2019 Events-at-a-Glance

April 4, 2019, Kwong-loi Shun (Berkeley)

Thursday, 4pm – 6pm
Co-sponsor: UB Confucius Institute

April 5, Bioethics Workshop
Niagara University, 1:30 – 6:15pm

April 6, 2019, City of Good Neighbors Philosophy Conference
Saturday, 9am – 5pm, 141 Park Hall
Participants: Devonya Havis (Canisius); Nic Bommarito (UB); Leigh Duffy (Buff State); Brandon Absher (D’Youville); Steve Petersen (Niagara); and Mark Warren (Daemen). 


April 11, 2019, Richard Bett
Department Colloquium
Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall 
"Humor as Philosophical Subversion, Especially in the Skeptics”
Abstract: Positive philosophical projects and humor do not generally go together. When humor is used, it is often to draw attention to where one might go wrong: someone or something is made fun of. This is first illustrated with cases in Aristotle. But if this is a major function of humor in philosophy, it offers special opportunities to those whose entire approach to philosophy is critical rather than constructive - those who are suspicious of the whole project of philosophy. This chapter examines a number of instances of this subversive form of humor in philosophy. For the reason just stated, it concentrates on the ancient Greek skeptics, both Academic and Pyrrhonian, with a particular focus on Sextus Empiricus, the only Greek skeptic of whom we have compete works. But Stoics and Epicureans (and, in passing, Plato) also receive some attention, and there are occasional comparisons with examples in more recent philosophy (Gettier, Nietzsche). Co-sponsored with UB Classics.

April 25, 2019, Thomas Holden (UC Santa Barbara)
Department Colloquium
Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall
“Hume on Modal Discourse”
Abstract: Hume regards the ‘absolute’ necessity attending demonstrable truths as simply an expression of our imaginative blocks, and thereby avoids any commitment to a mind-independent and extra-empirical domain of absolute modal properties and facts. I develop this expressivist interpretation of Hume’s metaphysics of absolute modality, situate it against a wider understanding of Hume’s philosophy of language, and defend it against some recent objections.

May 2, 2019, Donald C. Ainslie (Toronto)
Department Colloquium
Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall

May 11, 2019
International Workshop on Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine
Sponsored by the Romanell Center


July 25-27, 2019
Romanell Summer Conference
John Martin Fischer Keynoter

July 28, 2019
Romanell Working Brunch with John Fischer

July 31-Aug 2, 2019
10th International Conference on Biomedical Ontology 
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, NY 
Call for Papers - Due April 1


(Fall event listing is forthcoming.)

OCTOBER 18 & 19, 2019, Friday & Saturday
Sponsored by the Capen Chair.
Learn more.

Fall 2019 (date tba)
David Shoemaker
Department Colloquium (date tba)
Thursday, 4pm – 6pm, 141 Park Hall



March 8, 201
Baldy Center Distinguished Speaker Series
Friday, 12:30 – 2:30pm, 509 O’Brien Hall
Christina BicchieriSJP Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics, University of Pennsylvania
"Social Similarity and the Erosion of Social Norms.”
Co-sponsored with the Baldy Center and the Center for Global Health Equity

March 14, 2019, Macalster Bell
Department Colloquium
Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall 
“Photographs as Tools of Moral Persuasion”

Abstract: While social movements often use photographs to shape opinion and persuade others of the justice of their cause, contemporary ethicists working in the analytic tradition have largely ignored the moral and epistemic questions that arise when we think about these practices.  Can photographs serve as tools of moral suasion? When someone is moved to undergo a change of heart concerning a moral matter on the basis of a photograph are they being manipulated or coerced? Is such a response sentimental or shallow? Can this sort of transformation be rational? I aim to briefly sketch out some answers to these and related questions in this paper.

March 29, 2019, Open House for Potential Grad Students
Friday 3:30pm – 5:30pm, 141 Park Hall
Lewis Powell, UB Philosophy
“Locke, The Abuses of Language, and the Construction of Public Language” 

Abstract: According to John Locke, beyond the natural limitations of language, there are seven common avoidable faults in our use of language, which undermine its purpose in easily communicating our ideas with one another and transmitting knowledge. Since Locke’s view of language is very individualized and psychologized, there are concerns that it will not have the resources to arrive at an account of any sort of shared public language, and instead only be suited to account for individual idiolects. In this paper, I present Locke’s account of the abuses of language, and show how these different abuses undermine the purposes of language. I show how an individualized understanding of the languages we are speaking, combined with the purposes we have in speaking, give Locke the resources to arrive at a workable conception of public language.


February 8, 2019, Lunchtime talk
Friday, 2 -1:30pm, 141 Park Hall
Chris Haufe,  (Case Western)
“The Priority of Promise.”
Abstract: If decisions between alternate ways of practicing science must be based on future promise, how can those decisions be epistemically justified? Kuhn’s answer to that question was — or at least seemed — deliberately unepistemic: “a decision of that kind can only be made on faith” (ibid: 158). It was not popular among those concerned with understanding and grounded the cognitive authority of science. I offer a conception of “future promise” in terms of fruitfulness potential, and show how claims of fruitfulness potential can be — and characteristically are — epistemically justified.

