April 19, Thursday, 4:00, p.m., Park 141
Karen Bennett (Cornell)

Title: "Kinds of Kinds"
Abstract: Philosophers and ordinary people talk about kinds all the time. Yet the philosophical literature has almost entirely focused on natural kinds. People just help themselves to the notion of a kind, and fret about what naturalness might be. In this talk, I back up a step and ask, what are kinds, anyway?
Bio: Professor Karen Bennett works largely in metaphysics, with occasional excursions into philosophy of mind. She is the author of a variety of articles on constitution, modality, mereology, metametaphysics, and the like. Last summer, her book Making Things Up came out with Oxford University Press. It is about the family of relations whereby less fundamental things are generated from more fundamental things, and about what that kind of fundamentality talk comes to.

April 20, Friday, 12:30pm, Bonner Hall 123
Capabilities: Human and Machine workshop hosted by Barry Smith. As information technology becomes involved in ever more aspects of healthcare, manufacturing and other industries, the ability to reason with capabilities information will become ever more important. This workshop aims to advance the understanding of what capabilities are and of how they should be represented in information systems.

May 3, Tuesday, 4:00, p.m., Park 141
Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA)
My research sits at the intersection of many different subfields: ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, and the lively discussion of moral responsibility and free will.

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Related Events at UB

Past Events:


January 26, 2018

February 1, 2018, Thursday, 4:00, p.m., Park 141
John Greco (Saint Louis University)
Title: "Intellectual Humility and Contemporary Epistemology: A critique of epistemic individualism, evidentialism and internalism"
Abstract: Contemporary epistemology has moved away from the epistemic individualism of internalism and evidentialism, in favor of externalism, virtue epistemology, and social epistemology.  This paper explores how these various movements in epistemology are related to the notion of intellectual humility. The central idea is that, whereas intellectual pride is characterized by ideals and illusions of self-sufficiency, intellectual humility is characterized by a realistic estimation of one’s own abilities and an appreciation of one’s epistemic dependence on others.

March 1, 2018, Thursday, 4:00, p.m., Park 141
Charles Goodman (SUNY Binghamton)
Title: "How Emotions Deceive: Śāntideva's Moral Psychology Today"
Abstract: Most of us strongly favor our own interests, and those of the people we care about, over even the urgent needs of distant others. When people we care about are wrongly harmed, most of us feel anger towards the wrongdoers and believe that they deserve to suffer. Many philosophers endorse these patterns of thought and feeling, regarding them as rational, appropriate, and even virtuous.  The Buddhist philosopher Śāntideva (late 7th – mid 8th cent. CE) would disagree, claiming that such thoughts and feelings are cognitively and normatively distorted and erroneous.  Several arguments will be considered that support Śāntideva’s views on these questions. Śāntideva may have been the first author in history to state a version of utilitarianism clearly and develop its implications systematically. We now know that utilitarianism often has counterintuitive implications in contexts involving aggregating benefits and burdens across numerous sentient beings.  The question of aggregation will be considered in light of Frances Kamm’s “one billion birds” example from Intricate Ethics, Richard Wilbur’s poem “Advice to a Prophet,” and the empirical phenomenon of “compassion collapse.”  This discussion reveals a possible role that poetry could play in defending consequentialist ethics.

March 21, 2018,  "The Crisis of Western Democracy"
Jobst Landgrebe, Cognotekt, Cologne, Germany

509 O’Brian Hall, UB North Campus
Organized by Barry Smith
Co-sponsored by the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy

About the guest speaker: Dr. Jobst Landgrebe, Cognotekt founder and shareholder. Doctor and mathematician, 16 years of experience in the field of artificial intelligence, eight years as a management consultant and software architect. Specialised in the design and implementation of holistic AI solutions. Experienced in the insurance industry.

April 5, Thursday, 4:00, p.m., Park 141
Janice Dowell (Syracuse)

Title: "The Linguistic Case for Expressivism Reconsidered"
Abstract: A notable absence in the metaethical defense of expressivism about normative language has been distinctively linguistic data. In a series of recent papers, Yalcin aims to fill this gap, arguing against any descriptivist semantics for epistemic modal expressions, on the grounds that it is unable to fit with our judgments about sentences of the form ‘j and might not j’ and ‘the F might not be F’. From the need for a non-descriptivist semantics for epistemic modals, Yalcin argues for a complimentary semantics for the deontic ones. Here I provide new data against which to test Yalcin’s claims, showing how Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics, a form of descriptivism, is compatible with the full range of data. Thus, Yalcin’s data do not provide new, linguistic grounds for expressivism.


Fall 2017 Events

Symposium on Chinese Philosophy in Memory of Jiyuan Yu

November 3, 2017

The Confucius Institute and the Department of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo are pleased to announce a Symposium on Chinese Philosophy in Memory of Jiyuan Yu on Friday, November 3, 2017. The event is free and open to the public. 

