Non-BC Events and Conferences

The Ethical and Ecological Dynamics of Indigenous Resilience Planning

Speakers: Kyle Pows Whyte and Eric Sanderson
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
CUNY Graduate Center, Room C198 (Basement)

Kyle Pows Whyte (Philosophy, Timnick Chair in the Humanities, Michigan State University) will be discussing "Renewing Relatives: Indigenous Resilience Planning" and Eric Sanderson (Senior Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society) will be speaking on "Indigenous Ecological Patterns of Landscape Resilience in the New York City Region: Past, Present and Future Visionmaking".

These two talks address the importance of indigenous perspectives in making rural and urban areas more ecologically sustainable and socially resilient. Whyte and Sanderson will discuss how current planning practices (from GIS to multistakeholder processes) can benefit from a long view of ecological history and the integration of contemporary indigenous knowledges and practices in the context of municipal, state, national and international planning for climate change that addresses economic inequality and the demands of democracy.

For more information, please view the flier.

Democracy and the Demagogue

Speaker: Jason Stanley (Yale University)
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Starts at 7 p.m.
Information Commons Lab, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

Jason Stanley, author of the recently published How Propaganda Works, is joining Brooklyn Public Philosophers (BKPP) to discuss "Democracy and the Demagogue." He will speak about the unhappy relationship between democracy and demagoguery, how candidates play on our baser instincts and what it means for our democracy.

Here is a brief overview of what will be discussed:
From Plato to the present day, the demagogue has been the shadow lurking over democracy, a political system whose values, freedom and equality, combine to make it uniquely susceptible to the demagogue bent on undermining them. I will explain the special threat demagoguery poses to democracy, using examples from the current U.S. election campaign.

Please see the flier for more details.

Existentialism and Romantic Love

Speaker: Skye Cleary, Columbia University
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
7 p.m.
Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

Brooklyn Public Philosophers (BKPP), the city's first forum for philosophers to discuss their work with a general audience, is back for its third year! On the docket for this semester: Jason Stanley on propaganda, Jennifer Ware on humor, and BKPP's first foray into philosophy for kids.

Starting off the season, Skye Cleary (Columbia University), author of the recently published Existentialism and Romantic Love, joins BKPP to share her work on the subject.

Check out the flyer or Facebook page for more details about this talk.

If you have missed some of the past talks, you are invited to visit the BKPP YouTube channel.

Schelling in the Anthropocene:
Thinking Beyond the Annihilation of Nature

Speaker: Bruce Matthews, Duke University
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
7 p.m.
Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

The last talk of the Brooklyn Public Philosophers' (BKPP) second year has arrived! Bruce Matthews will discuss how the work of F.W.J. Schelling can help us understand life in the anthropocene (our current geological epoch, with its human-made mass extinctions and sweeping geological changes). Check out the flier for more details.

A Martin Buber Memorial Conference

Thursday, April 23, 2015
9 a.m.
Manhattan College, The Bronx

An interdisciplinary conference on Martin Buber in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death. Please view the flier for the conference schedule. More detailed information, including paper abstracts, may be found at The event is free and open to the public.

Why Metaphors Make Good Insults

Speaker: Elizabeth Camp, Rutgers University
Monday, April 20, 2015
7 p.m.
Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

The following is an overview of what Elizabeth Camp will discuss during her talk:

Metaphors are powerful communicative tools because they "frame" their subjects in certain ways. These effects are especially palpable when the metaphor is an insult that denigrates the hearer or someone she cares about. In such cases, comprehending the metaphor can produce a kind of complicity, one that cannot be undone just by denying the speaker's claim. Where some theorists take this to show that metaphors accomplish something different in kind from ordinary talk, I argue that metaphorical insults are so rhetorically powerful because they combine three distinct features, each of which is independently common in communication. This result is not just theoretically interesting; it also helps to suggest more effective techniques for hearers to fight back.

Click here to view the flier for this talk.

