Manuel Vargas Publishes Building Better Beings with Oxford University Press
September 19, 2013
In his new book, Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2013), Manuel Vargas (Professor of Philosophy and Law) presents a new theory of moral responsibility. Beginning with a discussion of ordinary convictions about responsibility and free will and their implications for a philosophical theory, Vargas argues that no theory can do justice to all the things we want from a theory of free will and moral responsibility. He goes on to show how we can nevertheless justify our responsibility practices and provide a normatively and naturalistically adequate account of responsible agency, blame, and desert.
According to Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "Vargas has achieved something that is quite rare: he has given us an entirely new way to approach an ancient and, yes, seemingly intractable problem."
Quayshawn Spencer Has Research Profiled Online
August 30, 2013
Assistant Professor Quayshawn Spencer has recently had a paper of his profiled on dugdug.com in the article, "A Philosopher of Science Explores The Question: What is Race?" DugDug is a non-profit organization that "bridges the gap between academic journals (that are written by academics, for academics) and mainstream publications (that are written by “us,” for “us”)." DugDug seeks to "take the cutting edge research occurring at academic institutions, and deliver key insights in a way that is easily understandable to casual readers."
Rebecca Gordon Receives Contract for New Book: A Nation of Cowards?
February 19, 2013
Adjunct faculty member Rebecca Gordon has a contract with Oxford University Press for her new book, whose working title is A Nation of Cowards? Torture in the Post 9-11 United States. Rebecca's interest in torture is more than academic. During the 1980's she spent time living and working in Central America, where she had a chance to witness directly the effects of U.S. torture policy. She hopes this book will become part of an important conversation about torture, a conversation, and a practice, which is far from finished.
Rebecca Gordon examines the role of institutionalized state torture in the nation's response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She observes a shift away from covert training and support for other regimes that practice torture towards a quasi-overt and direct use of torture against the United States' own perceived enemies. She argues that traditional ethical approaches, whether deontological or utilitarian, miss the point, because they all treat torture as a set of isolated, exceptional actions. In fact, she says, torture is better understood as a complex, socially-embedded practice -- one which generates in those who practice and condone it a particular set of moral habits.
Philosophy Majors to Present Papers at the 2013 Pacific Undergraduate Philosophy Conference
January 25, 2013
USF Philosophy '14
"Gender and Division in Primitive Society"
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to use the theories of anarchist anthropologists Pierre Clastres and David Graeber who argue that the primitive society, or society without a state, is fundamentally relevant to praxis in an egalitarian and democratic society, in order to critically discuss the role of gender and specifically, the phenomena of gendered violence in a society without a state. This paper argues that Clastres’ famous arguments about the totality, or lack of fundamental alienation in the primitive society, crack when we examine gendered violence as an unusual intervention in society. Graeber’s theories are used to partially correct Clastres, but ultimately to reveal that although basic insights about societies against a state are entirely relevant, they remain incomplete because they do not understand gendered violence as a linguistic intervention.
USF Philosophy & Environmental Studies '14
"Bergson's Environment: Towards an Ecological Understanding"
Abstract: This paper draws on the thinking of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, and attempts an understanding of the environment while considering Bergson’s metaphysics. Why is it that the bulk of the discussion concerning environmental problems takes place within a narrow framework that has difficulty recognizing the intrinsic value of nature? In this paper I try and explain Bergson’s description of the ways that consciousness seeks to know the world around it, and conclude that modern thought fails to recognize the sensual, sympathetic nature of experience. Only through understanding the ecology of our own thoughts can we hope to reach an understanding of the environment and how to live with it in a harmonious and ecologically conscious manner.
Tom Cavanaugh Selected as Dean's Scholar
December 17, 2012
The Dean's Scholar Program recognizes exceptional scholarly and creative work by full-time faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, and acknowledges a faculty member’s important contribution to their field.
The college recognizes Thomas Cavanaugh for his work on the ethics of double-effect. In his book, “Double-Effect Reasoning: Doing Good and Avoiding Evil,” (Oxford: Clarendon Press) he presents the first detailed history of double-effect while articulating and defending new criteria for assessing hard moral cases found, for example, in medical, legal and military fora. While prompting consideration by prominent philosophers, his book has garnered praise and numerous reviews in journals such as Mind and The Philosophical Quarterly.
PACT Conference 2013: Call for Papers
November 10, 2012
CFP: The 5th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT): “PLACE” Flier
When: September 26-28, 2013
Where: University of San Francisco
Abstracts Due: April 15, 2013
Manuel Vargas Chosen as 2013-2014 NEH Chair
November 5, 2012
Congratulations to Manuel for his most recent achievement, the 2013-2014 NEH Chair at the University of San Francisco. Never one to rest on his laurels, Manuel's new project is titled "Philosophy in Latin America":
"My project is to bring to completion a book that makes a comprehensive case for the value and significance of Latin American philosophy. The aspiration is to ensure that newcomers will walk away with a sense of what is valuable about the field, while providing the small community of Anglophone specialists with sufficient grist to merit their engagement."
Philosophy Majors Chosen as Sarlo Scholars
November 1, 2012
Philosophy Majors Neema Jyothiprakash and Eric Schroer have each been chosen as 2013 Sarlo Scholars for the USF Global Service-Learning program. Only 15 USF students are chosen each year to participate in this fully-funded program.
Neema & Eric will each live with a host family and intern at grassroots organizations addressing one or more of the following issues: education, health care, women’s rights, environmental preservation, community empowerment, and human rights. Neema will be part of the India delegation, and Eric will be part of the Bolivia delegation. Congrats, Neema and Eric!
Philosophy Major Neema Jyothiprakash Selected as Board Member of International Journal
November 1, 2012
Neema Jyothiprakash has been selected to be Assistant Editorial Board member of the journal Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. She will be closely involved in the journal's processes, have a substantial impact on editorial decisions, and attain broader experience with the requirements of academic publishing. Congrats, Neema!
Christopher Long Live-Tweets and Storifies
October 25, 2012
On October 25th, Prof. Long visited USF and gave a talk on Plato and the Politics of Reading. Linked to the right are his blog and storify entries on his visit where the conversation is still going on!