News and Events

The Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University hosts speakers, conferences and other events.

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"The Idea of Prison Abolition: Slavery and Its Legacy"

3 p.m., Friday, December 8th 2023
Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American and of Philosophy, Harvard University

17th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference

Dr. Chandra Sripada (University of Michigan)
Dr. Meghan Sullivan (University of Notre Dame)
Joel Ballivian (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Lorenzo Manuali (University of Michigan)
Yuan Tian (Harvard University)
Kevin Gausselin (University of Rochester)
Darien Santmyer (Purdue University)
Xinting Liu (University of Illinois)
Nathan Lauffer (Northwestern University)
Lauren Perry (University of Pennsylvania)
Joseph Bernadoni(University of California-Riverside)

WMU Workshop on the Tragic Emotions:

Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Compassion (Ashley Atkins)
A Crack Runs Through It: Disordered Love for a Disordered World (Matthew Shockey)
Blood, Betrayal, and Difference in Héléne Cixous' Theater Works (Agatha Slupek)



 Dr. Ashley Atkins has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her project: A Philosophical Exploration of Grief Through the Lens of Contemporary Memoir

Jimmy Martin’s paper "Williams and Cusk on Technologies of the Self" has been accepted for a special issue of Topoi.

Dr. Marc Alspector-Kelly published "Against Knowledge Closure"


Archived NEWS


16th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference

Quayshawn Spencer (University of Pennsylvania)
Justin Clark-Doane (Colombia University)
Xiaomeng Bu (University of Illinois)

March 15 - Grasslands, Garbage Islands, and Plastic Trees: Working Towards a Future Ecology, 6 p.m. 105 Bernhard. Alec Koppers, master’s student, Department of Philosophy. Part of the WMU Climate Change Working Group’s events for Climate Emergency Month: Creating a Just and Sustainable Future. Co-sponsors: WMU Climate Change Working Group, Department of Philosophy.

March 21 - “Is Ignoring Climate Change Akin to Mass Murder? Troubling Ethical Conclusions about Climate Change and its Effects,” 6 p.m. 208 Bernhard Center. Jonathan Milgrim, faculty specialist in the WMU Department of Philosophy. Part of the WMU Climate Change Working Group’s events for Climate Emergency Month: Creating a Just and Sustainable Future. Co-sponsors: WMU Climate Change Working Group, WMU Department of Philosophy.

  • Congratulations to Alec Koppers and Dale Brown for the WMU All-University Award
  • Ashley Atkins places three(!) journal articles: “On Grief's Sweet Sorrow” coming out in the European Journal of Philosophy, “Rage and the Politics of Loss” in Ergo, and “Love and Death in Democracy” with Contemporary Political Theory.
  • Jacob Castleberry’s paper, “Expanding the Facilitator’s Toolbox: Vygotskian Mediation in Philosophy for Children,” is published in Analytic Teaching & Philosophical Praxis.
  • Charlie Kurth discusses moral value of disgust in Scientific American
  • Two Philosophy MA students win Grad College Research Awards: Grecia Sánchez Blanco and Lulu Cao. 
  •  Charlie Kurth’s paper, “Cultivating Disgust,” is published in Emotion Review.
  • Ashley Atkins has organized a symposium on the art of grief in the upcoming BSA meeting (St. Anne's Oxford). Sandra Shapshay (CUNY) and Kathleen Higgins (University of Texas at Austin) are co-participants.
  • Charlie Kurth has been selected as one of WMU’s 2022-23 Emerging Scholar Award recipients. Charlie has also been awarded a 2-year residential fellowship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Study and will be on leave from WMU until August 2024.
  • Mike Pritchard has published The importance of sentiment in promoting reasonableness in children through Anthem Press. 
  • Jimmy Martin’s paper, "Indeterminacy, Coincidence, and ‘Sourcing Newness’ in Mathematical Research," is accepted at Synthese!
  • Jimmy Martin’s paper 'On Certainty, Change, and "Mathematical Hinges"' has been accepted at Topoi.
  • Noa Dahan has been accepted to present a poster on her paper "Anorexia Nervosa, Oversized Experiences, and Systemic Anti-fatness" at the biannual meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association taking place in Pittsburgh in November 2022. 
  • Henry Curcio has been invited to present his paper "Making Sense of Socratic Disobedience: Irony in Plato’s Crito" at the APA Pacific Division's conference being hosted in San Francisco in April of 2023
  • Xiaolong Wang has had his paper "Does Rational Sentimentalism Solve the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem" accepted at the American Philosophical Association’s 2023 Central Division meeting! 


