Current Colloquia

For more information please contact Graham Oddie, Iskra Fileva, or Julia Staffel.


    The following speakers are scheduled for 2018-2019. Details will be announced as they become available.

    Fall 2018

    September 14th Anjan Chakravartty (University of Miami)
    "Scientific Disagreement, Uniqueness, and Permissive Rationality"
    3:15 PM
     Scientists often disagree about what our best science reveals, even when plausibly regarded as epistemic peers, but some philosophers hold that given some evidence, there is only one rational option regarding what epistemic peers should believe. Thus it seems that either scientific beliefs are often irrational, or the uniqueness thesis is false. I argue that in some cases disagreement is properly characterized in terms of contrary hopes and heuristic commitments rather than contrary beliefs about what our best science reveals. The latter case is typified by juxtapositions of belief and agnosticism, indicative of underlying commitments that are not themselves propositional or evidential but that are nonetheless rational. The upshot is a rejection of uniqueness and a moderately permissive conception of rationality appropriate to scientific disagreement.

    October 5th Reinhardt Lecture: John Bell, University of Western Ontario. Organized by the Reinhardt Lecture rep in consultation with the Chair of Math.
    Infinitesimals and the Labyrinth of the Continuum"
    3:15 PM, HLMS 199
    Click here for abstract (PDF).

    October 12th Susan Wolf (UNC)

    November 16th  Rik Peels (Amsterdam)
    "Can Trust Be Voluntary?"
    In this paper, I defend an answer to the question whether trust can be voluntary and, if so, how. First, I make the question more precise by qualifying it in various ways and specifying which kind of trust I am talking about. Next, I consider to what extent trust is voluntary if trust, as some philosophers have argued, is a particular kind of belief. This is a minority view among philosophers working on trust, but even if it is correct, it only works if so-called doxastic compatibilism is true—a particular view on what control over our beliefs amounts to. I argue that if that view is correct as well, we would save responsibility for trust or lack of trust, but not the idea that we choose or decide whether or not to trust. After that, I explain what counts in favor of the thesis that trust is voluntary. I show that there are at least two and possibly three different ways in which trust can be under our control: the constitutive element of reliance is often under our control, the constitutive element of resilience to evidence is often under our control, and there are situations in which we know that trusting actually sufficiently raises a person’s trustworthiness so that we can choose to trust.
    Rik Peels is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Among his most recent books are Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology (OUP 2017), and Scientism: Prospects and Problems, ed. with Jeroen de Ridder and René van Woudenberg (OUP 2018). E-mail:


    Spring 2019

    January 25th  Dominic Lopes (UBC)

    February 15th  Julia Jorati (OSU)

    March 15th John Bengson (WIS)

    April 12th  Rachel Barney (Toronto)


    Past Colloquia

    • Professor Stewart Cohen (University of Arizona)
      "Theorizing About the Epistemic"
      Friday Sept 8 2017, 3:15-5:00 PM, UMC 247
      Abstract: I argue that epistemologists’ use of the term ‘epistemic’ has led to serious confusion in the discussion of epistemological issues. The source of the problem is that ‘epistemic’ functions largely as an undefined technical term. I show how this confusion has infected discussions of the nature of epistemic justification, epistemic norms for evidence gathering, and knowledge norms for assertion and belief.
    • Professor Peter Klein (Rutgers University)
      Rescheduled for Spring 18, date/time TBA
      Title TBA

    • Professor Kendy Hess (Holy Cross)
      Friday Oct 13 2017, 3:15-5:00 PM, EDUC 220
      "...And There Be Dragons: Modern Corporations As Political Actors"
      Abstract: Despite decades of debate about the moral status of corporate agents, there has been surprisingly little exploration of their political status.  This paper thus begins with a brief sketch of my own account of corporate agents – from metaphysics to moral obligation – and then moves on to explore some of the political implications.  Setting aside the question of political rights and duties, I consider the permissibility of three modes of political engagement:  (1) as citizens, attempting to influence government policy; (2) as an extension of the government, under government direction, and (3) as the government, exercising governmental authority in their own right.  I suggest that the first two are unproblematic (if complicated).  Proponents of the third argue that, in the absence of a successful state, literal “corporations” (a subset of corporate agents) should step in and govern; they call this ”political corporate social responsibility.”  I close by considering how my theory of corporate agency helps us resist this proposal.

