Celebrating Philosophy

A Dialogue on the Nature of Morality, Reality and Knowledge

MARCH 28-29, 2014

This two-day undergraduate conference features distinguished student presenters from a broad range of colleges and universities, carefully selected by a group of Holy Cross honor students. The conference is sponsored by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture; the Office of the Dean; and the Department of Philosophy. All talks take place in the Rehm Library. Registration is not required, but please send email to mhealy@holycross.edu to help us establish headcount. Learn more at http://crossworks.holycross.edu/celebrating_philosophy



8:30am: Continental Breakfast (Moran Lounge)

9 a.m.: Welcome
Professor Karsten Stueber, Chair, Department of Philosophy
Professor Margaret Freije, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

9: 15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.: Divinity & Morality
Chair: Professor Andrea Borghini

  • Kalina Deng, Wellesley College, “Fundamentally Moral: A Philosophical Defense of Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. and Morgan v. Hennigan”
  • David Birkdale, Fordham University, “Synderesis and Anamnesis: Synthesizing Aquinas and Newman on Conscience”
  • Ben Markley, Boston College, "Comparing Ontological Commitments in Ideal Observer and Divine Command Metaethics”

10:45 a.m.: Coffee Break (Moran Lounge)

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.: Discussing the Rationality of Religious Belief
Chair: Professor John Manoussakis

  • Andrew Rogers, Kansas State University, “The Incoherence of Divine Probabilistic Foreknowledge”
  • Sean McCormick, Cleveland State University, “Knowledge of the Divine: Arguments For and Against Reliability of Religious Experience”

12:30 - 2 p.m.: Lunch

2 - 3 p.m.: Mind, Perception & Knowledge
Chair: Professor Lawrence Cahoone

  • Seth Schimmel, University of Pennsylvania, “Roy Wood Sellar’s Critical Direct Realism”
  • Matthew Bailey, Northwestern Missouri State University, “Neural Niceties: A Critique of Non-Reductive Physicalism as a Solution to the Mind/Body Problem”

3-4 p.m.: Art, Morality & The Social Sphere
Chair: Professor Carolyn Richardson

  • Kenneth Alba, Southern Connecticut State University, “Thaw the Frozen River: Nietzsche’s Return to the Greeks”
  • Eric Marturano, Boston College, “Inauthenticity in the Panopticon of Social Media"

4 p.m.: Coffee Break (Moran Lounge)

5 p.m.: Keynote Address
Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Neurobiology, Duke University, “Varieties of Moral Possibilities”

Socrates's question is "How ought one to live?" Or perhaps it is a question about how "I" or "we," and not just "anyone" ought to live. Contemporary people have resources from anthropology and cross-cultural philosophy that can help us explore the space of human possibilities, think about radically different ways of living, and thus about how "one," "I, or "we" ought to live. Some say that philosophy is supposed to provide universals and that paying attention to anthropology and cross-cultural philosophy is to court relativism, to undermine confidence, and all sorts of other naughty things. I make a case for cross-cultural philosophy and discuss whether and how it might make us more humble and tolerant, as well as provide rich resources for moral reflection and deep social critique.

6:30 p.m.: Conference Dinner


9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast (Moran Lounge)

9:30 - 10 a.m.: Forgiveness and Repentance
Chair: Professor Kendy Hess

  • Debbie Gross, Kings College, "As Lions, As Lambs: Forgiving the Unrepentant Wrongdoer"

10 - 11 a.m.: Philosophy & The Arts

  • Carla Rodriguez, Autonomous University of Madrid/Skidmore College, “Understanding Emotions: A Musical Approach”
  • Themal Ellawala, Clark University, “Theater and Ethics: Descriptive and Prescriptive”

11:00-11:30 a.m.: Coffee Break (Moran Lounge)

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Vernunft!
Chair: Professor Joseph Lawrence

  • Gabrielle McNamara, Sacred Heart University, “The Role of A Philosopher”
  • Tim Nowak, College of the Holy Cross, “What is Research?”

12:30-2 p.m.: Lunch and close of conference