  • Fritz Allhoff interviewed for article, "Unmasking the Stigma Surrounding Face Coverings".
  • Chance Lacina was awarded the WMU William Ritchie Prize for the best paper in political theory for his essay, “Against the Need for Greed.”
  • Jimmy Martin has his paper,Prolegomena to Virtue-Theoretic Studies in the Philosophy of Mathematics, accepted in the journal Synthese!
  • Daniel Kosacz was awarded a Summer Research Assistantship from the College of Arts and Science to assist Charlie Kurth with a project on emotions.
  • Graduate student Henry Curcio has his paper, “Lack of Self in Plato: The Tragedy of a Rhapsody” accepted at the 2022 Interdisciplinary Symposium on Paideia along with The Ohio Philosophical Association's annual meeting.
  • Graduate student Xiaolong Wang has his paper, “What Should Rational Sentimentalists Say about Fittingness,” accepted at the 24th Annual Rocky Mountain Philosophy Conference!
  • Graduate student Grecia Sánchez has named the graduate student winner of the 2021-2022 Diversity and Inclusion Student Writing Prize. Her submission, Grecia, will be published on the College of Arts and Sciences Awards website and she will be recognized for her accomplishment at a ceremony on campus in April 2022.
  • Philosophy Professor Charlie Kurth's upcoming book Emotion will be published in March 2022.
  • Jimmy Martin’s paper, "Indeterminacy, Coincidence, and ‘Sourcing Newness’ in Mathematical Research," is accepted at Synthese!
  • Graduate student Sydney Maxwell has her paper, “Avowal Under Oppression,” accepted at the APA-Central!
  • Ashley Atkins’ paper, “"On Grief's Wandering Thought: A Philosophical Exploration," was accepted for publication in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
  • Charlie Kurth talks about the upside of pandemic-related anxiety in a Washington Post opinion piece.
  • Master's student placement: We’re delighted to announce that CJ Oswald will be joining the Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia; TJ Broy is headed to the Ph.D. program at the University of Connecticut (where he was awarded the prestigious Jorgensen Fellowship); and Kaleb TerBush will be going to Michigan Law School (having been awarded a 2/3rd scholarship there).
  • Fritz Allhoff talks about the ethics of online shopping during the pandemic in an interview on NPR.
  • Undergraduate philosophy major Levi Durham had his paper accepted at the University of Toronto's Graduate Philosophy Conference.
  • Graduate student CJ Oswald had his paper, "Being Realistic about Metaethics," accepted for the APA-Pacific.
  • Levi Durham, a WMU philosophy major, will be headed to the Ph.D. program at Baylor University in the fall.
  • Congratulations to CJ Oswald for the WMU All-University Award

15th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Kari Hanson-Park (University of Miami) "A Relational View of Literary Interpretation"
Dr. Elizabeth Schechter (Indiana University, Bloomington) "Two Candidate Cases of Plural Personhood"
Dr. Matt Stichter (Washington State University) "The Moral Psychology of Virtue as Skill"

October 28 - "A Conversation about Ethics and Carceral Higher Education," 4 p.m. on Webex. Rebecca Ginsburg, Education Justice Project, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with Dale Brown, Prison Education Outreach Program, Western Michigan University.  Co-Sponsors: Department of Philosophy and the Educational Foundations M.A. program in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Download flier


14th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Julia Driver (University of Texas-Austin) "Blame and the Suberogatory"
Lawrence Shapiro (University of Wisconsin-Madison) "What is it like to feel like a Self?"
Min Tang (University of North Carolina) "Phenomenal Transformation and Language Attachment"
Adrian Liu (Stanford University) "Asexuality as a Critical Sexual Orientation"
Matt Rosen, (Oxford University) "Virtue and Particularism in Scheler"
Alexander Carty, (Wilfrid Laurier University) "Our Desire to Be Complete: Escaping a Euthypro Dilemma for Moore's Bestowal Love"
Marie Kergulen Feldblyum Le Blevennec (Boston University) "Do Victims of Injustice Have a Fairness-Based Duty to Resist Them?"
Anthony Nguyen, (University of Southern California" "Gricean Secrets"
Dario Cecchini, (University of Genova) "Why are Emotions Evaluative?"
Tez Clark (New York University) "Strawson's Reactive Attitudes and the Nature of Epistemic Blame"
Levi Durham (Baylor University) "Assessing the Evidence in the Evidential Problem of Evil"


March 10 - Ashley Atkins, Philosophy, Western Michigan University "Love, Death, Democracy"
September 20 - Jason Marker, M.D., Memorial Hospital (South Bend, IN), “If the United States Promised Health Care as a ‘Right,’ What Would We REALLY Have to Deliver?" Keynote, 2019 WMU Medical Humanities Conference, 5 p.m., Auditorium, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, 300 Portage Street. Co-sponsors: WMU Medical Humanities Workgroup, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
October 4 - Ashley Atkins, Philosophy, Western Michigan University, “Race and the Politics of Loss: Revisiting the Legacy of Emmett Till,” 3:30 p.m., 2008 Richmond Center for Visual Arts. Co-sponsors: Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Frostic School of Art, Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations. 

