Student Achievements 2015

Alexandra Binsfeld-Debus (‘15) Philosophy Major, 2015 ‘Student of the Year’

Lindsey Gaudenti (‘15) Philosophy Major, 2015 ‘Robert M. Makus Memorial Service Award’

Philosophy Majors Present Research at Creative Activity and Research Day (CARD)

Students Carly Corritore, Nick Macker, Lindsey Guadenti, and Charles Hawes presented their research on Experimental Philosophy.

"This study seeks to highlight how a concept or word stimulates and inspires varying perspectives from person to person of the USF student body. A member of the research team will be sitting in an open public space on campus next to a whiteboard which will have the words "Ask me about..." followed by a word or concept of that team member's choice. These concepts advertised will differ several times a week and intend to inspire a student to come up and engage in natural conversation with the research member. The goals are to promote depth of thought and conversation in a natural way, bring up ideas and points of view that may be unusual or different from one's own views, and ultimately connect as one student to another in a unique form. By encouraging students to think deeply and participate in that experience with another student, who may or may not be a stranger, this study will also explore the openness of students to participate in experimental philosophy.”

Student Achievements 2014

May 7, 2014

Alexandra Binsfeld-Debus had a paper, "Trans* Rights Under Egalitarianism," accepted at the Pacific University Conference.

John Fox just got into the highly selective Carnegie Mellon University Summer School in Logic & Formal Epistemology.

Guntur Mallarangeng, a Philosophy minor, will be a co-author on a paper with Prof. Quayshawn Spencer that is forthcoming in Critical Philosophy of Race, entitled, "What is the State of Blacks in Philosophy?”

Maria Karas was awarded a McCarthy Center fellowship to work as full-time intern at Sacramento institutions that contribute to the California policy-making process.

Eric Schroer, the Philosophy department’s Student of the Year, likewise was awarded a McCarthy Center fellowship to work as full-time intern at Sacramento institutions that contribute to the California policy-making process.

Gabriel Austin Boyd-Nikias was awarded by the Philosophy Department the Robert M. Makus Memorial Service Award. The award comes with a certificate and gift, in memory of Robert M. Makus, former Professor of Philosophy, to the students who make the greatest contribution to fostering the Philosophy Department's intellectual community, thereby continuing the legacy of Professor Makus and making his vision of the Department come to life.

Celeste Johnson (a former USF student) has been admitted into the Masters Program for Mind, Ethics and Epistemology at the University of Edinburgh.

Philosophy Major Parker Simon is touring this Summer with his band Hibbity Dibbity. They frequently play at Boom Boom Room on Geary. Click here for a music sample. More of their music on YouTube, iTunes and Spotify.  

Raymond Dennehy Wins Smith Award

April 10, 2014

On May 31, 2013, the University Faculty for Life, awarded Raymond Dennehy, Philosophy Dept., the Rupert and Timothy Smith Award for "Distinguished Contributions to Pro-Life Scholarship" at its 23rd national conference, which was held at the University of San Francisco. For almost 50 years Dennehy has been active in the public dialogue on pro-life issues: he has debated and lectured on abortion and euthanasia at Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Hastings and Stanford Schools of Law, in addition to numerous television and radio appearances.

This past March 31st marked his 52nd consecutive semester debating abortion and lecturing on laboratory reproduction at the University of California, Berkeley.  Besides published articles on pro-life topics, Dennehy has published his memoir, ANTI-ABORTIONIST AT LARGE.  On February 24, 2010, his abortion debates with Malcolm Potts were featured in the Los Angeles Times. 

Philosophy Alumna Thrives as Stand-Up Comic

March 22, 2014

Christina Pazsitzky ’99 is a headliner in the male-dominated world of comedy.

Read More

The Bay Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy (BayCAP) Announces its Inaugural Event

February 7, 2014

Please mark your calendars for the inaugural meeting of BAYCAP (Bay Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy). BAYCAP is collaboration between USF, UC Berkeley and UC Davis and its first event will be held on March 29-30 at Lone Mountain 100. Aryeh Kosman will lecture (Saturday evening) on his recent book The Activity of Being and a translation-workshop of passages underpinning Kosman's thesis will take place on Sunday. 

 All are welcome to attend! Please see the attached flyer.

Manuel Vargas Publishes Building Better Beings with Oxford University Press

September 19, 2013

In his new book, Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility (Oxford University Press, 2013), Manuel Vargas (Professor of Philosophy and Law) presents a new theory of moral responsibility. Beginning with a discussion of ordinary convictions about responsibility and free will and their implications for a philosophical theory, Vargas argues that no theory can do justice to all the things we want from a theory of free will and moral responsibility. He goes on to show how we can nevertheless justify our responsibility practices and provide a normatively and naturalistically adequate account of responsible agency, blame, and desert. 

According to Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "Vargas has achieved something that is quite rare: he has given us an entirely new way to approach an ancient and, yes, seemingly intractable problem."

Quayshawn Spencer Has Research Profiled Online

August 30, 2013

Assistant Professor Quayshawn Spencer has recently had a paper of his profiled on in the article, "A Philosopher of Science Explores The Question: What is Race?" DugDug is a non-profit organization that "bridges the gap between academic journals (that are written by academics, for academics) and mainstream publications (that are written by “us,” for “us”)."  DugDug seeks to "take the cutting edge research occurring at academic institutions, and deliver key insights in a way that is easily understandable to casual readers."