    • Professor Susan Sauvé Meyer (Penn)
      Friday Jan 26 2018, 3:15-5:00 PM, Hellems 269
      "Raw Virtue and Its Refinements: The Ranking of Divine Goods in Plato’s Laws"
    • Spencer Case (Jentzsch Prize Colloquium Talk)
      Fri Feb 2 2018, 3:15-5:00 PM, Hellems 137
      "From Epistemic to Moral Realism"
      Abstract: Some philosophers defend moral realism with the following argument. If epistemic realism is true, then moral realism is true; epistemic realism is true; therefore, moral realism is true. I refer to this as the "Epistemic Argument" for moral realism. Why should we accept the link between epistemic and moral realism, the so-called "Parity Premise"? The standard argument that has been given for it are unpersuasive, I argue. However, the Epistemic Argument can be salvaged. Here I provide two original arguments in favor of the Parity Premise, which rest upon the interrelatedness of epistemic and moral claims.
    • Professor David Enoch (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
      Fri Feb 9 2018, 3:15-5:00 PM, Hellems 201
      "Against Utopianism: Noncompliance and Multiple Agents"
      Abstract: One of the central issues in recent debates over ideal andnon-ideal theory (in political philosophy) has been whether it's a shortcoming in a normative theory in political philosophy that it is unlikely to be complied with. I intervene in that debate, arguing that while David Estlund is correct that "But I'm not gonna!" is never a refutation of an ought judgment addressed at the relevant agent, still he's wrong about the most important cases – these are cases of multiple agents, and the fact that another agent may not act as they ought to may very well be relevant to what I ought to do. Thus, this discussion in political philosophy requires taking a stand on the general moral question – how does the expected violation of some affect the duties of others.
    • Professor Susan Schneider (University of Connecticut)
      Friday March 16 2018, 3:15-5:00 PM
      Title TBA
    • Professor David Schmidtz (University of Arizona)
      Friday April 27 2018, 3:15-5:00 PM

    • Professor Emeritus Robert Cummins (UC Davis)
      "Neuroscience, Psychology, Reduction, and Functional Analysis"
      Thursday Sep 29, 2016 3:15pm
      Abstract: The pressure for reduction in science is an artifact of what we call the nomic conception of science (NCS): the idea that the content of science is a collection of laws, together with the deductive-nomological model of explanation. NCS in effect identifies explanation with reduction, thus making no room for the explanatory autonomy of function-analytical explanations. When we replace NCS with something more descriptively accurate, however, we find that the kind of explanatory autonomy of functional-analytic explanations is ubiquitous in the sciences. Key to showing this is a distinction between horizontal and vertical explanation. Horizontal explanations explain the capacities of a complex system by appeal to the design of the system. Vertical explanations, by contrast, explain how a design is implemented in a system. We argue that the distinction between horizontal and vertical explanations provides us with a better picture of the relationship between functional analysis and mechanistic explanation. As we see it, the goal of discovering and specifying mechanisms is often or largely undertaken to explain how the analyzing capacities specified by a functional analysis—in short, a design—are implemented in some system. In this way, the horizontal explanations provided by functional analysis and the vertical explanations provided by specifying mechanisms complement each other. Co-authored with Martin Roth (Drake U.)
    • Professor Monique Wonderly (Princeton University Center for Human Values)
      Friday Jan 27, 2017 3:15-5:00 PM
      Philosophers have employed two different varieties of felt necessity to explain central aspects of agency in addiction and love, respectively. In addiction, the relevant felt need is often described in terms of an appetite, whereas love is characterized by necessities arising from a particular kind of caring. On my view, the extant literature offers an instructive, but incomplete picture of the roles of felt necessity in addiction and love. I argue that a third form of felt necessity – attachment necessity – often better captures central aspects of agency in love and addiction.  Recognizing the role of attachment necessity will not only illuminate how felt necessity can impact the value of certain relationships, but it will also allow us to discern important features of addiction and love that remain obscured on extant approaches.


    • Professor Nina Emery (Brown)
      "Laws and their Instances"
      Monday Feb 13 2017
      3:00-5:00pm, HLMS 181



    • Professor Paula Gottlieb (Wisconsin-Madison)
      "Aristotelian 'Choice'"
      Friday Mar 10, 2017
      3:15-5:00pm, HLMS 201

      Prof. Gottlieb specializes in ancient Greek philosophy. She is the author, among many other works, of The Virtue of Aristotle’s Ethics (Cambridge UP 2009) .

