Friday, November 27, 2015

Spelman to Talk on Moral Luck

Everyone be sure to check out our colloquium next week (after Thanksgiving)!  Our very own alumnus, Jonathan Spelman, will be delivering a talk on moral luck.  Click on the link for more details!

Philosophy Colloquium to be Held at Ashland University


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Metaphysics and Science

The relationship between Philosophy and Science has been less than ideal since the 18th century.  Their love affair survived distance, infidelity, and numerous other challenges, and if we are to believe the tabloids, they're heading for a rocky divorce, justified by "irreconcilable differences."  In his short blog entry reproduced below, Michael Egnor focuses on one significant point that, were it understood and taken seriously, might help us heal the relationship that actually emerged between these two disciplines.


Metaphysics Is Prior to Science

Over the past couple of days I have been commenting on the modern debate about philosophy of the mind (see here and here). What follows are some thoughts on scientific versus philosophical discussions of the mind and other matters.

I was at a conference recently and was asked by friends who are quite sympathetic to the immaterial understanding of the mind if I could discuss some of the scientific evidence for it and not rely as heavily as I otherwise do on philosophical reasoning. It's an understandable request, and one that I hear often from allies and adversaries alike. 

Indeed there is much scientific evidence that the mind cannot be explained adequately in material terms, especially if one understands matter according to modern mechanical philosophy. I have an aversion to the use of scientific arguments to bolster claims that are inherently logical and metaphysical. Such recourse to scientific, rather than logical and metaphysical, arguments are the mainstay of materialist arguments about the mind, about biology, and about many aspects of physics. 

The difficulty with using raw scientific evidence, untethered from a valid metaphysical framework, is that it gives free reign to ideological bias. In that sense our metaphysical framework -- whether explicit or implicit -- is analogous to train tracks, where the trains are our scientific investigations, and the destination is the truth. Our scientific investigations are restricted to the tracks that the trains run on, and if we are to understand the truth of our science we must understand the tracks that constrain our work. If our metaphysical framework is materialistic, the destination of our inquiries will always be materialistic -- we can do no other.

Metaphysics is prior to science, and science goes horribly wrong if we have an error in metaphysics. An obvious example of profoundly misguided science that arose from metaphysical error is Francis Bacon's abandonment of teleology in the 17th century in favor of a mechanical understanding of nature. Evolution of living things is understood quite readily in a teleological framework -- the nonsensical invocation of tautology (survival of survivors) in the Darwinian fallacy is the direct consequence of the abandonment of teleology in natural science.

Another metaphysical error for which we have paid dearly is the abandonment of the concept of potency and act which is at the heart of Aristotelian metaphysics. Our misunderstanding of the "strangeness of quantum mechanics" such as the existence of myriad indeterminate quantum states that collapse to a single actual state upon observation is the direct consequence of the abandonment of Aristotelian potency and act with the rise of mechanical philosophy in the 17th century. Quantum indeterminacy confounded Bohr and Einstein and Schrodinger, who were trapped in mechanistic Newtonian metaphysics.

Aristotle wouldn't have blinked an eye at quantum indeterminacy -- the collapse of the quantum waveform is a simple manifestation of reduction of potency to act. Heisenberg, who understood Aristotle, understood this.

The use of scientific arguments for things for which they are not suited is a hallmark of scientism, and it is among the most pernicious errors of modern thought. It is important that we who oppose materialism and scientism don't employ scientistic arguments to refute scientism.

So my arguments about the mind are strongly metaphysical, with only occasional reference to clinical experience and to neuroscience. It is not true that neuroscience supports materialistic understandings of the mind; neuroscience in fact only makes sense if one sets aside modern mechanical metaphysics and looks instead to the classical hylomorphic metaphysics of Aristotle and the Scholastics. Bennett and Hacker have made this point in their profoundly important work to rid neuroscience of its philosophical junk.

Wholly materialistic models of the mind are wrong for logical and metaphysical reasons. Only when we understand those metaphysical errors can we properly interpret the scientific evidence.

Modern science is a metaphysical wasteland. Our sad state of affairs is that we moderns have much more scientific evidence than we have metaphysical insight with which to make sense of that evidence.

Image: Francis Bacon, by Frans Pourbus the younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Spring 2016 Classes!

