Monday, March 31, 2008

Philosophy 470: Philosophy of Biology

In Fall '08, Dr. Press will be offering Phi 470: Philosophy of Biology. Here is a flier for the course:
(Click on the image of the flier to enlarge it. Note: this course will be offered in the Fall, though the flier says "Spring".)

Email Dr. Press (press (at) for more information.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Course Listings for Fall 2008

Just in case you haven't yet seen them, the Fall 2008 courses are now up on the Philosophy Department's webpage. (

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Call for Applications - The Mantle of the Prophet: Demons, Saints and Terrorists - Berlin Summer Sch

Here's a summer school program that sounds very interesting:

International Summer University 2008

Topic: The Mantle of the Prophet: Demons, Saints and Terrorists

July 7th to August 15th 2008

ECLA's International Summer University has existed since 2000 and is a
unique intellectual adventure that takes place for six weeks in July
and August of each year. The programme offers a possibility for
students, who are serious about their education to discuss problems
concerning politics, morality, art and knowledge. The dialogue is
pursued in the classroom – through the close study of texts and works
of art that have shaped or seek to shape the values we live by – and
beyond the classroom, over lunch in the cafeteria, for example, or in
a Berlin café after a play. The small seminar groups, the weekly
essays, the individual attention in one-to-one tutorials, and the
close-knit international community of students and faculty, who live
on campus throughout the programme, provide the framework for the joy
of this unusual academic experience.

The themes of the 2008 ISU are taken from Dostoyevsky's novel The
Demons. During a six week programme, students and faculty will explore
some of the numerous moral, religious, and political implications of
this book: the historical and metaphysical roots of terrorism, its
various embodiments from state terror to individual violence and, more
generally, the 'death of God', the 'deification of man', nihilism and
existentialism. Along with The Demons, students will study and discuss
a variety of philosophical, literary, and historical texts, including
Camus' The Stranger, Pascal's The Provincial Letters, Nechaev's
Catechism of a Revolutionary, Diderot's The Nun, Schopenhauer's
Dialogue on Religion, and Plato's Gorgias. Films and museum visits
will complement the readings.

Dates: July 7th to August 15th 2008

Location: ECLA Campus in Berlin, Germany

Title: The Mantle of the Prophet: Demons, Saints and Terrorists

Application Deadline: April 10th 2008

Costs: ECLA charges a comprehensive fee of 4500 Euros for the ISU programme.

This fee covers tuition, campus accommodation and meals, books (on
loan) and reading materials, class excursions, emergency medical
insurance and public transportation within Berlin.

Financial Aid: Need-based financial aid is available to successful
applicants who demonstrate financial need.

Further information: Please check the ECLA website or contact the

Admissions Office at

To learn more about ISU 2008, please visit:

http://www.ecla. de/academics/isu

Costica Bradatan, PhD
Assistant Professor

Texas Tech University
The Honors College
PO Box 41017
Lubbock, TX 79409

Senior Editor, Janus Head


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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Brief History of Philosophy in Verse

Some more entertainment* from Gary Smith:

( * Philosophy-entertainment is usually of the sort such that you shouldn't share it with the uninitiated.)



March 5, 2003

1. There once was a thinker called Plato
Who said "this our world's second rate-oh,
Its just a poor copy
Of something less sloppy
Where all is precise and first rate-oh".

2. That crafty old man Aristotle
Took his friends to look at a bottle
Saying "its causes are four,
No less and no more,
Glass, shape, vintner and drinking full throttle".

3. A French soldier known as Descartes
Said "I hope that you've taken to heart
That without a safe line
To something divine,
Each is stuck at his self engrossed start."

4. There once was a tutor called Locke
Who said that the self's like a sock
Though the wool is quite new
It's still really you
Because its been darned without shock.


5. That skilful lens grinder Baruch
Said "nothing can happen by fluke
For nothing is free
From Nature's decree,
Free will is just gobledy gook".

6. That worldly wise Gottfried Leibniz
Had most of the angels in fits
When he said "your external relations
Are just private sensations
From one monad to 'tother nowt flits".

7. There once was a vicar called Berkeley
Who said to his friends somewhat darkly
"This whole vale of tears
Is nowt but ideas"
That astonishing vicar called Berkeley.

8. That somewhat stout Scot David Hume
Said "this cosmos of ours has no room
For forces or powers
Its just hours and hours
Of impressions, then ideas, till the tomb".


9. That punctilious pedestrian Kant
Said the realness of ought I must grant
As for time and for space
You may laugh in my face
But call them genuinely real I just shan't.