      Abstract: "Choice" is one translation for Aristotelian "prohairesis". Elizabeth Anscombe comments: "The notion of 'choice' as conceived by Aristotle is a very peculiar one…If it had been a winner, like some other Aristotelian concepts, would not prohairetic be as familiar to us as practical is?" Prohairesis can be good or bad.  I argue that the good person’s prohairesis is a special kind of motivation, a combination of thought and desire that is not classifiable according to Humean or Kantian frames of reference, and that "prohairetic" should be in our vocabulary after all.

    • Caspar Hare, MIT
    • "Should We Wish Well to All?"
    • Friday, September 25, 2015, 3:15 PM
    • Hellems 252


    • Amie Thomasson, Miami
    • Friday, October 16, 2015, 3:15 PM
    • Title and location TBD


    • Dan Demetriou, University of Minnesota Morris
    • Alumni Talk
    • "Defense with Dignity: How the Dignity of Violent Resistance Informs the Gun Rights Debate"
    • Friday, November 13, 2015, 3:15 PM
    • Location TBD


    • Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University
    • Friday January 15th, 2016, 3:15 PM
    • Title and location TBD

    • Hilary Kornblith, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    • Friday, September 19, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • Title and location TBD


    • Lisa Downing, Ohio State University
    • Friday, October 17, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • "Are Body and Extension the Same Thing?: Locke vs. Descartes (vs. More)", HLMS 252


    • Tommie Shelby, Harvard University
    • Friday, November 14, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • "Procreating, Parenting, and Poverty" HLMS 267


    • Kelly Weirich, University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Friday, December 5, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • "Conditional Flexibility", 2014 Jentzsch Prize winner (Location TBA)


    • Heather Demarest, University of Oklahoma
    • Friday January 16th, 2015, 3:15 PM
    • "Fission May Kill You, but Not for the Reasons You Thought", UMC 386


    • Amie Thomasson, University of Miami
    • Friday, February 27th, 2015, 3:15 PM
    • Title and location TBD

    • Mary Louise Gill, Brown University
    • Friday, November 15, 2013, 3:15 PM


    • Douglas Portmore, Arizona State University
    • "Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Choice"
    • Friday February 7, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • HLMS 199
    • Pre-Talk Reception 2:30-3:15 HLMS 269


    • Ram Neta, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    • "What is an Inference?"
    • Friday February 21, 2014, 3:15 PM
    • HLMS 199

    • Noel Saenz, Jentzsch Prize winner, Spring 2012
    • "A Non-Revisionary Solution to the Grounding Problem"
    • Friday, February 15, 2013, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 267


    • Niko Kolodny, UC Berkeley
    • "Rule Over None: Social Equality and the Value of Democracy"
    • Friday, March 1, 2013, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 267


    • Michael Rea, University of Notre Dame
    • "Time Travelers Are Not Free"
    • Friday, March 22, 2013, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 267

    • Roger White, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • "Disrespecting the Evidence"
    • Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B90


    • Richard Kraut, Northwestern University
    • "An Aesthetic Reading of Aristotle's Ethics"
    • Friday, October 19, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B90


    • Seana Shiffrin, UCLA
    • "Duress and Moral Progress"
    • Friday, November 9, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 267


    • Berit Brogaard, Missouri, St. Louis
    • "Phenomenal Seemings and Sensible Dogmatism"
    • Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B50


    • Steven Nadler, Wisconsin, Madison
    • "The Lives of Others: The Ethics of Spinoza's Ethics"
    • Friday, March 2, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B80

    • Barbara Herman, UCLA
    • “Making Exceptions”
    • Friday, January 21, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • UMC 245


    • John Corvino, Wayne State University
    • "The Definition of Marriage"
    • Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:00pm
    • HUMN 1B50


    • Marc Moffett, University of Wyoming
    • "Know-How and Intelligent Action"
    • Friday, February 18, 2011, 3:15pm
    • HUMN 1B50
    • Professor Moffett's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk


    • Charles Mills, Northwestern University
    • "De-Racializing Rawls"
    • Friday, March 11, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • Old Main Chapel


    • Ken Gemes, University of London
    • "Probability and Confirmation"
    • Friday, April 8, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 199
    • (co-sponsored by Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Humanities)


    • David Chalmers, Australian National University
    • "Two Puzzles about the Contingent A Priori"
    • Monday, April 25, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • Old Main Chapel


    • Brian Leiter, Chicago
    • "Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement in Nietzsche"
    • Friday, July 22, 2011, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
    • Hellems 245


    • Christopher Shields, Oxford
    • "Hylomorphic Mental Causation"
    • Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
    • Hellems 245


    • Tamar Szabo Gendler, Yale
    • "Alphabetical Order? Alief/Belief, Concord/Discord, Ethics… On some philosophical implications of recent empirical work in moral psychology"
    • Friday, September 16, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B50


    • Michelle Montague, Bristol
    • "Conscious Thought"
    • Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 1B50
    • Professor Montague's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk.