Rebecca Gordon Receives Contract for New Book: A Nation of Cowards?

February 19, 2013

Adjunct faculty member Rebecca Gordon has a contract with Oxford University Press for her new book, whose working title is A Nation of Cowards? Torture in the Post 9-11 United States. Rebecca's interest in torture is more than academic. During the 1980's she spent time living and working in Central America, where she had a chance to witness directly the effects of U.S. torture policy. She hopes this book will become part of an important conversation about torture, a conversation, and a practice, which is far from finished. 

Rebecca Gordon examines the role of institutionalized state torture in the nation's response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She observes a shift away from covert training and support for other regimes that practice torture towards a quasi-overt and direct use of torture against the United States' own perceived enemies. She argues that traditional ethical approaches, whether deontological or utilitarian, miss the point, because they all treat torture as a set of isolated, exceptional actions. In fact, she says, torture is better understood as a complex, socially-embedded practice -- one which generates in those who practice and condone it a particular set of moral habits.

Philosophy Majors to Present Papers at the 2013 Pacific Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

January 25, 2013

Neema Jyothiprakash
USF Philosophy '14
"Gender and Division in Primitive Society"

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to use the theories of anarchist anthropologists Pierre Clastres and David Graeber who argue that the primitive society, or society without a state, is fundamentally relevant to praxis in an egalitarian and democratic society, in order to critically discuss the role of gender and specifically, the phenomena of gendered violence in a society without a state. This paper argues that Clastres’ famous arguments about the totality, or lack of fundamental alienation in the primitive society, crack when we examine gendered violence as an unusual intervention in society. Graeber’s theories are used to partially correct Clastres, but ultimately to reveal that although basic insights about societies against a state are entirely relevant, they remain incomplete because they do not understand gendered violence as a linguistic intervention.

Lucas Aguirre
USF Philosophy & Environmental Studies '14
"Bergson's Environment: Towards an Ecological Understanding"

Abstract: This paper draws on the thinking of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, and attempts an understanding of the environment while considering Bergson’s metaphysics. Why is it that the bulk of the discussion concerning environmental problems takes place within a narrow framework that has difficulty recognizing the intrinsic value of nature? In this paper I try and explain Bergson’s description of the ways that consciousness seeks to know the world around it, and conclude that modern thought fails to recognize the sensual, sympathetic nature of experience. Only through understanding the ecology of our own thoughts can we hope to reach an understanding of the environment and how to live with it in a harmonious and ecologically conscious manner.

Tom Cavanaugh Selected as Dean's Scholar

December 17, 2012

The Dean's Scholar Program recognizes exceptional scholarly and creative work by full-time faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, and acknowledges a faculty member’s important contribution to their field.

The college recognizes Thomas Cavanaugh for his work on the ethics of double-effect. In his book, “Double-Effect Reasoning: Doing Good and Avoiding Evil,” (Oxford: Clarendon Press) he presents the first detailed history of double-effect while articulating and defending new criteria for assessing hard moral cases found, for example, in medical, legal and military fora. While prompting consideration by prominent philosophers, his book has garnered praise and numerous reviews in journals such as Mind and The Philosophical Quarterly.

PACT Conference 2013: Call for Papers

November 10, 2012

CFP: The 5th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT): “PLACE” Flier

When: September 26-28, 2013

Where: University of San Francisco

Abstracts Due: April 15, 2013

Manuel Vargas Chosen as 2013-2014 NEH Chair

November 5, 2012

Congratulations to Manuel for his most recent achievement, the 2013-2014 NEH Chair at the University of San Francisco. Never one to rest on his laurels, Manuel's new project is titled "Philosophy in Latin America":

"My project is to bring to completion a book that makes a comprehensive case for the value and significance of Latin American philosophy. The aspiration is to ensure that newcomers will walk away with a sense of what is valuable about the field, while providing the small community of Anglophone specialists with sufficient grist to merit their engagement."

Philosophy Majors Chosen as Sarlo Scholars

November 1, 2012

Philosophy Majors Neema Jyothiprakash and Eric Schroer have each been chosen as 2013 Sarlo Scholars for the USF Global Service-Learning program. Only 15 USF students are chosen each year to participate in this fully-funded program.

Neema & Eric will each live with a host family and intern at grassroots organizations addressing one or more of the following issues: education, health care, women’s rights, environmental preservation, community empowerment, and human rights. Neema will be part of the India delegation, and Eric will be part of the Bolivia delegation. Congrats, Neema and Eric!

Philosophy Major Neema Jyothiprakash Selected as Board Member of International Journal

November 1, 2012

Neema Jyothiprakash has been selected to be Assistant Editorial Board member of the journal Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. She will be closely involved in the journal's processes, have a substantial impact on editorial decisions, and attain broader experience with the requirements of academic publishing. Congrats, Neema!

Christopher Long Live-Tweets and Storifies

October 25, 2012


On October 25th, Prof. Long visited USF and gave a talk on Plato and the Politics of Reading. Linked to the right are his blog and storify entries on his visit where the conversation is still going on!