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Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
Rochester Institute of
92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623-5604


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Department of Philosophy,
Rochester Institute of Technology

Last updated 22 August 2016

Coming Events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

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Philosophy Club

Philosophy Club

Taking a philosophy course and want to know more about what this philosophy thing is about? Simply interested in philosophical discussion? Join us for informal conversation and student presentations. Our goal is to make philosophy inclusive and accessible to all levels of experience… newbies and seasoned philosophers alike.

When: On hiatus until the fall.

If you wish to stay up to date with the club, here is our Facebook group:

Thursday 8 September 2016
Bamboo Room

Evelyn Brister (R.I.T.)

“Doing Good and Being Wrong: Ethics and Ignorance”

How should we think about ethics education if, rather than training people to be good, the point of ethics education is to address ignorance? That is, what follows if we take seriously Plato’s view of morality—that unethical actions are often the result of sloppy, careless thinking, and not evil intentions? I argue that if we think of ethical action as depending on knowledge, then the curriculum for practical ethics should emphasize moral psychology, ethical reasoning skills, the status of moral facts, and examples of avoidable moral mistakes.

Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

Thursday 29 September 2016
Bamboo Room

James Walker (DePaul)

“Decolonizing Conflict Narratives:
Towards a Phenomenology of Peace”

For centuries, those interested in the moral analysis of the use of military force — in particular the question of jus ad bellum — have relied upon a conceptual framework known as “just war theory”. It is the contention of this paper that this framework ultimately presupposes a manner of narrating conflict that dehumanizes those subjects living within the boundaries of those situations the ethicist aims to analyze from that theoretical perspective. Just war theory forces us to view the situations we are attempting to analyze in a manner that smuggles in problematic colonial presuppositions about subjects and the essential power relations that are fundamental to conflict and the struggle for peace in the lived world. After teasing out the problematic colonial presuppositions of just war theorizing, this paper will begin sketching an alternative manner of engaging in the moral conceptualization of war that relies on a phenomenological analysis of peace that emphasizes the strategizing and maneuvering of subjects “on the ground” as they live within the complex web of power relations that is fundamental to those subjects’ notions of self and place in the world. In developing these points, cases from the web of conflicts that has continued to engulf the Great Lakes Region of Africa will be utilized.

Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

17–18 October 2016

Conference on
“Plotinus and Neoplatonism:
Continuing Influence and Contemporary Relevance”

Call for papers. The intent of the conference is to attract scholars who work in all periods of the history of philosophy, including contemporary, in order to advance the important and continuing relevance of the philosophies of Plotinus and Neoplatonism in general.

Submission deadline: 1 August 2016.

Please see this conference poster for more information.

Thursday 27 October 2016
Room TBA

Speaker and title TBA.

Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

Thursday 23 February 2017
Room TBA

Benjamin Banda (R.I.T.)


Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

Thursday 23 March 2017
Room TBA

Richard Dees (University of Rochester)

Primum Non Nocere Mortuis:
Bioethics and the Interests of the Dead”

Despite the apparently paradoxical nature of the claim, I will defend the idea that we can harm the dead. Positing that the dead have interests both makes sense of our practices, and it accords with the ways that we create value in our lives. Moreover, I argue that the reasons we can harm the dead shed light on many issues in bioethics, including organ donation, posthumous reproduction, end-of-life decisions, and advance directives for dementia.

Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

Thursday 20 April 2017
Room TBA

David B. Suits (R.I.T.)

Title: TBA

Sponsored by the Hale Chair in Applied Ethics

For further information on upcoming events, contact

Professor Silvia Benso, Chair
Department of Philosophy
Office: 1118 College of Liberal Arts
Phone: (585) 475-4116