Webster University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference: Minimizing Marriage

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Papers on any philosophical topic for the 9th Annual Webster University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference are welcome, though submissions on topics relating to families and marriages are encouraged. No limit on length (20–25-minute presentation time). Papers are subject to blind review: Please remove all identifying information from body of paper and include a cover page with name, institution, e-mail address, and an abstract of no more than 400 words. The keynote speaker at this event will be Elizabeth Brake, associate professor in philosophy at Arizona State University.

For more information, please view the flier.

George Washington University: Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Friday, April 3, 2015

The George Washington University Philosophy Club, in conjunction with the George Washington University Department of Philosophy, is hosting its annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. They invite undergraduates to submit papers on any philosophical topic, but papers in the fields of applied ethics and political philosophy are strongly encouraged. Papers should be no longer than 3,500 words, submitted by Feb. 14, 2015. Please format papers for blind review, including an abstract of no more than 250 words. Additionally, authors should submit a cover page listing their paper's title, the author's name, their college or university, and year of graduation, along with a contact e-mail address and phone number. Authors can expect to be notified of their paper's acceptance in late February.

For more information, please view the flier.

Adaptive Preferences and Women in the Global South

Speaker: Serene Khader, Brooklyn College
Monday, March 30, 2015
7 p.m.
Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

The next speaker at Brooklyn Public Philosophers is Brooklyn College's own Serene Khader. She will be speaking about "Adaptive Preferences and Women in the Global South." She will share her work on adaptive preferences, their moral significance, and women's empowerment. Here is a tidbit of what Khader will discuss:

In this presentation, I explain what is wrong with conceptualizing such "adaptive preferences" primarily as autonomy deficits — that is, as deficits in self-worth or the capacity for critical reflection — and offer an alternative view. I argue that there are two types of problems with such views of adaptive preferences. The first type of problem is definitional. Characterizing adaptive preferences as autonomy deficits does not capture the range of cases that intuitively seem adaptive and captures many preferences that do not seem morally problematic at all. The second type of problem stems from a moral imperative to respect the agency of oppressed and deprived people. Characterizing adaptive preferences as autonomy deficits often misplaces defects in agents what are really defects in the world. It denies the extent to which adaptive preferences are sometimes formed through normal mechanisms of socialization, compatible with cognitively and evaluatively complex life-plans, extend only to certain arenas of agents’ values and/or are welfare-maximizing responses to structural obstacles...

For more info, please view the flier, or visit the Facebook page for the event, or view the post describing this talk on the Brooklyn Public Philosophers' website.

Moravian College Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

Friday, March 27, 2015
Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa

Moravian College is proud to present its sixth annual undergraduate philosophy conference. The plenary speaker will be Robert Meagher, professor of humanities at Hampshire College.

For more information about this event, please view the flier.

Philosophy of Street Art Conference

March 5 – 7, 2015
Pratt Institute and NYU

Philosophy of Street Art: Art in and of the Street is a conference made possible by generous donations from Pratt Institute, American Society for Aesthetics, and New York Institute of Philosophy. The three day conference will take place at Pratt Institute and NYU. Alison Young (University of Melbourne) is the keynote and an artist panel and discussion will feature ELBOW-TOE (Brian Adam Douglas), Leon Reid IV, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and HOTTEA.

The conference is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

View the full schedule and locations on the Philosophy of Street Art's website.

Information on the conference organizers.

Click here to view the poster for this event.

For general inquires, please send an email to

Rejecting Beliefs, or Rejecting Believers? The Troublesome Causes and Effects of Excluding Women in the Philosophy Classroom

Speaker: Geoff Holtzman, NYU Polytechnic Institute
Monday, February 23, 2015
7 p.m.
Info Commons Lab, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

At long last, Brooklyn Public Philosophers is back for 2015! Geoff Holtzman  will share his work on why philosophy is so male-dominated, and why it's important that this changes. Here's a bit more about the talk, in Holtzman's words:

Why do so few women major in philosophy, and why are there so few female philosophy professors? Some authors have suggested that the dearth of women in philosophy can be attributed to gender differences in philosophical belief. On this view, college-aged women persistently find their intuitions to be at odds with those of their male classmates and their mostly-male professors, and this leads women to feel out of place and to leave philosophy. I think this suggestion is both false and pernicious, and my first aim in this talk will be to debunk this suggestion with data I have been collecting for the past five years. While there may be gender differences in philosophical belief, the evidence of these differences does not explain the paucity of women in professional philosophy.