A scientist and an English professor walk into a bar.
The philosopher following them was careful to duck

Check out these great Spring 2016 courses!

Phil 314: 19th Century History of Philosophy
Dr. William Vaughan [M 6:30--9:15 pm]
The 19th century remains one of the most volatile episodes in the history of philosophy, with revolutionary movements of thinking emerging in rapid succession. The first half of the century is marked by philosophical system-building, embodied by the efforts of German Idealism. We will look at Kant and Hegel as representatives of this endeavor. The second half is marked by system-destroying, that any philosophical ‘system’ of thought necessarily suffocates and suppresses human being. We will look at Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche as representatives of this task. After their explosive efforts, some have concluded that any efforts to construct a comprehensive philosophical system are fruitless. We will explore whether or not this is the case. Note: This course does NOT satisfy a core Humanities requirement, but non-majors can still get a lot out of this class.

Phil 317: Philosophy of Religion
Dr. Louis Mancha [TTh 12:15--1:30 pm]

Traditionally, it is claimed that the God of Western monotheism has certain distinct properties. God is said to be all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), and all-good (omnibenevolent), for example. The significant worry is this: Are those properties consistent? In other words, is God really a possible being? If God is not a possible being, then is it even rational to believe in God? Many philosophers and theologians have developed problems and paradoxes that appear to result from a deeper analysis of these properties. The purpose of this class is to address and respond to these issues. We will study what it means to say that God has certain perfections or properties, and what is implied by them. We will also analyze some of the paradoxes and apparent inconsistencies that philosophers have observed in connection with these properties, and attend to some possible solutions to those paradoxes. Satisfies a Humanities core requirement.

Phil 330: Readings in Philosophy (C.S. Lewis)
Dr. Mark Hamilton [MWF 10--10:50 am]

Is Christianity reasonable?  What are the best arguments to confirm Christianity’s truth claims?  Do you know anything about the author of The Chronicles of Narnia?  This is a course on the most vital and most important Christian writer of the Twentieth Century, C.S. Lewis.  Lewis, an Oxford scholar, wrote marvelous works of fiction on unseen worlds and challenging books defending issues like the validity of miracles and the problem of suffering, along with popular essays probing life’s great mysteries.  Lewis has boundless insight to the historical and philosophical issues emerging in the Twentieth Century. Enjoy a course that will be explicitly Christian while addressing questions every non-believer asks concerning God. Satisfies a Humanities core requirement.

  COMPLETE YOUR CORE with these other Spring offerings!

Math/Logic:     Phil 220: Practical Thinking, Dr. Mancha
Humanities:     Phil 210: Phil. of Human Nature, Dr. Tiel
Phil 215: Ethics, Dr. Hamilton, and Dr. Mancha
Phil 280A: Sports Ethics, Dr. Hamilton
Phil 280B: Environmental Ethics, Dr. Vaughan

Bring your ‘A’ game to all your classes, whatever your major!
Learn to think philosophically.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 Amazing Illusions

When thinking about the ancient problem of scepticism, what kinds of issues would have weighed heavily on the mind of the sceptic?  As Cicero conjectures, there's the problem of the bent oar, or the pigeon's neck, or judging the size of the moon using its visual dimensions.  No doubt the senses deliver to us conflicting information, they claim, so there's no reason to believe that we can have certitude about any impression or phantasia they deliver.

So let's enjoy these moments...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Unique Scholarship/Study Abroad Program

The Davies-Jackson Scholarship provides a unique opportunity for graduating seniors with exceptional academic records who will graduate with a 3.7 or higher overall grade point average. To be eligible for the Davies-Jackson Scholarship applicants must be graduating seniors enrolled in one of the private liberal arts colleges and universities on the list of eligible institutions (Ashland is on the list!). The applicant should be among the first generation in their family to graduate from college, that is, the applicant’s parents should not have graduated from a four year college or university, or the applicant should not have benefitted from their parent’s academic achievements.

The Davies-Jackson Scholar will be admitted to Cambridge as an Affiliated Student.  An Affiliated Student is a graduate holding an approved degree from another university who is admitted to work for the Cambridge BA degree.  As this is essentially a second BA, Affiliated Students take the more advanced parts of a Cambridge degree course and qualify for the degree in two years instead of the usual three.  As a result of its academic rigor, the international travel opportunities that are available, and the overall preparation that the course of study provides towards a career, the “Cantab” degree is usually considered to be the equivalent of a Master’s degree in the United States.

