Philosophy in Utah

October 18, 2016

2016 Intermountain Philosophy Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 6:43 pm

… will be at Weber State on Friday, November 4th, with Dr. Alexander Izrailevsky as our key note speaker. Here is a pdf of the program: 2016ipcprogram

2017 Intermountain West Student Philosophy Conference – U of U

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 8:49 am

Deadline for submissions: December 5th.

More information on this pdf: iwspc-cfa-02

October 17, 2016

Miriam Solomon at U of U

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 12:07 pm
DATE Friday, October 21, 2016
TIME 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm MDT
CAMPUS LOCATIONS Humanities Building – Carolyn Tanner Irish (CTIHB)
ROOM NAME/NUMBER Tanner Library, Room 459

October 3, 2016

Philosophy of Games workshop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 6:58 pm

… at UVU and U Utah over October 14-15. For more information, please see this flyer:


September 29, 2016

“The Religious Witness Against War”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 4:27 pm

The Tanner-McMurrin Lecture Series featuring
Cheyney Ryan, Oxford University
Westminster College
Thursday, October 6
Reception at 6 pm, Lecture at 7 pm

PDF: tm-poster-11×17

September 28, 2016

John Corvino at SUU

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 5:25 pm
“Fighting Bigotry, Respecting Religion, Valuing Diversity: The Gay Moralist Reflects on the Culture Wars”
John Corvino (Wayne State)
Tuesday, October 11th, 7:00 p.m.
For the past 25 years John Corvino, also known as “the Gay Moralist,” has used his unique combination of logical precision, sensitivity, and humor to bridge divides in the
debate over LGBT rights. In this talk, he reflects on the rhetoric of the current culture
wars—which have largely moved from same-sex marriage to conflicts over religious liberty. In it, he confronts hard questions: How do we fight discrimination while still respecting moral and religious diversity? What’s the difference between having strong convictions and being a “bigot”? And how can we have a productive conversation about all of these topics without trampling on one another’s toes? The talk will include a substantial Q&A component.

April 15, 2016

Amartya Sen to visit University of Utah

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 1:08 pm

Next Friday (April 22nd). Details here.

April 6, 2016

U of U Colloquium: “Biological Normality: A Concept and its Problems”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 9:26 am

Ronald Amundson, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Friday, 4/8, at 2:30

Judgments of biological normality seem intuitive and harmless. But things are not so simple. This talk will examine biological normality from two perspectives. First, disability rights advocates argue that the concept presupposes ableism, meaning a social bias against people with unusual sets of abilities. Ableism is claimed to have no better moral basis than sexism or racism. Respect for human diversity should include respect for diversity of ability as much as respect for diversity of sex, gender, religion, ‘race,’ and so on.

The second perspective comes from the traditional defense of biological normality as an empirical fact of modern biology. Philosophical definitions of biological normality have often appealed to neo-Darwinian evolution theory, according to which the traits of existing organisms are strongly controlled by natural selection. The function of a trait is the effect that the trait was selected to achieve in evolutionary history. However, twenty-first century views of evolution call this into question. We now know that virtually every body part (and every gene) of every species has been re-purposed from a homological body part (gene) in an evolutionary ancestor. So neo-Darwinian definitions of function as ‘what it was selected for’ are no longer so clear cut.

The intended conclusion of the paper will be a comparison of the functional variability implied by recent evolutionary biology to the functional variability claimed by disability rights advocates. Many humans are mobile (not by walking but) by use of wheelchairs, they communicate (not by speaking but) by use of sign languages, and they read (not by written language but) by use of Braille. Functional variability is a fact about organic evolution, and also about the humans you know and are descended from.

March 16, 2016

Aristotle & Biology Conference at U of U

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 9:59 am

April 14-15 – flyer here!

Worlds Apart Conference Poster (1)

October 27, 2015

U of U Colloquium: Christopher Menzel (Texas A & M)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Huenemann @ 9:01 am

Friday (10/30), 2:30 p.m.: “In Defense of the Actualism/Possibilism Distinction”

Actualism is the thesis that, necessarily, whatever is, in the broadest sense, exists, or is actual. Actualism is typically contrasted with possibilism, the thesis that being comes in two “flavors”: actuality — the particularly robust type of being enjoyed by concrete things like you and me as well as necessarily existing things like numbers and pure sets — and mere possibility, the rather more wan type of being exhibited by such things as the Pope’s possible children, i.e., things that are not actual but could have been. Actualism can then alternatively be defined as the view that there neither are nor could have been any merely possible things. In his recent book Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson has argued that the actualism/possibilism distinction is “badly confused” and, indeed, “hopelessly muddled”, and that the issues at stake in modal metaphysics that had been expressed in terms of the distinction are far more clearly and, hence, more usefully expressed in terms of a distinction between what he calls necessitism and contingentism. In this talk, after sketching the historical origins of the actualism/possibilism distinction, I will argue (a) that the distinction is in fact entirely clear and (b) that, given the machinery Williamson needs to defend his preferred necessitism/contingentism distinction, the two distinctions are interdefinable and, hence, that neither is clearer or more rigorous than the other. I will close by suggesting some reasons why the actualism/possibilism distinction might indeed be preferred to Williamson’s distinction.

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