Philosophy

News

Lisa Kretz's Article Accepted for Publication in the Journal “Ethics and Education”

Posted: August 1, 2014

University of Evansville Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz's article “Emotional Responsibility and Teaching Ethics: Student Empowerment” was recently accepted for publication in the journal Ethics and Education.

Kretz explains that the idea for the article came about when she overheard a student say Kretz’s ethics class was depressing.

“I wondered how my classes could generate a sense of empowerment rather than depression,” says Kretz, “a sense of hope rather than despair. Drawing from David Hume’s and Martin Hoffman’s work on the psychology of empathy and sympathy I contend that dominant Western philosophical pedagogy is inadequate for facilitating morally empowered students.”

 “Moreover,” she adds, “I stipulate that adequate analysis of the role emotion should play in pedagogy requires tending to the politics of emotional expression and how oppression functions. I argue that ethical educators have a moral responsibility to facilitate not only critical moral thinking but critical moral agency. Part of ethical education should involve the provision of tools for effective citizen engagement and reasoning alone is insufficient for this goal. The role of emotion in ethical decision making and action remains devalued and under-analyzed. Approaches that fail to adequately recognize the role of emotion in ethical education are to the detriment of effective ethical pedagogy. I recommend a number of methods for remedying this omission so as to provide tools for moral action.”

Beavers to Join INSEIT Executive Board

Posted: December 3, 2013

Anthony Beavers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, was recently elected to serve on the board of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology. His term of service will be from 2014 to 2016. Beavers' membership on this board follows his departure as president of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy.

Beavers to Teach Masterclass at the University of Western Australia

Posted: November 14, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers,professor of philosophy and director of the Digital Humanities Lab at UE, has been invited to teach a masterclass on computational philosophy with respect to ethical decision making at the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Western Australia. "The IAS Masterclass provides an opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers to meet and discuss their research with a distinguished scholar who is visiting UWA." The class will take place in March immediately before the Digital Humanities Australasia 2014 conference where Beavers will also present a Keynote Address.

Beavers to Serve as External Consultant at Northern Kentucky

Posted: November 12, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers, professor of philosophy and director of the Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Evansville, will soon serve as a consultant at Northern Kentucky University, where he will assist faculty in their College of Informatics and their Philosophy Program with transdisciplinary curriculum development between informatics and the arts and humanities. Beavers has had more than fifteen years experience in such transdisicplinary work and has spoken about it widely both in the U.S. and internationally.

Lisa Kretz's Article "Teaching Being Ethical" has been accepted for publication

Posted: November 8, 2013

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz's article "Teaching Being Ethical" has been accepted for publication in the journal Teaching Ethics.

Teaching theoretical ethics and teaching being ethical differ pedagogically. Unfortunately, for those interested in inspiring ethical behavior, the dominant tests for moral development focus on moral ratiocination. The relationship between moral reasoning, development and action remains contentious and under-researched. Moreover, the failures of the knowledge-attitude-behavior model of education indicate that knowledge does not of necessity lead to attitude and behavior change. In looking to identify methods for encouraging ethical behavior, I make the case that emotion helps to bridge the distance between knowledge and behavior. Adopting techniques that engage and improve students’ capacities for empathy and sympathy are thus identified as one method of providing tools for enhanced moral behavior, as is study of moral exemplars. Less a case for a particular approach, and more an offering of justification for a particular point of departure, I extend this work as an invitation to dialogue more widely about teaching *being* ethical.

Beavers to Speak in Perth

Posted: October 28, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers, professor of philosophy, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion and director of the Digital Humanities Laboratory, has been invited to be a keynote speaker at the 2014 Digital Humanities Australasia conference to be be held at the University of Western Australia this coming March. The visit will follow two invited presentations on the Digital Humanities at the University of South Carolina in early February and a conference presentation at the 2014 Humanities Education and Research Association Conference in Washington D.C. later that month. Several of the talks will confront the question of whether ethics is computable and, if so, what this means for the way we understand value.