February 21, 2019, Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall    
Karen Frost-Arnold
 (Hobart & William Smith)
"Epistemic Justice and the Challenges of Online Moderation"

February 29, 2019
Department Colloquium
Thursday, 4 – 6pm, 141 Park Hall
Andrea Borghini, Università degli Studi di Milano
“Outline of a Metaphysics of Dishes and Recipes”

Abstract: All sorts of stuff are potential food to humans. The most common tools used to put order in such an edible jungle are recipes. Recipes are key tools in any culinary culture. They instruct diners on how to prepare dishes in a safe, nutritious, pleasing fashion; and they are used to communicate diets, menus, culinary preferences or restrictions, etc. Since the 1800s, recipes have come to have an increasing importance in the public sphere and today they are one of the most fetishized cultural items. This phenomenon, however, is not matched by a theoretical framework through which to adequately express questions and positions regarding them. Such a framework must be based on a metaphysics of recipes (the instructions for food preparation), of dishes (particular edible concoctions), and of the relationship between recipes and dishes. In this presentation, I outline a theory of recipes, dishes, and their relationship.


Fall 2018 Events-at-a-Glance

Sept. 5, Wed., 6:30-9:00 pm: PHI Dept. Welcome Party

Sept. 13, Thurs.: Department Colloquium
4:00 pm, Park Hall 141
Michael Moehler (Philosophy, PPE, Virginia Tech)
“Diversity, Stability, and Social Contract Theory”

Sept. 7, Fri.: Romanell Lecture
3:30-5:30pm, Park Hall 141
David Hershenov (UB) and Rose Hershenov (Niagara University)
“Do Fission Puzzles Provide Reason to Doubt that your Organism was ever a Zygote?”

Sept. 14, Fri.: Co-sponsored Speaker
1:00 pm, Park Hall 141
Dedong Wei (Columbia), “Humanism and Rationality: The Natures of Chinese Chan”

Sept. 14, Fri.: Romanell Lecture
3:30-5:30pm, Park Hall 141
Barry Smith (UB) "The Chicken and the Egg: Response to Kingma on Babies as Parts of Their Mothers”

Sept. 20:  Romanell-Working Dinner
Thurs., 7:00 pm; End of Life Issues Reading Group.
Neil Feit choice: Jens Johansson’s “The Preemption problem” Philosophical Studies.

Sept. 21 & 22, Fri./Sat.:  Buffalo XPhi Conference.
Embassy Suites, Downtown Buffalo.
Keynote: Shaun Nichols (Arizona).

Oct 4, Thu., Just Theory, Co-Sponsored Speaker
5:00 p.m., Clemens Hall 640, UB North Campus
Sara Brill (Fairfield University) "Unlivable Life: Aristotle after Agamben"
Co-sponsored with Department of Comparative Literature.

Oct. 6, Sat.: Graduate Student Conference on Metaphysics.
9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Capen Hall 310, UB North Campus
Achille Varzi, (Columbia), Keynote at 4:00
Organizers: Botan Dolun, Francesco Franda, , Shane Hemmer, and Eric Merrill. Learn more.

Oct. 11, Thurs.: Co-Sponsored Speaker
2:00 pm, 200G Baldy Hall 
Tamar Rudavsky, "Atomistic Conceptions of Time: al-Ghazâlî, Maimonides and Husserl”
Co-sponsored with Department of Jewish Thought.

Oct. 18, Thurs.: Paul Kurtz Memorial Lecture 2018
4:00 p.m., O'Brian Hall 107 (located in the UB Law School)
Anjan Chakravartty, "Two Projects for Secular Humanism"
Appignani Foundation Chair
Department of Philosophy, University of Miami

Oct. 19, Fri.: Romanell Lecture and Working Dinner
3:30-5:30, Park Hall 141
Patrick Lee, “New vs. Old Natural Law Theories”

Oct. 25, Thurs: Co-Sponsored Speaker
4:00, Clemens Hall 120, UB North Campus
Kate Manne, author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, will deliver a lecture on misogyny. Co-sponsored with UB Gender Institute and Dept. of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. Lecture is free but registration is requested.

Oct. 26 & 27, Fri./Sat.: Central States Philosophical Association
2018 Annual Meeting; Event Registration is required.
UB Medical School, 955 Main St, Buffalo, NY
UB will cover registration fees for faculty and graduate students.
Keynote: Michael Lynch (University of Connecticut)
Lynch works on truth, democracy, public discourse, and the ethics of technology.

Oct. 26, Fri.: Romanell Lecture
3:30-5:30pm, Park Hall 141
Eric Merrell: van Inwagen, death, and suspended animation

Oct. 27, Sat.: Romanell Workshop
9:00am - 4:30pm, Park Hall 141

Nov. 2, Fri.: George F. Hourani Lecture Series
Nickel City Ethics (NICE) Conference
9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Hotel Henry, Buffalo, NY
4:30 p.m., Mark Schroeder, Keynote Speaker

Nov. 15, Thurs.: Romanell Working Dinner
7:00-10:00 pm
Pat Daly, “Concise Guide to Clinical Reasoning” Journal of Evaluation of Clinical Practice

Nov. 16, Fri.: Romanell Lecture
Pat Daly, “An Integral Approach to Health Science and Health Care” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

Nov. 29, Thurs.: Buffalo Logic Celebration

The Buffalo Logic Celebration marks the retirement of Prof. John T. Kearns (Buffalo), honors the history of the long-running Buffalo Logic Colloquium, and names Prof. Stewart Shapiro (Ohio State) as a distinguished UB Philosophy Alum.
Location TBA; Tentative Program:
        2:00-3:30pm, Talk by Stewart Shapiro
        3:30-4:00pm, Coffee break
        4:00-5:30pm, Talk by John Kearns
        6:30pm, Dinner

Nov. 30, Fri: Romanell Lecture
3:30pm, Park Hall 141
Shane Hemmer, "The Conceptual Incoherence of Biological Approaches to Personal Identity."