College Of Humanities and Fine Arts

Philosophy Colloquium Series

Philosophy Colloquium Series 2023-2024

"Fitting Diminishment of Anger: A Permissivist Account"

Speaker: Renee Rushing (Florida State University)

April 17, 2024, 4:00-5:30 pm in ARTS 228

Many philosophers hold the view that anger is an evaluative emotion. Specifically, anger is believed to be an appraisal that someone has done something morally unacceptable. If this is true, then anger is a backwards looking emotion, for it is directed at an event that has already occurred. But there is a puzzle posed by this backwards-looking nature of anger. Though our anger commonly diminishes over time, how can it diminish fittingly if it is an accurate appraisal of an event that is situated in the past?

"Forgiveness: Personal and Political"

Speaker: Quinn White (Harvard University)

March 13, 2024, 4:00-5:30 pm, ARTS 228.

"Not Permissible, Not Impermissible"

Speaker: Ramiel Tamras (UC Davis)

October 18, 2023, 4:00-5:30pm, ARTS 228 

Moral philosophy is rife with disagreement. Philosophers disagree about the permissibility of eating meat, whether killing is worse than letting die, and how much those of us with disposable incomes are obligated to donate to life-saving causes. We disagree about the permissibility of physician-assisted death, vaccine mandates, and bringing people into existence. Yet, for all of the disagreement, the following assumption has gone nearly uncontested: every action is either permissible or impermissible. In this talk, I argue that this assumption is mistaken; some acts do not have a determinate moral status.

"Pluralistic Approaches and Biological Sex"

Speaker: Natasha Haddal (UC Davis)

October 4, 2023, 4:00-5:30pm, ARTS 228

Being sensitive to diverse contexts matters when analyzing scientific concepts, but that sensitivity is not enough. How that sensitivity functions matters as well. My work looks at a variety of approaches which incorporate context diversity in concept analysis, and argues that each strategy has importantly different normative consequences. 

"Conceptions of a Foundation in Mathematics"

Speaker: Chanwoo Lee (UC Davis)

September 27, 2023, 4:00-5:30pm, ARTS 228

Set theory, category theory, etc. are foundational accounts that are expected to answer various questions under the label of ‘foundation of mathematics,' i.e., foundational questions. To fully answer foundational questions, we also need to consider how we conceive of a foundational account; the specific conception of a foundational account matters in answering foundational questions. Using set theory as an example, I illustrate two different conceptions of foundational accounts in mathematical practice: the building block conception and the scaffolding conception. Both conceptions are philosophically viable; I support their viability by an analogy with scientific reduction, which also explains how a difference in conception leads to a difference in how we answer foundational questions. This leads to a more pluralistic understanding of foundational accounts in approaching foundational/philosophical problems about mathematics.

“How to Read the Eternal Recurrence as a Thought Experiment”

Speaker: Wai-hung Wong (Chico State)

September 13, 2023, 4:00-5:30pm, ARTS 228

The Gay Science 341 is widely interpreted as a thought experiment proposed by Nietzsche concerning the affirmation of life. Central to the thought experiment is the idea of eternal recurrence. Although the eternal recurrence as discussed by Nietzsche can be understood as a cosmology, and the arguments for the eternal recurrence found in Nietzsche’s literary remains (the Nachlass) are evidence that Nietzsche himself did take seriously the eternal recurrence as a cosmology, the thought experiment does not presuppose the truth of the cosmology. We can certainly discuss the thought experiment without discussing the cosmology. What is not clear, however, is how the thought experiment should be understood. A lot of interpretations have been offered, but none of them is all the way satisfactory. This is because the thought experiment is rife with problematic aspects, and there is no interpretation that resolves all of them. In this paper I will first give a list of desiderata for a satisfactory interpretation of the eternal recurrence, and then offer an interpretation that satisfies all the desiderata, that is, resolves all the problematic aspects of the thought experiment.

Future speakers

Speaker: Renee Rushing
April 17, 4:00-5:30 pm, ARTS 228

Previous Colloquia


Speaker: Derek Lam (CSU Sacramento)
"Not Being Sure of Myself"

Speaker: Patrick Skeels (UC Davis)
"Context, Consistency, and Contradiction"

Speaker: Jordan Bell (UC Davis)
"Conceptual Engineering and Singular Thought"

Speaker: Joseph Chan (Princeton University)
"The Moral Limits of Violence in Political Resistance"

Speaker: Danielle J. Williams (UC Davis)
"Implementation, Individuation, and Triviality in Computational Theories"


Speaker: Bruce Fink
"Lacan on Love: A Commentary on Lacan's Reading of Plato's Symposium"

Speaker: David Robinson Simon

Speaker: James Bahoh (Duquesne University)
"On the Nature of Philosophical Problems in Heidegger, Lautman, and Deleuze"


Speakers: Prof. John Donohue (Stanford Law School) & Attorney Donald E.J. Kilmer, Jr.
"Guns in America: A Debate"


Speaker: Michael Epperson (California State University, Sacramento)
"The Mutual Implication of Objects and Relations in Quantum Mechanics: How Potentiality and Contextuality Are Ontologically Significant in Modern Physics"

Speaker: Mark Balaguer (California State University, Los Angeles)
"Anti-Metaphysicalism and Temporal Ontology"

Speaker: Speaker: Peter Fosl (Transylvania University)
"Hume's Progressive Appeal to Custom"


Speaker: Cody Gilmore (UC Davis)
"Holes: What They're Not"

Speaker: Quayshawn Spencer (University of San Francisco)
"How to Be a Biological Racial Realist"

Speaker: Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA)
"Can You Believe at Will?"

Speaker: Alexis Burgess (Stanford University)
"Standing in the way of a Science of Meaning: Mainstream Semantics + Deflationary Truth"

Speaker: Mohammed Abed (California State University, Los Angeles)
"Genocide as a Process of Social Group Destruction"


Speaker: Davit Pitt (California State University, Los Angeles)
"How to Distinguish a Statue from a Lump"

Speaker: Ted Sider (New York University)
"Is Metaphysics about the Real World"

Speaker: Janet D. Stemwedel (San Jose State University)
"Sifting Sound Science from Snake-oil: In search of demarcation criteria for science as actually practiced"