Beavers Joins Research Group at Duke University

Posted: October 25, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, was recently invited to join the research group on "The Future of the Information Society" at Duke University. His role here will be to continue his work on the impact our information-based culture is having on our sense of value. Beavers is currently working on these and related ideas in a book to be titled The Crisis of Value in the Information Age.

Beavers to Speak at Humanities Education and Research Association

Posted: October 1, 2013

Anthony Beavers, professor of philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, will be speaking at the 2014 Humanities Education and Research Association meeting in Washington, D.C. this coming February. The theme of the conference is "Humane, Inhumane, Human." The title of Beavers' talk is "The Crisis of Value in the Information Age: Information Reductionism and the Nihilism of the Present Day."

Abstract:  "This presentation will explore the role that information and communications technologies (ICTs) are having on our sense of value," says Beavers. "Correlating to the rapid acceleration in the storage and transmission speed of information and the sudden proliferation of ubiquitous computational technologies, we have witnessed an increase in teen suicides, mass shootings, and political polarization that is antithetical to solving these and other important problems. The reason for this, I will argue, is that our equation of knowledge with “being informed” leads us to underestimate the value of curiosity, wisdom, wondering and practical reason, while, at the same time, creating a climate which has made being informed nearly impossible.

With the collapse of our access to the truth, we are suffering from a correlative access to value. Collectively, we know there are problems, but we are short on specifics and overwhelmed to the point of inaction. The question hanging in the balance is whether the use of information technologies can lead us to the solidarity of human community needed to address important issues or whether it is creating information silos that promote escapism and ignorance. While there are prospects for the former, the latter seems to be winning the day. In the end, I will address the question of whether this historical trajectory is stoppable, or whether our ICTs are leading us into areas we would not otherwise wish to go, were we adequately informed."

"Emotional Solidarity", New Book Chapter by Lisa Kretz Accepted for Publication

Posted: September 24, 2013

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz has had a new book chapter - "Emotional Solidarity" - accepted for publication.  The title: "Emotional Solidarity: Ecological Emotional Outlaws, Mourning Environmental Loss, and Empowering Positive Change"

Abstract: Environmental mourning and the constellations of emotion attendant to such experiences of loss are understudied in western, analytic, philosophical writing. I wish to make the case that giving voice to this loss, and the sadness that accompanies it, is essential for emotional honesty and morally adequate responses. Community mourning can serve to provide support for, and galvanize the strength of, those grappling with ecological loss. Importantly, emotional solidarity through community support can validate “outlaw” emotions. Community support can likewise counter the threat of ecological despair and terror management, where “management” techniques often involve denial and refusal to deal with the source of the terror. Backward-looking mourning at what once was cannot be the place where we stop. Possibilities for renewal demand forward-looking orientations where emotions serve to empower. I will explore the justified emotion of anger in response to the ecological injustices that predicate ecological mourning. Additionally, an emotional orientation toward hope is identified as a method for fighting ecological despair and terror. At the heart of my analysis is a move toward political recognition of the epistemic import of emotional responses, nurturing appropriate emotional responses to the suffering of human and non-human others, and orienting ourselves emotionally for facilitating positive ethically grounded change.

Volume Details: Environment and/as Mourning, eds. Ashlee Cunsolo and Karen Landman. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Jones and Beavers Edit Collection on the Philosophy of Information

Posted: September 24, 2013

Derek Jones, assistant professor of philosophy and director of Cognitive Science, and Anthony F. Beavers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, just completed a special edited collection, Philosophy in the Age of Information: A Symposium on Luciano Floridi's The Philosophy of Information, for publication in the journal Minds and Machines. This special journal issue presents eight papers that raise critical objections to Dr. Floridi's recent book and features responses from the author himself.

Dr. Floridi of Oxford University visited UE last November for three days, during which he delivered three lectures, including our annual Ethics lecture, a Crick Lecture, and a special lecture on the design philosophy of Steve Jobs. Floridi also taught a special, three hour seminar session in the philosophy of information for one of our honors classes.

CNS Research Group Presents Dr. Lisa Kretz - Moral Philosophy, Emotion and Student Empowerment

Posted: September 17, 2013

On Thursday, September 19, at 6 pm in Room 75, Schroeder Family School of Business Building, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz will discuss her recent paper, "Moral Philosophy, Emotion, and Student Empowerment".