    • Gisela Striker, Harvard University
    • "Epicurus' Democritean Epistemology"
    • Friday, October 7, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 135


    • Christian Lee, CU Boulder
    • "Vague Intuitions and Knowledge"
    • Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 135
    • Mr. Lee's colloquium is this year's Jentzsch Prize Talk.


    • Stuart Rachels, Alamaba, Tuscaloosa
    • "Vegetarianism"
    • Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HALE 270


    • Zoltan Gendler Szabo, Yale
    • "Impure Modals"
    • Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 150

    • Abigail Gosselin, Regis University
    • Friday, January 15, 3:15 pm
    • HUMN 250
    • "Drugs and Human Functioning: An Anti-Essentialist Approach to Assessing Drug Use"
    • Professor Gosselin's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk.


    • Nic Damnjanovic, University of Western Australia
    • Friday, January 22, 3:15 p.m.
    • "Revelation for the Masses"


    • David Benatar, University of Cape Town, South Africa
    • Monday, April 19, 3:15 p.m.
    • EKLC E1B20
    • "The Second Sexism"
    • Professor Benatar's talk is part of this year's Morris Colloquium.


    • Ted Sider, New York University
    • "The Metaphysics of Fundamentality"
    • Friday, September 3, 2010, 3:15 pm
    • HUMN 150


    • John Doris, Washington University of St. Louis
    • Friday, October 15, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 150
    • "A Natural History of the Self"


    • Noel Saenz, University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Friday, October 29, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 201
    • "Is Modal Fictionalism a Fiction?"
    • Mr. Saenz' colloquium is this year's Jentzsch Prize Talk.


    • Linda Zagzebski, University of Oklahoma
    • Friday, November 12, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
    • HLMS 201
    • "Trust in Emotions"

    • Robert Wilson, University of Alberta
    • Friday, March 6, 3:15 PM, HUMN 250
    • "Mind Spread"


    • John Martin Fischer, UC Riverside
    • Friday, April 3, 3:15 PM, HUMN 250
    • "Frankfurt-Type Cases: The Moral of the Stories"


    • Gareth Matthews, UMass Amherst
    • Friday, April 17, 3:15 PM, HUMN 250
    • "Why Plato Lost Interest in the Socratic Method"


    • John Perry, Stanford/UC Riverside
    • "On Knowing One's Self"
    • Friday, August 28, 2009; 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 150


    • Aaron Meskin, Leeds University
    • "Two Kinds of Aesthetic Contextualism"
    • Thursday, October 22, 2009; 3:15 p.m.
    • HUMN 150


    • Frank Jackson, Princeton/ANU
    • "Direct Realism for Representationalists"
    • Friday, December 11, 2009
    • HLMS 199

    • Mathias Risse, Harvard University
    • Friday, February 8 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Common Ownership as a Non-Parochial Standpoint: A Contingent Derivation of Human Rights"


    • Verity Harte, Yale University
    • Friday, February 22 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Republic X and the Role of the Audience in Art"


    • Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University
    • Friday, March 14 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Humanitarian Intervention, Consent, and Proportionality".


    • Elijah Millgram, University of Utah
    • Friday, September 26, 3:15 PM, HUMN 150
    • "Lewis's Epicycles, Possible Worlds, and the Mysteries of Modality"


    • Timothy Williamson, University of Oxford
    • Wednesday, October 8, 3:15 PM, Old Main Chapel
    • "Objects, Properties and Contingent Existence"


    • David Owens, University of Sheffield
    • Wednesday, October 15, 3:15 PM, Old Main Chapel
    • "Promising Without Intending"


    • Kristin Demetriou, University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Friday, October 24 at 3:15 PM, HUMN 150
    • "The Soft-Line Solution to the Four-Case Argument"
    • Ms. Demetriou's colloquium is this year's Jentzsch Prize Talk.