I will suggest that, in fact, the nature of philosophical debate enables pre-existing gender biases — similar to those that exist in other fields — to take foot in ways they cannot take foot in many other fields in which women have traditionally been underrepresented. This consideration will segue into the second part of the talk, which will concern the social nature of philosophy. Are philosophical claims only about the ways we see the world, or are they sometimes responses to the ways other people see the world and, as such, partly claims about the ways we see those other people?

 This event is free and open to the public, and aimed at a general audience.

Click here to view the event flier. 

Grounding in Metaphysics

Speakers: Jonathan Schaffer, Rutgers University, and Jessica Wilson, University of Toronto
Lebowitz Prizes Winners for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution
Hosted by the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Fordham University

Friday, February 6, 2015
4 p.m.
Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus, Lowenstein Building, 12th-floor Lounge

You are invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus as the 2014 Lebowitz Prize Winners Jonathan Schaffer and Jessica Wilson present their symposium "Grounding on Metaphysics." The lecture will be followed by complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Please register at

Click here to view the flier for this event.

Memory Holes: Unrestricted Self-Authorship, Memory Manipulation, and the Law

Speaker: Anna Gotlib (Philosophy Department, Brooklyn College)
Monday, November 24, 2014
7 p.m.
Info Commons Lab, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

The last Brooklyn Public Philosophers talk before our winter break is a few days away! On Nov. 24, our very own Anna Gotlib will join us to share her work on memory manipulation and the self.

Here's a bit more about Anna's talk, in her own words:

In his play, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, Tony Kushner's 72-year-old, generally asymptomatic protagonist Gus Marcantonio, thinking that he is suffering from Alzheimer's, informs his family that he not only wants to sell the house, but that he intends to kill himself over the weekend. Somewhat similarly, in director Lee Chang-dong's film Poetry, the nearly symptom-free, sixty-something heroine is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and promptly jumps off a bridge (Gullette 2011).

These are no mere flights of artistic imagination, nor would these imagined acts be truly shocking to aging audiences who, according to a 2010 survey by the MetLife Foundation, dread an Alzheimer's diagnosis more than any other. Perhaps one obvious way to understand these characters, as well as this survey, is to point to a fundamental fear of losing one’s autonomy, one's ability to go about one's life in a way that one can endorse and carry out. Another is this: We in the Global North are a culture obsessed with memory — keeping it, sorting it out, controlling it — and when we are faced with its loss, we fall into a profound darkness, sometimes irretrievably. It could be that what we take to be something uniquely and deeply ours — the various meaning-making stories of our lives — is being taken away, unfairly stolen, disintegrating and annihilating the self in the process. Or else, as witnesses to the horror, we fear being forgotten — we despair at the thought of involuntary erasure by the failing memories of those who most matter to us. And as we lose our memories of ourselves and of others, or as we are lost to them, we first rage, and then, inevitably, fall silent.

So, memory matters — this much seems clear. But this is not a paper about how and why we are trying to (merely) save it. In fact, in some ways, it is the opposite: This paper challenges our correlative desires to control and to mold the memories we wish to erase, or otherwise diminish. Specifically, I want to address two emerging practices — one that attempts to edit individual and collective memories through a radical reinterpretation of internet privacy law; and the other that is in the process of rapidly developing the means of biomedical memory modification, and even erasure. I want to challenge these practices as deeply troubling misreadings of what matters, or what ought to matter, both individually and collectively, to memory-dependent, narrative beings such as ourselves. My intent, then, is to examine these emerging memory-modifying practices, addressing the openings that they create for a nearly unlimited self-authorship, no longer encumbered by the burdens of history, the collective nature of remembering, or by the passage of time.

