Events and Lectures, Winter 2019

Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are held at 4:30 pm in the Philosophy Department Seminar Room (5057 Woodward, 12th Floor, Room 12212.1).


March 1: Lara Buchak (UC Berkeley), "Why We Should Care More About the Worse Off"

Abstract: The interests of the worse off matter more than the interests of the better off. This is not because being worse off than one’s fellows is bad in itself. Nor is it because inequality is bad in itself. Nor still is it because the worse off are badly off in an absolute sense. Instead, it is because the overall good in a society is more sensitive to the good of its relatively worse off members than of its relatively better off members. At least, that is my view. The goal of this talk is to articulate it more precisely and offer a defense.


March 22: Jessica Wilson (Toronto), Gail C. Stine Memorial Lecture, "Primitivist Fundamentality"


Abstract: What makes it the case that some goings-on at a world are fundamental at that world? Here I motivate, develop, and defend a primitivist approach of the sort broached in Fine 2001 and developed in my preferred fashion in Wilson 2014 and 2016. I start by sketching a primitivist account of fundamentality and its primary non-primitivist competitors, and offering some clarificatory remarks about the notion of primitivism at issue in a primitivist account. I then argue that my preferred implementation of a primitivist account has four comparative advantages over its non-primitivist competitors. Finally, I present and respond to three objections to my primitivist account.


April 5 (9am–6pm) and April 6 (9am–12:30pm):

The Philip L. Dulmage Memorial Workshop (Theme: Responsibility and Blame)


Speakers: Randolph Clarke (Florida State), Angela Smith (Washington and Lee), Jada Twedt Strabbing (Wayne State), Rachel Fredericks (Ball State), Justin Capes (Flagler), and Michael McKenna (Arizona)


April 11: Robin Dembroff (Yale), "Gender Identity: A Conceptual Crisis" (Honors College Conference Room, 2145 Adamany Undergraduate Library—NOTE UNUSUAL LOCATION)

Abstract: On a common narrative, 'gender identity' is a liberatory concept that enters the existence and concerns of gender variant people. This narrative is subject to substantial historical challenges. What's more, looking closely at these challenges suggests that the contemporary notion of gender identity as an 'internal sense of one's gender' faces two criticisms. First, this notion frequently relies upon and so reinforces a binary model of gender. Second, when taken as a basis for gender kind membership, this notion risks implying an implausible and undesirable psychological gender essentialism. I argue that these criticisms can be avoided by centering the place of agency in gender identity. In particular, I argue that gender identity is part of a broader practice of gender conceptual negotiation—the practice of advocating for particular gender terms and concepts as most appropriate for understanding events, values, social roles, behavioral dispositions, and bodily features and presentations.


April 25: Dovie Jenkins (Wayne State), "The Ethics of Public Shaming"


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