Beavers to Speak at the University of South Carolina

Posted: September 17, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers, Chair of Philosophy and Religion and Director of the Digital Humanities Lab here at UE, has been invited to speak at the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of South Carolina this February. He will be presenting two lectures: 1) Predicting the Future by Examining the Past: How Big Data Analysis Opens Up the Study of History, and 2) Ethics Beyond Our Means: How the Information Revolution Is Reshaping Human Values. The former will deal with how technologies are helping to clarify our vision of the past to provide lessons about how things can go right and wrong. The latter will examine how autonomous machinery and our use of electronic technologies are reshaping our sense of moral obligation.

The two-day visit will include a one-hour interview for the general public to be recorded and disseminated on the Internet.

Beavers Joins Dissertation Review Committee

Posted: September 11, 2013

Anthony F. Beavers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, recently joined a group of dissertation reviewers to examine Steven McKinley's Ph.D. Thesis, "The Philosophy of Information: Ethical, Ontological and Epistemic Perspectives," submitted at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Beavers, who is, as of this month, the former president of the U.K. based International Association for Computing and Philosophy, is a frequent journal reviewer for the philosophy of information and publications reviewer for Cambridge, Oxford, MIT and other related University Presses.

Derek Jones to Join Board of IACAP

Posted: September 11, 2013

Derek Jones, Director of Cognitive Science and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, will join the executive board of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy this month as the organization's Membership and Promotions Coordinator. Dr. Jones was awarded the 2010 joint IACAP/Carnegie Mellon Goldberg Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy by a Graduate Student for his work on animat modeling.

New Publication by Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz

Posted: September 5, 2013

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Lisa Kretz has just published an essay titled "Conscious Evolution" in the Montreal Review. The Montreal Review has published works by distinguished philosophers such as Philip Kitcher, Alvin Plantinga Ronald de Sousa, and Patricia Smith Churchland. You can find Dr. Kretz's article at: http://www.themontrealreview.com/.

Beavers Publishes Article on Alan Turing

Posted: September 2, 2013

Dr. Anthony F. Beavers, Chair of Philosophy and Religion, recently published "Practically Turing," in CyberTalk magazine. The article situates Turing in the middle of an information age that started in the era of Edison and Bell and that gained momentum with the advent of the computer. Beavers served as a member of the International Turing Centenary Advisory Committee and TCAC Culture Subcommittee, between 2009-2012. He also co-chaired the International Conference on Alan Turing held at the University of Birmingham, UK, during July 2012.

Beavers to Join Centre for Digital Philosophy

Posted: August 30, 2013

Dr. Anthony F. Beavers, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at the Centre for Digital Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. The Centre will be the permanent home to several projects that are altering the way that philosophers go about their professional business, most notably, PhilPapers http://philpapers.org.

Beavers has served as the Area Editor for the Philosophy of Information at PhilPapers for the last four years and is currently President of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy. He is in the process of finishing the article on Computational Philosophy for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy due to be released early next year.

Retirees Honored

Posted: April 25, 2013

Article Photo

This year's Tree-Planting and Retirement Reception was held Sunday, April 21st.  Those retirees honored were Mr. William Brown (Art), Dr. William Connolly (Philosophy & Religion), Dr. William Morrison (Chemistry) and Dr. Charles Watson (Education). 

Dr. Connolly received his B.A. in Biology from Trinity College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.  A former Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Connolly has also served as the Director of the Honors Program, Chair of the Promotion and Tenure committee, University Ombudsman,  past President and Vice President of the Faculty Senate, guest lecturer for the Andiron and Crick Lectures as well as multitudes of other campus and community groups.  Connolly has published articles on David Hume as well as philosophy of religion as well as presented at numerous profession meetings in the areas of applied ethics, and was Campus Coordinator for the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program and numerous other standing and ad hoc committees.  Connolly is also a member of the American Philosophical Assn., the Indiana Philosophical Assn., the International Hume Society, former President of the Evansville Green River Kiwanis, an NCAA soccer referee, and has taught various classes at Washington Middle School in Evansville.

