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HUSSERL In A New Generation Conference

September 15-17, 2017

Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), the founder of phenomenology, was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, one whose influence can be seen in almost every area of philosophical research. In recent decades, central aspects of Husserlian phenomenology have played an important role in the evolution of fields as diverse as sociology, education, cognitive science, and architecture. The aim of this conference is to revisit Husserl’s important contributions, highlighting their relevance to the questions that philosophy faces today.

Husserl In A New Generation Conference


March, 2018

The Kent State University Philosophy Department has held a Philosophy Graduate Student Conference every year in memory of the events of May 4, 1970 since the inauguration of our graduate program in 1992–93. The Conference is open to all areas of philosophy, and conference participants come to Kent from around the globe. A call for papers goes out every fall.

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Recent Events

Visiting Lecture

Richard Schacht, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

The future of human nature

April 20, 2017, 7:00 pm
Moulton Hall Ballroom
Dessert Reception to Follow

Does the idea of “human nature” have a future? Dr. Schacht argues there is a way of thinking about “human nature” that is importantly different from what existential philosophers have in mind when they talk about human Existenz and “what it means to exist as a human being,” and is also different from what friends and foes of the idea of a normatively loaded “human essence” have in mind. It is a way of thinking about human nature that focuses not only upon the generalities of “the human condition,” but also on the exploration of basic biologically- and socially-related general features of what he calls “human reality and possibility” that are neither merely biological nor entirely historical and cultural. It is intended to be scientifically well-informed without being scientistic — to be both interpretive and normatively significant in ways that the natural sciences are not and cannot be — without becoming objectionably essentialist. This, he suggests, would make the idea of human nature (so conceived and pursued) well deserving of a philosophical future.

Kent State University Veroni Memorial Lectures in Philosophy and the Humanities

The Veroni Lectures are funded by an endowment from the Ohio philanthropist Dr. Frank Veroni. His legacy supports research in philosophy and the humanities that appeals to a wide audience. Topics in past Veroni Lectures have included post-phenomenology, dreams and philosophy, and The Da Vinci Code.

Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities, University of Kentucky

The Evolution of the Fact-Free Universe

November 16, 2016, 7:00 pm
Kent State Student Center 310AB
Dessert Reception to Follow

It’s been creeping up on us for some time. In 1995, it was shocking when an O.J. Simpson juror declared DNA to be “just a bunch of numbers.” By 2016, and our most recent presidential election, facts had become increasingly irrelevant in our culture, replaced by “narrative” and “optics” as the subjects of political reporting. The causes and landmarks of this development are the subject of my talk. Among the topics discussed: The blurred lines between information and entertainment, celebrity and expertise; the 24-hour broadcast news stations’ elevation of anything “just breaking” to the status of “news,” creating a faux reality composed of what Daniel Boorstin called “pseudo-events”; digital technologies of image-making that have normalized the “perfected” over the real; popularity of narrative fictions (journalistic, novelistic and televisual) that privilege the sensational and scandalous over the verified/historically recorded; a political arena in which lies have become expected, and journalists see “equivalencies” in covering candidates as more important than investigation and truth-seeking.  

Visiting Lecture

Neil Sinhababu, PhD, National University of Singapore

Nietzsche's Humean (All-Too-Humean) Theory of Motivation

October 10, 2016, 7:00 pm
Kent State University Ballroom Balcony
Third Floor, Kent State Student Center
Dessert Reception to Follow

Nietzsche and Hume both regard desire as driving all human action and practical reasoning. This shared view gave them an appreciation of the continuity between human and animal motivation, and set them against a long tradition of rationalist rivals including Kant and Plato. Kantians like Christine Korsgaard argue that how we reflectively endorse or reject options presented by desire demonstrates reason's ability to independently drive reasoning and action. In Daybreak 109, Nietzsche provides a simpler Humean explanation: reflective endorsement and rejection involve reflecting on one desire from the viewpoint of another.

Sellars In A New Generation Conference

April 30-May 2, 2015

The work of Wilfrid Sellars has touched nearly every area of philosophy, from traditional debates in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, to contemporary issues in philosophy of language and mind. The aim of this conference is to revisit Sellars’ important contributions, highlighting their relevance to the questions that philosophy faces today.

Sellars In A New Generation Conference