been to advocate a more precise and specific levels concept that is coherent and useful. Another kind of response has been to argue that the levels concept should be taken as a heuristic, to embrace its ambiguity and the possibility of exceptions as acceptable consequences of its usefulness.

Colloquium: Robin Dembroff

Decades of feminist theory have approached the question ‘what is gender?’ with an eye to gender as a system— in particular, the system that creates and sustains patriarchy. Using this approach, feminists have proposed theories of gender focused on the social positions that persons occupy within a patriarchal system. These analyses almost uniformly assume a gender binary (men & women), and so look for corresponding, binary social positions.

Kant and German Idealism: A Conference in Honor of Rolf-Peter Horstmann

Kant and German Idealism: A Conference in Honor of Rolf-Peter Horstmann
Place: Cohen Hall 402, University of Pennsylvania (but see qualification below)
Date and time: Oct. 4, 2pm to 7pm; Oct. 5, 9:30am (coffee) to 4:30pm.
Friday, Oct. 4 (opening remarks and first talk in Philosophy Library, 4th floor, Cohen)
2pm to 2:10: Opening remarks: Gary Hatfield (Penn)
2:10 to 3:20: Nabeel Hamid (Concordia): “Kant on Physicotheology”

Colloquium: Jane Friedman

ABSTRACT: You're wondering whether you turned the stove off. You're pretty sure you did, but just to be safe you check again. Then you check a third time. And then another time after that. And then a further time. And this keeps going. This sort of incessant checking and re-checking is not a model of rationality: it looks like a misuse of time and energy and might even be pathological. Is it epistemically acceptable behaviour though? It certainly doesn't feel as though you're thriving epistemically when you keep checking and re-checking on the stove.

Colloquium: Meena Krishnamurthy

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to develop an account of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s justification for and use of, what I will call, "democratic propaganda" – truthful propaganda that is aimed at promoting and fostering democratic political action by stirring the emotions. Interpreting it light of his broader work, I argue that King’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a piece of democratic propaganda.