Meanings, Minds and Models

Speaker: Colin Allen (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Thursday, November 20, 2014
10 a.m. – noon
6495 CUNY Graduate Center, New York

A recurring but minority view in the philosophy of cognitive science (e.g., Churchland 1979; Matthews 2007) holds that the propositional specification of mental content is akin to assignment of numbers to measurable phenomena such as temperature where the relationships among values are significant but not the actual numbers assigned.

I will articulate and attempt to defend a version of this view that locates mental content within a general framework of modeling approaches to empirical phenomena, and I will illustrate the approach using experiments with computational analysis of text carried out within my InPhO group. I will consider the ways in which this approach challenges standard views of meaning that put semantics before pragmatics, and I will describe how a pragmatics-first approach may be rooted in the ethology of animal communication.

Click here to view the flier for this event.

Moral Importance of Humanity, Intellectual Disability and the Role of Literature in Moral Reasoning

Monday, November 3, 2014
7 p.m.
Info Commons Lab, Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza

Brooklyn Public Philosophers is a monthly series of talks and discussions at the Brooklyn Public Library. It's a forum for philosophers based in and around Brooklyn to speak with a general audience about their work. The aim is to broaden the discussion of important philosophical issues and to increase communication between academic philosophers and the general public.

For this particular talk, Alice Crary (New School) will be discussing the moral importance of humanity, intellectual disability, and the role of literature in moral reasoning.

Here is a bit more about the talk, in Crary's own words:

Merely being human matters. That is the thesis of this presentation. Defending it is an urgent task. Today a fair number of philosophers whose influence extends well beyond professional philosophy are openly hostile to the idea that bare humanity is morally important. These philosophers tend to impugn the moral standing of, above all, intellectually disabled human beings. One of my aims to show that, far from being less fit objects of moral concern, individuals with intellectual disabilities place special demands on us for attention and solicitude. More generally, I hope to show that the sheer fact of being human is relevant to moral thought. Part of what distinguishes my argument is that its methods are not ethically neutral. I draw on a selection of ethically saturated literary works and memoirs that contain treatments not only of intellectually disabled human beings but also of human corpses, and I claim that this non-neutral manner of proceeding is consistent with respect for the rational authority of ethics.

MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) Presents: Thinking About Applying to Philosophy Ph.D. Programs?

Monday, October 27, 2014
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
6421 CUNY Graduate Center, New York

The CUNY Graduate Center chapter of Minorities and Philosophy ("MAP") is hosting a graduate student led panel discussion on the process of applying to Ph.D. programs in philosophy. The discussion is intended to help students who are considering applying to philosophy Ph.D. programs navigate the confusing application process, highlight some of the unique challenges faced by minority applicants, and offer insights about the nature of graduate study in philosophy.

For more information about this event, please view the flier.

Societies in Movement: Reinventing Democracy From Greece to the United States to Bosnia, by Marina Sitrin

Respondent: Alan Aha, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Brooklyn College
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Dinner and Lecture, 6 – 8 p.m.
Brooklyn College Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th floor, New York

At this event, hosted by the Economic Democracy Project and co-sponsored by Students for a Democratic Alternative (SODA), Marina Sitrin will discuss her book that she wrote with Dario Azzelini, They Can't Represent Us, along with updates from other movements.

Marina Sitrin is a writer, lawyer, teacher, organizer and dreamer. She holds a Ph.D. in global sociology and a J.D. in international women's human rights. Her work focuses on social movements and justice, specifically looking at new forms of social organization, such as autogestion, horizontalidad, prefigurative politics and new affective social relationships, and has been heavily involved in OCCUPY movements worldwide. Sitrin is the editor of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina (AK Press, 2006), author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism & Autonomy in Argentina (Zed Books, 2012) and Occupying Language: The Secret Rendezvous With History and the Present (Zucotti Park Press, 2012).

If you want the free dinner, please RSVP via e-mail.

Economic Democracy Project Collective Courage

September 3, 2014
6 p.m.
Brooklyn College Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th floor, New York

At this event, hosted by the Economic Democracy Project, speaker Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage, will be discussing excerpts from her book. Nembhard is professor of community justice and social economic development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College (CUNY).

For more information, please see the event flyer. For more information, e-mail us.