Department News

Upcoming Seminars: 

Thursday Feb 19 @ 4pm (Dickens 203) “Autonomy, Respect, and Joint Deliberation”, John Christman (Penn State) Respecting autonomy grounds various obligations to others such as that of non-interference, deference to another’s authority over self-regarding decisions, limitations on paternalism, and so on. However, in many situations, persons interact in a way that involves intimately intertwined modes of deliberation and agency so that the line between one person’s autonomous decisions and her partner’s is very difficult to draw. In this lecture, I suggest that the broad liberal sensitivity should still operate in such instances in at least setting limits to certain modes of such interaction (manipulating the other for our own ends for example). But is saying this, I claim that this principle of respect must be reformulated to take into account the way interpersonal dynamics themselves help establish the autonomy with which persons hold the values that they hold. Such a conclusion requires further that we understand autonomy in a diachronic and socially structured manner.

Thursday 5 March @ 4pm (Dickens 203) “Bayesian convergence to the truth and the metaphysics of possible worlds”, Simon Huttegger (UC Irvine) Bayesians often appeal to so-called convergence to the truth theorems in order to account for the vanishing influence of prior opinions after having made sufficiently many observations. This approach has recently been criticized by Gordon Belot. Belot argues that there are a lot of observations for which this is not true but which are ignored within a probabilistic setup. The aim of this talk is to explain how this worry can be defused when viewing convergence in a context with very plausible epistemic constraints.

Congratulations to Dillon Rockrohr for wining acceptance to Pacific State University’s Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.  Dillon’s paper is entitled "Dismantling the Race Label”.  In it he synthesizes work by Alcoff, Appiah and Haslanger on race to argue that racial identifications are inherently misrepresentative.  For those interested, the abstract is here.  Dillon will present his work during the conference (April 17-18), held at the Pacific University campus in Forest Grove Oregon.

Congratulations to Taylor Wisneski-Gray, on the acceptance of his paper “Neutralities Much Needed Place in John Dewey’s two-part Criterion for Democratic Education”.  In this paper, Taylor develops and defends proposals for education policies aimed to generate more inclusive social choices, and hence more democratic, diverse social groupings post-graduation.   He will be presenting at the North Carolina Philosophical Society 2015 meetings, Feb. 27-28, and North Carolina State University.  Well done, Taylor!​

Taylor Wisneski-Gray has been accepted to the Kansas Legislative Internship Program.  He will be working for Ron Highland, Chair of the Education Committee.  Congratulations Taylor!

Congratulations to Taylor Wisneski-Gray for winning an Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship! Taylor will be evaluating arguments for the claim that hat consumers have a right to know about the content of food products, with special reference to GMOs. Taylor will work with Jon Herington on the project, which they describe as follows: “Many people believe that consumers have a “right to know” about the content and traceability of the food they purchase. Historically, the right to know has been used to justify mandatory labeling of products with information relevant to public health (e.g. allergens, nutritional data). In recent years, however, appeals to the right to know have expanded to include a range of environmental and moral concerns (e.g. Organic, GMO labeling, Fair Trade, etc.). We would investigate potential philosophical justifications for the right to know, specifically: (i) whether a philosophical justification for the right can be found in historical or contemporary thinkers (including JS Mill, democratic theory, Rawlsian liberalism), and (ii) whether potential justifications do, or do not, support labeling of food with information not directly related to public health.”

Congratulations to Philosophy Major Ross Allen

The Department of Philosophy Newsletter

We want to congratulate  Ross 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%.

Research Spotlight

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

Community Events

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

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!