10. That rather unnerving chap Hegel
Tried us all to the view to inveigle
That pure Nothing and Being
Far from not agreeing
In becoming are playboy and playgirl.

11. That gloomy old Sage Schopenhauer
Said "there's much more nettle than flower"
Nothing more he reviled
Than the person who smiled
And grieved not at the Cosmic Will's power.

12. That sad fellow Friedrich Nietzsche
Was once a fine classical teacher
Till a voice in his head
Told him God was now dead -
This became of his thought the chief feature.


13. Shall I marry her? asked Kierkegaard
I love her but Christ surely more
He sought mediation
To end hesitation
But God called out NO: - EITHER/OR.

14. That temperate man T. H. Green
Said "There's something divine but unseen
Which spins the relations
Which make our sensations.
A real world, if you see what I mean".

15. Said that soldierly mystic called Bradley
"Please don't take my system too sadly
Its really quite fun
Thinking everything's One
We should all feel unreal very gladly".

16. The Hegelian inclined Bosanquet
Said "its really, you know, rather wet
To expect each finite chappy
To be well fed and happy
For the Absolute ain't in our debt".


17. That most honest of thinkers McTaggart
Although very far from a braggart
Felt some pride in his proof
That time was a spoof
Which could never take in a McTaggart.

18. William James declared that the true
Is the thought which works best for you
And it works through its dealing
With those streams of pure feeling
Known as matter, mind, (and God too)

19. Martin Heidegger said don't repine
If you don't quite catch what's my line
You don't need much German
To follow my sermon
As long as you know the word Sein.

20. A man in a cafe called Sartre
Gave the other chaps there quite a start
By looking around
For someone not to be found
But whose absence still haunted Montmartre 1.

1 The demands of rhyme forced me to move Sartre from his more usual haunt of Montparnasse



21. A weirdo yclept Wittgenstein
Called out this whole world is "just mine"
But later he noted
That an ego so bloated
Had no room for mine or for thine.

22. A man from Ohio now dead3
Would lurk in the fields, so it is said,
So that when others screamed "rabbit"
He could indulge in his habit
Of shouting "Gavagai" instead.

23. A brain in a vat called Putnam
Said "perhaps this whole world's just a scam
Still, my thoughts must refer
To their causes out there
What they are I don't care a damn."

3This was written and recited to the Edinburgh Philosophy Department just after Quine's death. So it may become undated (I mean, because his death will no longer be something special.)


24. The truth of all this it seems plain
Is that philosophy would indeed be in vain
If its aim were a view
So objectively true
It will not be discarded again

25. But cheer yourselves up my good friends
Though its true that the search never ends
We may each in our day
Have our personal say
And feel free to ignore current trends.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Undergraduate/graduate conference CFP

LSU Philosophy Conference


The Graduate Students of Louisiana State University's Philosophy
Department invite submissions for our First Annual Philosophy
Conference.  Papers in any area of Philosophy are welcome, from any
philosophical tradition; submissions from graduate and undergraduate
students will be considered.  The conference will be held April 11-12,
2008, on the Baton Rouge campus of LSU.

Please submit papers as an attachment to an email, with 'submission'
in the subject line, in .pdf or .doc format to:

Submission deadline:  March 13, 2008

We are pleased to announce that Fran├žois Raffoul will deliver our
keynote address, entitled:  "The Question of Ethics in 20th Century
Continental Philosophy"

Presentations are limited to 30 minutes, so papers should be no more
than 15 pages, and should be suitable for blind review--with no
identifying information on the pages of text.  Please include a
detachable cover sheet with your name, a 250 word paper abstract,
university affiliation, and email address.

The conference organizers will arrange accommodations for presenters
in the homes of graduate students.

Questions?  Write us at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Undergraduate Conference CFP

Fourth Annual
New England Undergraduate
Philosophy Conference
At Providence College

Saturday, April 19, 2008
9 AM--5PM


Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit philosophy papers on
any topic or figure.  Papers should be approximately  8-15 pages,
typed, double-spaced and prepared for blind review.   A cover sheet
with the student's name, email address, institution, and paper title
should be included with the paper. An abstract of no more than 150
words should also be included on the cover sheet.

Papers should be submitted electronically in either Microsoft Word or
Rich Text Formats to Dr. Peter Costello and Dr. Christopher Arroyo at
the following address:

Deadline for Submissions: March 19, 2008

For more information or to volunteer to serve as a commentator or
moderator, please phone Dr. Peter Costello at 401-865-2188,  Dr.
Christopher Arroyo at 401-865-2235, or contact student organizer
Michael Bonnell