Anthony Beavers invited to speak at the International Conference for Affective Computing

Posted: April 16, 2013

Anthony Beavers (professor of Philosophy and director of Cognitive Science) was recently invited to speak on the topic of ethical challenges concerning affective computing over the the next ten years at the International Conference for Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction to be held in Geneva, Switzerland this coming September. This invitation comprises the third for this fall on the topic of technology ethics, the second being an invitation to speak at the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy in Athens, Greece this August, and the third to speak at the the International Conference on the Philosophy of Information at Xian Jiaotong University, China, this October. The invitations follow from concerns over challenges to the climate of ethics arising from the impact of information and communications technologies on the global scene. Beavers was the recipient of the 2012 World Technology Award for Ethics presented this past October in New York City.

Ethics Lecture to Discuss Religion and the Labor Movement

Posted: April 4, 2013

As part of the University of Evansville’s Ethics Lecture series, Rev. Darren Cushman Wood, senior pastor of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, will present “What Moves the Labor Movement? The Role of Religion in Workers’ Struggles Past, Present, and Future.”

Cushman Wood will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, April 8 in Eykamp Hall, Room 253 in the Ridgway University Center. His lecture is free and open to the public.

“Facing new challenges in the 21st century, labor leaders are forming partnerships with the religious community, but will they be successful?” Cushman Wood said. “This lecture will explore the heritage and contemporary dynamics of the relationship between religion and labor in the United States.”

Cushman Wood earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Evansville in 1982 and is also a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York. In addition to his appointment at North United Methodist Church, he serves as an adjunct professor of labor studies at Indiana University and is the author of the book Blue Collar Jesus: How Christianity Supports Workers’ Rights (Seven Locks Press, 2004).

Cushman Wood will also give a guest sermon titled “Resurrecting Resistance” at University Worship, 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 7 in Neu Chapel.

The Ethics Lecture Series, sponsored by UE's Department of Philosophy and Religion, brings ethicists from both religious and philosophical backgrounds to explore questions of value, justice, responsibility, and meaning in the realm of human conduct and the moral life. Previous Ethics Lecture topics have included information ethics, the living wage movement, and ethical eating.

Dr. Connolly will give the Darwin Day Lecture on March 14

Posted: March 12, 2013

The 15th Annual Darwin Day lecture will be held on Thursday, March 14. Professor of Philosophy Dick Connolly will give a lecture at 4:00 p.m. in Koch Center 100. Connolly’s lecture “Does Evolution Threaten Ethics?” will argue that evolution has much to contribute to the study of ethics, but that fears that somehow evolution threatens ethical values or that biology will take over moral philosophy are unfounded. The lecture should be of interest to faculty and students across disciplines.

Connolly earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.  He is a broadly trained philosopher who has published articles ranging from the philosophy of religion to issues in applied ethics. Connolly has taught a broad array of courses at UE, including introduction to philosophy, philosophy of science, bioethics, and philosophy of law.

December's Think Outside the Lunch Box to Discuss "18 Ways to Make a Baby"

Posted: November 27, 2012

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 147,260 fertility treatments took place across the United States in 2010, and more than one percent of all infants born in the U.S. are conceived using assisted reproductive technology. While such treatments have given hope to couples struggling with infertility, they also have raised many ethical questions and concerns.

Dick Connolly, professor of philosophy at the University of Evansville, will examine these issues in the final Think Outside the Lunch Box Faculty Speaker Series event of the year. His presentation, “18 Ways to Make a Baby,” begins at noon on Thursday, December 6, in the Blue & Gold Room on the first floor of Old National Bank’s headquarters in Downtown Evansville. The event is free and open to the public.

“In an age of donated eggs, donated sperm, and surrogate mothers, what counts as a parent, and what counts as a family?” Connolly said. “I hope people will carry away from this talk not a fear of the future, but a recognition of the complexity of the ‘brave new world’ of assisted reproduction and the need to think carefully before we act.”

