News and Events

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

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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. Register for link. Co-Sponsors: Department of Philosophy and the Educational Foundations M.A. program in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. Download flier

15th Annual Philosophy Conference
November 19-20
More information to follow


  •  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.
  • The Tenth Annual Western Michigan University Medical Humanities Conference will take place (virtually!) September 24-25. The organizers will post details on the conference website as they become available.
  • 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.
  • The 14th Annual Phil Grad Conference is scheduled for Nov. 20-21, 2020. Speakers: Julia Driver (University of Texas-Austin), Lawrence Shapiro (University of Wisconsin), Min Tang (University of North Carolina).
  • 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


14th Annual Graduate Philosophy Conference

November 20-21 - 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"