Symposium Speakers:
Timothy Connolly, East Stroudsburg University
Yong Huang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Yi Jiang, Beijing Normal University
Richard Kim, Saint Louis University
JeeLoo Liu, California State University, Fullerton
Kang Ouyang, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Yi Wang, Sichuan International Studies University
Jinmei Yuan, Creighton University

UB Philosophy Organizers:
James Beebe
Nicolas Bommarito
Jorge J. E. Gracia
Neil E. Williams

Summer 2017 Events

X-PHI 2017 Conference with Tania Lombrozo, UC Berkeley

Romanell Conference 2017: Personal Identity and Our Origins

July 28 & 29, 2017

The theme of the 2017 Romanell Conference on Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine is "Personal Identity and Our Origins." Join us as we welcome three distinguished keynote speakers:

  • Don Marquis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, University of Kansas, is author of the seminal paper "Why Abortion Is Immoral."
  • Marya Schechtman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago, is a leading defender of the narrative view of personal identity as seen in her recent book Staying Alive: Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life.
  • John Lizza, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Kutztown University, has published widely on the relationship between metaphysics (especially personal identity) and bioethics.

As in past years, the conference will also feature current graduate students, UB Philosophy alums, as well as philosophy faculty members of UB and other institutions in Western New York.   

Romanell Conference 2017

PROGRAM: Romanell Conference 2017, poster by Antonette Nolan

2017 Conference: Blameless Buffalo?


Spring 2017

Spring 2017 Events at a Glance


February 3, Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Jiyuan Yu
Event hosted by Professor Neil E. Williams, Chair, UB CAS Department of Philosophy, and Professor Stephen C. Dunnett, UB Vice Provost for International Education and Chair, Confucius Institute, Board of Advisors
3:00 pm, Center for the Arts, Screening Room and Atrium Reception

February 3, Friday, 12 Noon, 141 Park Hall
Brown Box Lecture
Tim Connolly (East Stroudsburg University)

February 10, Friday, 12 Noon, 141 Park Hall   
Brown Box Lecture, Andrew Pfeuffer (University at Buffalo)

February 16, Thursday, 4:00 p.m, 141 Park Hall
Departmental Colloquium 
Tuomas Tahko (University of Helsinki)
"Where Do You Get Your Protein? (Or: Biochemical Realization)" 

February 17, Friday, 12 Noon, 141 Park Hall
Brown Box Lecture, Shane Hemmer (University at Buffalo)  

February 23, Thursday 4:00 p.m., 141 Park Hall
Departmental Colloquium
Joshua Knobe (Yale University)

February 24, Friday12 Noon, 141 Park Hall
Brown Box Lecture, Botan Dolun (University at Buffalo)

MARCH 2017

March 2, Thursday, 4:00 p.m., 141 Park Hall, UB North Campus
Buffalo Logic Colloquium,
Matt LaVine (SUNY Potsdam) "The History of Logic (and Ethics)"

March 3, Friday, 12 Noon, 141 Park Hall
Brown Box Lecture, Paul Poenicke (University at Buffalo)

March 9, Thursday, 4:00 p.m., 141 Park Hall, UB North Campus
Buffalo Logic Colloquium
Julian Cole, Buffalo State College
"Institutions and Abstract Objects"

March 10, Friday, 12 Noon, 141 Park Hall
Brown Box Lecture, Hun Chung (Rochester)



April 18, 19  20;  UB North Campus
George F. Hourani Lecture Series
Julia Driver (Washington University in St. Louis)

April 27, Thursday, 4:00 pm, 141 Park Hall, UB North Campus
Buffalo Logic Colloquium
John Corcoran (University at Buffalo)
"Sentence, Proposition, Judgment, Statement, and Fact: Speaking about the Written English Used in Logic"


April 28, Friday, 4:30 pm, and 7:00 pm

The Romanell Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine Center presents:
Dr. Patrick Lee
, John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics
Director, Institute of Bioethics, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"Rational Nature as the Basis of Being a Subject of Rights"

Lecture, 4:30-6:00 pm, Park Hall 141

“Distinguishing between What is Intended and Foreseen Side Effects”

Workshop, 7:00-10:00 pm, Location TBA

For more information contact: David B. Hershenov,

Paul Kurtz Memorial Lecture 2017 with Massimo Pigliucci

"Skepticism and Epistemic Virtue: Shouldn't skeptics know what they are talking about, when they are talking about it?"

March 30, 4:00 to 6:00 pm in 107 O’Brian Hall, UB North Campus

Short Bio:  Prof. Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He currently is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, the relationship between science and philosophy, the nature of pseudoscience, and the practical philosophy of Stoicism.

Prof. Pigliucci has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for fundamental studies of genotype by environmental interactions and for public defense of evolutionary biology from pseudoscientific attack.”

In the area of public outreach, Prof. Pigliucci has published in national and international outlets such as the New York Times, Philosophy Now and The Philosopher’s Magazine, among others. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Contributing Editor to Skeptical Inquirer. Pigliucci publishes two blogs: Plato’s Footnote (, on general philosophy, and How to Be a Stoic (, on his personal exploration of Stoicism as practical philosophy.

At last count, Prof. Pigliucci has published 146 technical papers in science and philosophy. He is also the author or editor of 10 technical and public outreach books, most recently of Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (University of Chicago Press), co-edited with Maarten Boudry. Other books include Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life (Basic Books) and Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (University of Chicago Press).

Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci

This title will be released on May 9, 2017.

This title will be released on May 9, 2017.