For all the details and forms for this unique program, go to the main website HERE.

Details for this program are also on Facebook.

Undergraduate Publishing Opportunities

Many of our philosophy students do great research and write wonderful papers for our classes.  However, many students are not aware of the vast opportunities they have to show off their work and gain the recognition they deserve.

For anyone who has written a philosophy paper and is looking to try and get some recognition for it, be aware that there are undergraduate journals to which you can submit your work! Here are a few:

1. Phi Sigma Tau has an undergraduate journal, and you do not have to be a member to submit work!  It's called Dialogue:

2. Another regional journal called Episteme is run out of Denison University:

3. Lastly, there's Stance, out of Ball State:

For a list of even more journals and publishing opportunities for undergraduates, you can peruse the following site (courtesy of Luther College):

List of undergraduate philosophy journals


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Do you love your Children? Teach them Philosophy...

All too often, students and parents alike question the value and purpose of a philosophical education.  They think that philosophy is either too theoretical or impractical, and believe falsely that it does not provide people with realistic skills for the changing job market.

However, a report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities on Liberal Arts Majors and Employment explains that employers give hiring preferences to college graduates that are innovative, can think critically, have strong written and verbal communication skills, can solve complex problems, and have good ethical judgment.  Studying philosophy can offer you these skills, and more.

 For the full report, click [HERE].

Further, these critical thinking skills should be developed much earlier in life.  The recently released year long study by the Education Endowment Foundation found that children practicing philosophy saw an improvement in their reading, writing and math skills: (

Whether you're a teacher or a parent, you can begin teaching your children thinking strategies with Peter Worley's book "40 Lesson to Get Children Thinking"!  It's rich new resource with step-by-step lesson plans any teacher can implement straight away. Due for a October release, you can now pre-order a copy from Bloomsbury Publishing for 30% less than the RRP! Also available for pre-order through Amazon:

For more information on teaching philosophy to children, you can find a wide variety of resources, studies, articles, and advice from the Philosophy Foundation, both on Facebook and the Web.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fall Philosophy Lecture!

The Department of Philosophy, AU Philosophy Club, and phi sigma tau proudly sponsor the following presentation:

Understanding Knowing How

Dr. Evan Riley
Department of Philosophy
College of Wooster

Friday, September 25, 2015 at 3 pm
                   in the Ronk Lecture Hall (138), COE

In recent years, the philosopher Jason Stanley has been defending a doctrine of intellectualism about knowledge how. The basic thought is that knowing how to f is fundamentally knowing a proposition; it is as propositional as any other kind of knowledge that. This doctrine is of course contrary to Gilbert Ryle’s view (with which many still have sympathy) that there is a basic distinction of kind: knowing how to f (on the one hand) and knowing that p (on the other). Here, I consider an argument against Stanley’s intellectualism. The argument hinges on appeal to the nature of skilled performance, and comes in two stages. Stage one is an elementary objection, which I expect Stanley’s defender to answer by appeal to the concept of a practical mode of presentation (or practical way of thinking). In stage two, I submit this appeal to critical scrutiny and find it wanting. The lesson I draw is that knowing how to f should not be construed as the Stanley-style intellectualist would have it.

Evan Riley is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The College of Wooster, where he teaches such subjects as ethical theory, logic, political philosophy, biomedical ethics, and the philosophy of mind. He is a generalist by temperament and was educated at the Universities of Louisville and of Pittsburgh. Evan has published on the self-defeating character of libertarianism and on the poverty of Amartya Sen’s criticisms of Rawls.

If you have a mind, you should attend!  Please join us for an enlightening discussion!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Platonic Forms and Sandwiches

Do you know what a sandwich is?  Really?  If so, then Socrates would like to have a word with you.

In the full article, Dr. M. Richey discusses her friend "Mike" and his constant fights about what objective qualities can be said to constitute a "sandwich". 