    • Shelley Wilcox, San Francisco State University
    • Friday, November 14, 3:15 PM, HUMN 150
    • "Citizenship and the Urban Environment"
    • Professor Wilcox's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk.


    • Phil Dowe, University of Queensland
    • Friday, December 5 at 3:15 PM, HUMN 150
    • "A-Theories and Loops in Time"


    • Margaret Walker, Arizona State University
    • Friday, March 2 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "The Politics of Transparency and the Moral Work of Truth-Telling"


    • Michael Potter, University of Cambridge
    • Friday, March 16 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Does Mathematics Need Replacement (and Is It Even True)?"
    • Professor Potter's colloquium is our Reinhardt Lecture in the Philosophy of Mathematics


    • Russ Shafer-Landau, University of Wisconsin--Madison
    • Friday, April 13 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • TBA


    • Rachel Singpurwalla, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
    • Friday, April 27 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Reason and the Divided Soul in Plato's Republic"
    • Professor Singpurwalla's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk.


    • Jason Wyckoff, University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Friday, September 7 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "On the Failure of the Fair Play Account of Political Obligation"
    • Mr. Wyckoff's colloquium is this year's Jentzsch Prize Talk.


    • Mark Heller, Syracuse University
    • Friday, October 19 at 3:30 pm, EDUC 231
    • "Contextualism, Closure, and Disquotation"


    • Hud Hudson, Western Washington University
    • Friday, October 26 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Omnipresence"


    • James Pryor, New York University
    • Friday, November 9 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "When Warrant Transmits"

    • Mark Colyvan, University of Queensland, Australia
    • Friday, January 20 at 3:15 PM, Hazel Barnes Room Hellems 196
    • "Modeling the Moral Dimension of Decisions"


    • Thomas Pogge, Australian National University And Columbia University
    • Friday, February 10 at 1:00 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Why Inequality Matters: An Instrumental Argument"


    • Richard Boyd, Cornell University
    • Friday, February 24 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Natural Kinds and Philosophical Naturalism: What's 'Natural' About Natural Kinds?


    • Jan Wolenski, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
    • Monday, March 13 at 3:15 PM in the Hazel Barnes Seminar Room, Hellems 196
    • "On Interpreting Tarski's Theory of Truth"


    • Geoff Sayre-McCord, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    • Friday, March 17 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "The Nature of Normative Concepts"


    • Dermot Moran, University College Dublin and Rice University
    • Friday, April 7 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Husserl's Transcendental Idealism and the Critique of Naturalism"


    • Sara Goering, University of Washington
    • Friday, April 14 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 150
    • "Disability, Genetics and Justice"
    • Professor Goering's colloquium is this year's Alumni Talk.


    • Thomas Holden, University of California Santa Barbara
    • Friday, September 15 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 250
    • "Natural Religion and Moral Prohibition in Hume's 'Of Suicide'"


    • James Van Cleve, University of Southern California
    • Friday, September 29 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 250
    • "Mechanics and Morals of Double Vision"


    • Richard Fumerton, University of Iowa
    • Friday, October 20 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 250
    • "Epistemic Conservatism: Theft or Honest Toil?"


    • Kit Fine, New York University
    • Friday, November 3 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 250
    • "Response-Dependent Concepts"


    • Alastair Norcross, Rice University
    • Friday, December 1 at 3:15 PM, Eaton Humanities 250
    • "Two Dogmas of Deontology: Aggregation, Rights, and the Separateness of Persons"
    • This talk is sponsored by a GCAH Visiting Scholar Grant.

    Louise Antony, The Ohio State University
    Friday, October 7, 3:15 pm, HUMN 150
    “Is ‘Non-Conceptual Content’ Content?”

    Graeme Forbes, Tulane University
    Monday, October 24, 3:15 pm, HLMS 196
    "The Simple-Sentence Debate"

    Jonathan Schaffer, University of Massachusetts
    Friday, October 28, 3:15 pm, HUMN 150

    Graeme Forbes, Tulane University
    Monday, October 31, 3:15 pm, HLMS 196
    "Depiction Verbs: Can You Paint a Proposition?"

    Sally Haslanger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Friday, November 4, 3:15 pm, HUMN 150
    "What Good Are Our Intuitions About Race? Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds"

    Dan Jacobson, Bowling Green State University
    Monday, November 28, 3:15 pm, HLMS 241
    “Utilitarianism Without Consequentialism"