GPA Past Conferences

The GPA (Graduate Philosophy Association) organizes conferences sponsored in part by the UB Department of Philosophy and the UB Graduate Student Association.

2020 Graduate Conference on Philosophy of Sex and Love

Elizabeth Brake (Rice).

Elizabeth Brake (Rice)

Elizabeth Brake (Rice)

February 15, 2020

Keynote: Elizabeth Brake, Professor of Philosophy, Rice University
Areas of Research: Ethics, Applied Ethics, Political Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Sex and Love, LGBT Philosophy

My largest body of research focuses on the ethics and politics of marriage and the family. In my book, Minimizing Marriage, I argue that common reasons for thinking marriage has special moral value are misguided; the value of relationships lies in interpersonal care. I'm particularly interested in relationships which are excluded or marginalized by marriage law, and how legal protections can be extended to them. In later work, I've broadened my analysis to look at care for the elderly and at domestic workers as family members. As well as arguing for the value of caring relationships, I've also analyzed the wrongs of inequality within them and of privileging some caring relationships over others. In a new project, I'm focusing on the "bads" of caring relationships - such as emotional abuse, stalking, and harassment.

My second ongoing area of research is disaster ethics - especially, the state's role in disaster response. I've written on the importance of place as a reason for the state's role in rebuilding after disasters, and am currently writing on the ethics of price gouging. I am the Editor of the Journal of Applied Philosophy and the Program Chair for the 2020 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in San Francisco.

Poster & Schedule

2020 Graduate Conference on Philosophy of Sex and Love.

2018 Graduate Conference on Metaphysics

Achille C. Varzi

October 6, 2018

The 2018 Graduate Student Conference on Metaphysics hosted the key note speaker is Achille C. Varzi (Columbia). Varzi discussed our tendency to find patterns in the world and use them to obtain laws according to which the world is organized. He deals with Hume's problem of induction by starting with a game in which the audience attempts to guess the next number in some number sequences.


Botan Dolun, Francesco Franda, Shane Hemmer, and Eric Merrill


Achille C. Varzi (Columbia).

Achille C. Varzi (Columbia)


The program is subject to change.

8:00am – 9:00am: Check-in

9:00am – 9:10am: Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:10am – 10:10am: “Mathematical Realism from Color Objectivism”
Nicholas Danne, University of South Carolina
Commentator: Uriah Burke

10:10am – 10:30am: Coffee break
10:35am – 11:35am: “Composition, Supervenience, and Emergent Properties”
         Austin Story, Duke University
         Commentator: Shane Hemmer

11:45pm – 1:45pm: Lunch

1:50pm – 2:50pm: “Pluralism about Parthood; Pluralism about Identity; Pluralism about Ontological Costliness”
         Zachary Gabor, Harvard University
         Commentator: Clint Dowland

2:50pm – 3:05pm: Coffee break

3:10pm – 4:10pm: “The Grounding Problem and Ontological Innocence”
          Samuel Schechter, UMass Amherst
          Commentator: Francesco Franda

4:10 – 4:30pm: Coffee break

4:30 – 6:30pm: Keynote
            “The Game of the Rule”
            Achille C. Varzi (Columbia)

6:35pm: Closing Remarks

7:00pm: Dinner