Click the link HERE and read the full article.  Meanwhile, enjoy the following dialogue:

Euthyphro and Socrates: The Sandwich

— Well, Socrates, I am happy to tell you what a sandwich is, as I have great knowledge of these things as you know.
— Thank you, Euthyphro, I will be glad to listen to you, for you are a learned man and I am just a poor beggar. So tell me, please, how can we know that which is a sandwich, apart from those things that are not sandwiches?
— Socrates, it could not be more simple. A sandwich is anything edible held in a container that is also edible.
— I see; that is very clear indeed. So this taco is a sandwich.
— No Socrates, that is a taco. A sandwich is something quite different, as you may quickly see by noting that they are called by different names.
— And yet, Euthyphro, here we have some soy ground beef—surely this is edible—and as you see, it is held in this container, which is a fried tortilla, and which I eat along with the material inside. Surely this is a sandwich!
— Well, Socrates, that is not quite right. I will try to be more clear: a sandwich is that which is edible, held in a container made of bread, surely.
— So then this hot dog, of course, is a sandwich. Thank you, Euthyphro!
— Well Socrates… a hot dog is something very like a sandwich, and yet it does not seem to me to be exactly a sandwich either, somehow. I see where you have misunderstood—let me clarify. A sandwich consists of some edible material, in between TWO pieces of bread, which must be separate from one another.
— I see; that is very clear indeed. So this pizza placed face down atop this other pizza, this is a sandwich.
— No, Socrates, I see that you do not understand at all. That is nothing like a sandwich.
— Now Euthyphro, how can this be? For truly here I see edible items—those are cheese, tomato sauce, and vegan pepperoni—and they are indeed to be found in between two pieces of bread—that is the pizza crust. How can this not be a sandwich, then?
— Well, Socrates, you have twisted my words around somehow. I did not mean ANY edible items in between ANY type of bread; I meant something rather more specific.
— Now Euthyphro, you are teasing a poor old man. You told me you would explain what a sandwich was, so that I might learn from your wisdom, yet now you seem to have told me nothing at all.
— Socrates, I will try to explain so that you might understand. A sandwich must be easily held in the hands, whereas two pizzas atop one another, as I’m sure you can see, are quite impossible to hold easily in the hands, as the whole is much too large and floppy.
— Ah, thank you Euthyphro, now I feel we are getting somewhere. Truly, now I think I understand. If a sandwich is something edible in between two pieces of bread, with the whole composed in such a way as to be easily held within the two hands, then obviously three pieces of bread, held together in the hands, is a sandwich.
— I do not see what you mean, Socrates. Surely a stack of pieces of bread is simply a loaf of bread, as any man knows.
— Now Euthyphro, you seem to be teasing me again, for look, here is a piece of edible bread, placed in between two other pieces of bread, the whole of which, you must agree, I hold quite easily in my hands, withered and shaking though they may be.
— Well Socrates, it is true, now that I think on it, that these three pieces of bread do in fact ascribe to my earlier definition. And yet, anyone could tell you that this is not a sandwich.
— Then Euthyphro I think you must start over, if you are ever to help me understand. Come now, don’t keep an old man waiting. Surely one as learned as you should easily be able to explain what a sandwich is to a poor old fool such as myself. Please begin again, and this time try to be more clear.
— Socrates I really must go, I will be late for my appointment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Theory of Jerkdom

Are you a jerk?  Would you even know it if you were?

Picture the world through the eyes of the jerk. The line of people in the post office is a mass of unimportant fools; it’s a felt injustice that you must wait while they bumble with their requests. The flight attendant is not a potentially interesting person with her own cares and struggles but instead the most available face of a corporation that stupidly insists you shut your phone. Custodians and secretaries are lazy complainers who rightly get the scut work. The person who disagrees with you at the staff meeting is an idiot to be shot down. Entering a subway is an exercise in nudging past the dumb schmoes. 

We need a theory of jerks.

Surprisingly enough, philosophers have thought about this.  Eric Schwitzgebel, professor of philosophy at University of California, Riverside, has a theory, and is willing to tell us about it.

Read the full article HERE.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Philosophy's NOT Dead

In a short but enlightening article, Katelyn Hallman assesses the famous declaration made by Stephen Hawking that “philosophy is dead.”

Read her article here: Philosophy's Not Dead.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Why don’t people believe in science?"

The Why? Radio show presents the following talk:

 "Why don’t people believe in science?"

