Department News

RESEARCH:  KSU Philosopher uses game theory to understand how words, actions acquire meaning

Pictures of KSU Logicians at KSU-Oslo Workshop on Abstraction Principles

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Jon Herington will present a paper, “Liberty, Fear and the State: Philosophical Perspectives on Security” at the workshop Security: Dialogue across disciplines to be held at the Université de Namur, Belgium, June 10 and 11.  The workshop is part of a project which seeks to promote discussion between scholars working on security from the disciplines of Philosophy, History, Law, Criminology and International Relations.  Herington's work considers the centrality of security to the ethics of emergencies.

The Department of Philosophy Newsletter

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA 
Instructor                    Screening Begins: 06.5.14

Instructor, one year, beginning August 2014. AOS: Open. AOC: Open. Teaching competence in introductory logic preferred.  PhD or Advanced ABD. Three introductory undergraduate courses for each of two semesters (Fall 2014 and Spring 2015); minimal departmental service. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to and appreciation for teaching students from diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds.  Salary $45,000, with benefits. Send application package (Letter of application, CV, teaching statement and evidence of teaching competence submitted as a single PDF file plus 3 letters of recommendation to Review of applications will start on June 5, and will continue until the position is filled.  KansasStateUniversity is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer actively seeking diversity among its employees. The Philosophy Department strongly encourages applications from women and minorities.  In accordance with Kansas Board of Regents policy, the University is required to run a background check on the final candidate.

The Department of Philosophy proudly announces the winners of our annual Essay Competition, underwritten by the generous sponsorship of Fred and Virginia Merrill. The prize was shared this year by Dillon Rockrohr and Andy Rogers. 

Dillion’s paper,  "Deontological Flexibility:Korsgaard and Schapiro on Deception" compares two standard models of norms of non-deception in Kantian ethics: Korsgaard's deception-as-interference model and Schapiro's deception-as-refusal account.  By carefully analyzing the handling of some key problem cases, Dillon argues that Schapiro's account offers a more coherent, informative, and plausible account of moral action: one that is capable of engaging what seem to be the salient features of these problem cases and of giving us a more effective standard of moral action in daily life.
Andy’s paper, "On Problems Arising from the Combination of Objective Probability and Divine Foreknowledge," does some nice work at the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.  He provides an abstract:  “In this paper I build on the work of Jennifer Jensen in ‘On Grounding God’s Knowledge of the Probable’, in which she argues that open theists face a problem in that they need to appeal to either non-actual entities or brute facts in order to ground their claim that God has probabilistic foreknowledge. I argue that there are three conditions which must be met by these foreknown probabilities if they are to be consistent with open theist theology: (1) They must be objectively true, (2) they must be useful for God (they must produce results in the actual world), and (3) they must allow for libertarian free will. My thesis is that there is no interpretation of objective probabilities which can meet all three of these requirements. I will argue that the three interpretations which at first appear the most promising for the open theist-- Actual Finite Frequentism, Hypothetical Infinite Frequentism, and Propensity—all create serious problems for open theist theology once they are put under serious scrutiny. I conclude that open theists must either make significant changes in their theology or else develop a new interpretation of probability which is consistent with their theology.”
Congratulations to them both, with thanks to Fred and Virginia Merrill.
We want to congratulateRoss Allen, majoring in both Philosophy and Economics, for winning a Truman Scholarship!

We also congratulate Jonathan Bostrom, majoring in both Philosophy and Anthropology, for his election to Phi Beta Kappa!

Who we are

Our department has strengths in philosophy of science, social and political philosophy, philosophy of language, decision theory, ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of mathematics.  We are an undergraduate-focused department that is also very active in research, giving our students the opportunity to participate in philosophical research while still undergraduates.

We offer a variety of options within the major program to provide flexibility in organizing a course of studies with philosophy at its center.  We also offer a minor. Our program in philosophy gives students an understanding of traditional philosophical subjects such as the nature and justification of moral values, religious and scientific explanations of the world, the rationality of social institutions, and the nature of reasoning and argument. It also helps students develop critical habits of thinking and skill in understanding complex issues. Consequently, philosophy is an appropriate subject around which to organize a general education for any purpose. Our majors go to law school, medical school, graduate programs in philosophy and related areas, become ministers, and open their own businesses, and all of them credit our program with preparing them for successful careers.

LSAT, GMAT and GRE scores for philosophy majors rank in the top three nationally virtually every year. Also, philosophy majors have among the highest acceptance rates at law schools and medical schools each year. For instance, K-State philosophy majors over the last twenty years have had an acceptance rate at law schools of over 96%.

Free Philosophy Tutoring is held Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 1:30-2:30 in Dickens Hall 201.

Research Spotlight

Professor Wilson will deliver a lecture to the North American Kant Society, at Temple University, on May 3.  Professor Wilson’s talk is entitled “Balancing Commitments: Own-Happiness and Beneficience”, and concerns the principled limits on duties to others generated by the need to pursue our own goals.

Professor Hamilton will be presenting a lecture, ""Spectating Animated Objects: the 'uncanny valley' puzzle," at the Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics, and Performance, University of Kent. He will also deliver remarks on the same topic at a workshop on "Puppetry and Theory of Mind", to be held at the Centre for Aesthetics in the Philosophy Department in the University of Leeds.

Professor Florio presented "On the Innocence and Determinacy of Plural Quantification" (with Øystein Linnebo) at the Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic Meeting, February 26-27, at the Research Center for Thinking and Behavioral Judgment, Keio University, Tokyo.

August Fitch, dual major in philosophy and chemistry, presented his undergraduate research, "The Epistemology of Computer Simulations" in a poster at the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol, Wed, Feb 12.  August is one of ten KSU students who participated.

Community Events

We have an active student-led Philosophy Club, which meets on Mondays from 7 to 10 p.m. in Dickens Hall 203.

On Thursdays (unless we have a speaker), from 4 p.m. to whenever, we have Rationalitea in Dickens 201.  Tea and snacks are provided.

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Support the Philosophy Department

The K-State Foundation has two funds that directly support Philosophy: The Philosophy Scholarship Fund (Q12400) and the Philosophy Faculty Development Fund (F35415).  The first provides scholarships for our majors and the second helps the department bring in speakers and travel to conferences.  Thank you for your support!