Philosophy Program

Program Events

Yearly Events

  • Faculty and Students
    There are a number of occasions during the year where Philosophy faculty meet with students, sometimes just to socialize, other times for such specific purposes as the following:
    • meeting with prospective majors to talk about Moderation;
    • meeting with Junior majors to discuss the senior project process;
    • meeting with majors to discuss the vicissitudes of applying to graduate school.
  • Senior Project Conference
    Each spring semester, the program holds a Senior Project conference at which seniors present their work in panels of three or four students, moderated byi Junior majors and followed by questions from the audience.
  • Philosophy Speaker Series
    The program hosts a Philosophy Speaker Series, with three or four philosophers each seminar invited to talk about their work.

Current and Upcoming Events

Skepticism as a Medical Virtue, Precision as a Medical Vice

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Kathryn Tabb
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
In 2015, President Obama introduced an exciting new approach to medical research: the Precision Medicine Initiative. By using massive data sets and cutting-edge methods from genetics, neuroscience, and other fields, this $1.5 billion effort promises scientific breakthroughs that will yield better options for treatment and care. But is precision always a good thing for medicine? In this talk, I will draw on a tradition in the history of science, that of medical skepticism, to suggest that maybe precision isn’t always as valuable as it might appear to be at first glance. Galen, an influential Greek physician in the Roman Empire, described a popular approach to medicine that rejected the search for underlying causes of disease, and instead focused on alleviating symptoms and bringing comfort. Centuries later, John Locke, a physician as well as a philosopher, argued that knowledge of medical causes would always be out of human reach, no matter how far science advanced. In the current milieu, the celebration of precision amounts to a preference for clinical interventions that can be understood at the molecular level. But as skeptical physicians have long argued, the pursuit of this sort of explanation risks tempting the medical establishment away from its proper task, that of healing the sick. Drawing on this history, I build an ethical case for the revival of medical skepticism, in a form appropriate for the 21st century.
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm
Location: Olin, Room 102
Contact: Garry Hagberg
Phone: 845-758-7270

Self-consciousness in the split-brain subject

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Elizabeth Schechter, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Washington University in St. Louis
Consciousness has sometimes been said to be dual, or divided, after split-brain surgery. But what about self-consciousness? In this paper, I argue that after split-brain surgery, the two hemispheres of the brain are associated with distinct self-conscious thinkers. On the other hand, there is something about the way their self-consciousness operates that makes them unlike other pairs of self-conscious thinkers and rather more like a single self-conscious human being.
Time: 5:15 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Olin, Room 102
Contact: Garry Hagberg
Phone: 845-758-7270