13th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Saba Bazargan-Forward (University of Southern California) "Justifying the Beneficiary Pays Principle"
Ishani Maitra (University of Michigan)
Zachary Milstead (University of Oklahoma)

Colloquium Talks

Laura McMahon (Eastern Michigan University) “Essential Insecurity: Humanism, Violence, and Political Action in Merleau-Ponty and Fanon”
Margaret Graver ( Dartmouth College) “Impassivity and Human Nature”
Noel Swanson (University of Delaware) “On Theoretical Equivalence”
Heidi Maibom (Cincinnati) "Why Empathy Matters to Morality"  
Jada Twedt Strabbing (Wayne State) “Blame and Fitting Attitudes”  


Department of Philosophy and MAP Chapter
Edouard Machery, (University of Pittsburgh)

12th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference 

John Doris (Washington University in St. Louis) "The Future of Character"
Justin Clark "Plato's Dialogues of Definition: What is Socrates Looking For?"
Jerrold Levinson (University of Michigan) "Defense of Authentic Performance: Adjusting Your Ears, Not the Music"

Colloquium Talks

Nevin Climenhaga (Australian Catholic University) “(Epistemic) Probabilities are Degrees of Support, not Degrees of (Rational) Belief”
Hrishikesh Joshi ( Bowling Green State University) “The Epistemic Costs of Political Polarization”
Laura Quinney (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA) “The Bewilderment of the Self in Beckett and the Romantics”


The Department of Philosophy and MAP Chapter at Western Michigan University hosted a day-long workshop on political philosophy.

Colloquium talks

Nataliya Palatnik (Harvard)
Caleb Perl (Shandong University)
Kathryn Lindeman (University of St. Louis)
Alexandra Plakias (Hamilton College), "Relativism: The Most Ecumenical Metaethics"
Charlie Kurth (Washington University in St. Louis), "The Anxious Mind: An Investigations into the Varieties and Virtues of Anxiety"
Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr. (Miami): "Gaslighting, Echoing, and Gathering"
Gabriel Richardson Lear (Chicago): "Forms and Appearances"
Gayle Salamon (Princeton): “Critical Phenomenology”
Joshua Wilburn (Wayne State): "Friendship and the Tripartite Soul in Plato's Republic"
Jonah Schupbach (Utah): "When Do Hypotheses Compete?"
Katharina Kraus (Notre Dame): "Kant’s Conception of Person: Personal Identity, Psychological Continuity, and the Idea of the Soul"

11th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Charles Mills (CUNY): “Liberalism and Racial Justice”
Derrick Darby (Michigan): “Dignity and Voting Rights”
Talia Mae Bettcher (Los Angeles): “From Embodiment to Empersonment: Starting Points for a New Theory of Trans Gender (Dis)Satisfaction”


Colloquium talks

Susan Vineberg (Wayne State): “Indispensability Arguments and Mathematical Explanation”
Matthew Mandelkern (MIT): “Bounded modality: Epistemic Modals and Local Contexts”
Anya Plutynski (Washington St. Louis): “Risk and Reasons: Cancer Screening and Pathological Uncertainty”
Alexander Guerrero (Rutgers): “Again Toward Perpetual Peace: Elections, World Government, and Lottocracy”
Rachel Cristy (Princeton): “Commanders and Scientific Laborers: Nietzsche on the Relationship between Philosophy and Science”

10th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Hallie Liberto (Connecticut): “Coercion and Moral Power”
Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern): “Intellectual Humility and the Norms of Credibility”
Matthew Childers (Iowa): “Individuation, Substance, and Supersubstantivalism”


Colloquium talks

Dave Baker (Michigan): "Free Will in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics"
Mor Segev (South Florida): "Aristotle on Nature, Human Nature and Human Contemplation"
Helga Varden (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): "Giving Him a Second Chance; Talking with Kant on Sex"
Avner Baz (Tufts): "Ordinary Language Philosophy"
Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (Michigan): “The New Evil Demon Problem and Virtuous Failure: Accommodating Internalist Judgments with an Externalist Epistemology”

9th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

Helen Frowe (Stockholm)
Jonathan Schafer (Rutgers): "Causal, Metaphysical, and Mathematical Explanation: Towards Unification"
Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburg): "The Geography of Philosophy Project"
Ishani Maitra "Unsettling Speech"

  • Zachary Milstead "Turning Disagreement on its Head:  Inverting the problem of Rational Peer Disagreement"