Guest: Dan M. Kahan

Listen from anywhere in the world at

Every day, people reject evolution and climate change, arguing instead for their personal beliefs over evidence. Despite years of education and more access to information than any time in history, people are rejecting vaccinations and forsaking personal savings for the lottery. On the next episode of Why? Radio we are going to look at the science of science communication and the patterns behind why people reject science. 

Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. In addition to risk perception, his areas of research include criminal law and evidence. Prior to coming to Yale in 1999, Professor Kahan was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School. He also served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court (1990-91) and to Judge Harry Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1989-90). He received his B.A. from Middlebury College and his J.D. from Harvard University.

Dan is a lead researcher for The Cultural Cognition Project, a group of scholars interested in studying how cultural values shape public risk perceptions and related policy beliefs. Visit that webpage here:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

That 'Useless' Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket

This story appears in the August 17, 2015 issue of Forbes. 

Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger.

“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

For the full story, CLICK HERE! 


Friday, June 26, 2015

How to Run A University

We all know how difficult it is to turn down a raise, but for the third year in a row, President Santa Ono of the University of Cincinnati has rejected his annual bonus of $200,000.  Instead, he has asked that his bonus be given to 14 scholarships and charities.  Click on the link below to read the full story:

Read the news article here

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Value of Philosophy

"Philosophy departments face many challenges.  Philosophy is perceived by some as “less practical” and so less choiceworthy a course of study.  Most entering students have not taken philosophy courses and do not come to college thinking about studying philosophy. Philosophy is unfamiliar, its critical element can scare away some students, and it has a reputation among undergraduates as being hard. The result of this appears to be lower enrollments, and an increased threat to the survival of philosophy departments from budget-conscious administrators and legislators."

For a different view, you can visit the Daily Nous pages.  There, you'll get a balanced perspective.  We all know that studying philosophy is valuable not only for its own sake, but for the skills that one develops when doing it, for the attitudes it encourages, and many other reason.

Click here to visit the Daily Nous Value of Philosophy Pages.  The purpose of VPP is to provide a centralized, highly visible, and up-to-date resource for those seeking information about the benefits of studying philosophy and those seeking to disseminate such information. It is intended for a wide range of users, including: students making choices about their studies, departments trying to attract students and majors, faculty and administrators looking for arguments and data with which to defend philosophy’s place in the college curriculum, teachers seeking to learn about the value of philosophy outreach programs, and so on.

The purpose of VPP is to be an easy-to-find resource for those who may be interested in creating and maintaining such sites, and for people the world over to share new relevant material.

Some of the information on VPP is data regarding test scores and salaries. There is also room on VPP for essays and passages that discuss the intrinsic, or at least less directly pragmatic, value of studying philosophy.

Click here for more information!

Philosophy: Meaning and Love

We here in the Philosophy Department at AU are proud of our graduates!  As part of the SOAR program, Career Services has put together some promotional videos for us.  Check them out:

Nate Bebout is an Ashland University alumnus from the class of 2007, with a degree in philosophy and religion. Learn how he followed his passions and found a meaningful career in campus ministry!

Michael Donatini is a 2003 Ashland alumni. He majored in three different departments, which included Philosophy, Political Science and Journalism!

2015-16 Phi Sigma Tau Inductees

Ashland University's PHI SIGMA TAU, Ohio Mu Chapter, honors students who have demonstrated academic excellence in philosophy.  Membership is by invitation, based on significant academic achievement.  We would like to present the new members for the 2015-2016 academic year:

 Lauren Brumbaugh
James Coyne

Logan Darsee
Steven Forbush
Christopher Hassman
Aaron McKinney
John Osborne
Jacob Westfall

Congratulations to our newest (and returning) members!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Animated Philosophers

Writer, editor, and host George Chatzivasileiou has put together some great introductions to the great thinkers of history.  Called "Animated...Philosophers", these videos are short and worth watching, covering a range of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and others!

You can link to his YouTube page here to see the videos: Animated...Philosophers

Enjoy his video on Socrates below:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Upcoming Fall/Summer 2015 Classes

Philosophy is Natural.  Philosophy is Good.
Not everybody studies it, but everybody should
Sign up for these great Fall 2015 courses!

