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philosophy

DEPARTMENT NEWS

PHILOSOPHY MAJORS 

Advising for Spring 2017 begins Monday, October 3rd. Click here for more info.

Make an appointment with a Philosophy Advisor at iAdvise.ou.edu

Click here for the 2016-2017 schedule for the Philosophy Department David Ross Boyd Colloquium Series

  • Dr. Rachel Barney Visits Nov. 18th

    "Becoming Bad: Aristotle on Habituation into Vice"
    Dr. Rachel Barney
    University of Toronto

    Aristotle’s ethical works include only scattered remarks about moral badness or vice [kakia], and they are puzzling. Badness is a condition of the nonrational soul; but it somehow depends on the corruption of reason. And like virtue, vice is produced by habituation — it is something we learn, through repeated action, just as we do a craft. This paper attempts to makes sense of these claims, and to present Aristotle’s account as coherent, plausible, and perhaps unnervingly familiar.

    See flyer for more info: Lecture Flier

  • Dr. David Kyle Johnson Visits Nov. 4th

    "Moral Culpability and Choosing to Believe in God"
    Dr. David Kyle Johnson
    King’s College, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

    Atheism is highest among academics; among academics it is highest among philosophers (72.8%). Indeed, even theistic philosophers generally admit that theistic belief is a matter of faith—that the arguments for God’s existence fall short and that belief in God requires belief without sufficient evidence. But, motivated by the arguments of William James, theistic philosophers usually suggest that one has a right to choose to believe in God if one wishes. Although it’s not entirely clear whether James had epistemic or moral rights in mind, it’s generally held that choosing to believe in God by faith is morally acceptable (indeed, morally praiseworthy).

    It is this notion that I shall challenge; I will argue that choosing to believe in God by faith is immoral. To accomplish this, I will delineate between two different kinds of faith (blind and simple) and argue that belief in God by either is immoral. Blind faith promotes harmful epistemic practices; simple faith makes one guilty by association. It’s not that belief in God is always immoral; some do not choose to believe. But, when presented with a choice between theism and atheism, atheism is morally preferable. I will close by considering multiple objections.

    See flyer for more info: Lecture Flier

  • Dr. Nancy Snow Visits Oct. 28th

    “The Perils of Magnificence”
    Dr. Nancy Snow
    University of Oklahoma

    In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that magnificence is the virtue of making large expenditures for the public good. As such, it stands between the vices of niggardliness and vulgarity. It is also related to generosity, for the magnificent person, Aristotle says, is generous, though not necessarily vice versa, presumably because not all generous people have the means to spend on a grand scale (Aristotle 1122a18-1122b17). In Practical Intelligence and the Virtues, Daniel C. Russell discusses Aristotle’s view, arguing that magnificence is a specialized virtue that is subordinate to the more basic or primary virtue of generosity. Russell mentions but dismisses Aquinas’ view (following Cicero) that magnificence is subordinate to courage or fortitude (Russell 2009, 219, n. 17). In this essay, I argue for the following claims: (1) Magnificence can be a virtue, and can include, in addition to motives of generosity, motives of courage, as well as of confidence, patience, and perseverance. In expanding the range of motives in this way, I, like Aquinas, follow Cicero. (2) Magnificence can be a vice, and can include any number of morally unworthy motives, such as the desire to ingratiate oneself, self-aggrandizement, or envy. (3) Magnificence can be what I call an ‘impure’ virtue. A virtue is impure if the motives it includes are not all morally worthy, but are mixed. A set of mixed motives consists of morally worthy and morally neutral motives. The presence of morally vicious motives in a set renders the set not mixed, but vicious, and can render the trait that includes the set a vice.

    See flyer for more info: Lecture Flyer

  • Dr. Heather Battaly Visits October 14th

    “Intellectual Perseverance”
    Dr. Heather Battaly
    California State University, Fullerton

    This essay offers a working analysis of the trait of intellectual perseverance. It argues that intellectual perseverance is a disposition to overcome obstacles, so as to continue to perform intellectual actions, in pursuit of one’s intellectual goals. The trait of intellectual perseverance is not always an intellectual virtue. The essay provides a pluralist analysis of what makes it an intellectual virtue, when it is one. Along the way, it argues that the virtue of intellectual perseverance can be contrasted with both a vice of deficiency (capitulation) and a vice of excess (recalcitrance). It also suggests that the virtues of intellectual courage and intellectual self-control are types of intellectual perseverance. The essay ends with several open questions about the virtue of intellectual perseverance. My hope is that this essay will stimulate further interest in, and analysis of, this important intellectual trait.

    See the flyer for more info: Lecture Flyer

  • Congratulations to graduate student Cheryl Frazier!

    Cheryl was the recipient of the Pollard Prize for Outstanding Graduate Student Research at the 2016 Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute in Bioethics at Yale University. The title of her research project was "Suicide and Forced Withdrawal: Addressing the Changing Face of Mental Health among University Students." More information can be found on the program here: http://bioethics.yale.edu/sherwin-b-nuland-summer-institute-bioethics

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Department of Philosophy
455 West Lindsey
Dale Hall Tower Room 605
Norman, Oklahoma 73019-2006
Phone: (405) 325-6324
Email: philosophy@ou.edu


philosophy

Department of Philosophy
455 West Lindsey
Dale Hall Tower Room 605
Norman, Oklahoma 73019-2006
Phone: (405) 325-6324
Email: philosophy@ou.edu