Phil 313: Contemporary Philosophy
Dr. William Vaughan [TTh 12:15-1:30 pm]

Heidegger & Wittgenstein
This course will examine the two strongest movements of thought in the twentieth century, those of analytic and continental philosophy, which circle around two of the greatest philosophical geniuses of that century, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). Analytic philosophy is primarily a British, German, and American movement in thought, focusing its attention on logical and linguistic analysis. Continental philosophy, for all of its difficulty, is perhaps best understood as a rebellion against the abstract thinking of the analytic movement. Join us for an exploration of the roots of contemporary thought.

Phil 330: Readings: War, Espionage, & Terror (Core Humanities)
Dr. Jeffrey Tiel [T 6:30-9:15 pm]

Spying did not die when the cold war ended. It metastasized. Its tentacles have reached into every area of our lives: our communications, our purchases, and our “private” medical information. But without spies, George Washington would have failed in the Revolutionary War. Nazi Germany, too, was defeated in large part due to an enormous counter-intelligence campaign waged by the Allies. So, how far can spies go? What are their prudential, ethical, and legal limits both within and without war? And in the wake of the ever-changing face of Islamic Jihadist Terror, have we come to the end of liberty? This Fall join us and take the plunge into the mysterious world of secrecy, terrorism, and warfare.

Phil/Chem 350: Science as a Cultural Force: The Tobacco Wars
Dr. William Vaughan & Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer [MW 3-4:30 pm]
May be taken for either a Core Humanities requirement OR a Core Natural Science requirement!

The golden age of tobacco consumption was in the 20’s and 30’s, fostered in part by World War I. It was not until the 1950’s that the growing body of medical data began to convince public health authorities that tobacco use posed one of the largest preventable health effects in human history. There thus arose an enormous cultural war regarding cigarettes and tobacco products. Does smoking in fact cause cancer, heart disease, and other health problems? Should nicotine be treated as a controlled substance? Are tobacco companies morally or financially responsible for the health effects of their products? Are the tobacco wars best understood as a multi-billion dollar industry that thrives on marketing a deadly product, or have various “politically correct” forces exaggerated the situation so as to extort tobacco companies for millions of their profits and erode people’s rights to enjoy tobacco products? The debate about tobacco provides an excellent case study for the examination of fundamental questions about the nature of science, and the role of science and ethics in public health contexts.

COMPLETE YOUR CORE with these offerings!

FALL 2015

Math/Logic:      Phil 205: Intro to Philosophy, Dr. Tiel
Humanities:      Phil 208: Thinkers in Dialogue, Dr. Mancha
          Phil 210: Phil. of Human Nature, Dr. Tiel
          Phil 215: Ethics, Dr. Hamilton or Dr. Mancha
          Phil 280D: Bioethics, Dr. Hamilton
Religion:          Phil 217: Thought & Belief, Dr. Mancha


Humanities:    Phil 215: Ethics (Sum A), Dr. Mancha
        Phil 280H OL: Workplace Ethics (Sum B), Dr. Vaughan
        Phil 210 OL: Human Nature (Sum E), Dr. Tiel
Religion:         Phil 217 OL: Thought & Belief (Sum E), Dr. Tiel

It’s never too late to learn how to think.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Upcoming Spring Philosophy Lecture!

the Ashland University Department of Philosophy
in conjunction with the AU Philosophy Club and Phi Sigma Tau
proudly sponsor the following lecture

Accountability Awry?
A Philosophical Diagnosis

     Dr. Michael Seifried
College of Wooster, OH
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Time: 4-5 pm
Place: Schar Ronk Lecture Hall

Can we be accountable to shared standards without becoming miserable?  Attention to accountability has recently exploded not only in popular culture (e.g., the “common core”), but also in moral and political philosophy.  As a result, the philosophical connection between our mutual accountability and the quality of our lives has never been more important.  In this talk, Dr. Michael Seifried addresses this question and its animating concerns.  For good reason, he argues, a focus on accountability seems stifling and ultimately counterproductive.  Critics of the focus on accountability in moral and political philosophy, like critics in popular culture, are indeed onto something profoundly awry about our practices of accountability and how we talk about them.  Drawing on contemporary philosophy of science, classic works of German philosophy, and recent research in cognitive science, Seifried argues that the way we conceive of the shared “standards” that ground practices of accountability is the ultimate problem.  After presenting this diagnosis, Seifried explores an alternative theory of accountability and its prospects.