Connolly, a native of Mt. Kisco, New York, holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Connecticut and a PhD in philosophy from Michigan State University. He has been a member of the UE faculty since 1971, having also served as a visiting professor at The University of Pittsburgh. He received the University’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year award in 1994 and the Sydney and Sadelle Berger Award for Service in 1998.

Connolly has authored articles on the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume and the philosophy of religion, and has presented papers on a variety of issues in ethics and applied ethics. Connolly also participated in an ethics seminar at Dartmouth College associated with the Human Genome Project. At the University of Evansville, he has taught courses such as Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Science, Bioethics, and Environmental Ethics at UE.

UE’s Think Outside the Lunch Box Faculty Speaker Series is in its third year and is typically held the first Thursday of every month. To accommodate the University’s winter break, next month’s presentation will take place January 10, the second Thursday of the month.

Connolly will speak for about 30 minutes, with 15 minutes allotted for questions and answers. Attendees are welcome to eat lunch during the presentation. There is a restaurant conveniently located in the Old National Bank lobby.

Luciano Floridi to Deliver UE's Crick and Ethics Lectures

Posted: November 6, 2012

Luciano Floridi, professor of philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire in England, will travel to Evansville this month to present two free, public lectures at the University of Evansville.

Floridi will deliver “The Varieties of Complexity,” UE’s Crick Lecture in the Cognitive and Neural Sciences, at 4 p.m. Monday, November 12 in Room 100 of the Koch Center for Engineering and Science.

For the annual Ethics Lecture, Floridi will present “Information Ethics and the Political Foundations of the Information Society” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 13 in Eykamp Hall, Ridgway University Center.

Floridi is a professor of philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England, where he holds the Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and the UNESCO Chair of Information and Computer Ethics, and a fellow of St. Cross College, University of Oxford.

Floridi is best known for his foundational research on the philosophy of information and information ethics, two new research areas that he has significantly helped to establish. He has published more than 150 articles in various anthologies and international peer-reviewed journals.

His most recent books are The Philosophy of Information (Oxford University Press, 2011), Information – A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010), and the Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (edited for Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Floridi is currently the principal investigator of the project “Understanding Information Quality Standards and their Challenges” (2011-2013), in collaboration with Google UK. He has delivered more than 200 talks, including recent public lectures at the World Science Festival in New York in 2010 and a TEDx in 2011, both available on YouTube. In 2012, he was a keynote speaker at the EU Digital Agenda, during which he addressed European Union leaders on education issues in the information society.

Floridi’s lectures at the University of Evansville are sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion, UE’s programs in cognitive science and neuroscience, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Kern Family Foundation.

Members of the media seeking more information may contact Kristen Lund, UE director of news services, at 812-488-2241.

Indiana Civil Liberties Union Executive Director to Speak at UE

Posted: October 25, 2012

Article Photo

Jane Henegar, executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, will speak on campus next week in a presentation sponsored by the University of Evansville’s Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Henegar will discuss the mission of the American Civil Liberties Union at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 30 in Eykamp Hall, Rooms 254-255 in the Ridgway University Center. Her presentation is free and open to the public.

Prior to being named executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, Henegar taught political science at Butler University and led the Indiana Bar Foundation’s Project Citizen to teach civics to K-12 students in Indiana. She served as interim director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention following her service as Indianapolis deputy mayor from 2000-2006.

Henegar has held various positions in government, including state director in the office of former Senator Evan Bayh, deputy commissioner and general counsel in the Indiana Department of Administration, executive posts at the Family and Social Services Administration, and judicial law clerk for the Honorable Thomas Reavley, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, she is a 1984 graduate of Bryn Mawr College and earned her law degree in 1988 from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

Beavers Receives 2012 World Technology Award in Ethics

Posted: October 24, 2012

Anthony Beavers, professor of philosophy and director of cognitive science, was presented with the 2012 World Technology Award in Ethics this past Tuesday night at a special ceremony held at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

He was recognized for his work in moral theory, which attempts to show how and why existing ethical frameworks are insufficiently suited to the information age and why ethicists need to develop other alternatives. The World Technology Awards are presented in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, Technology Review, and Science and go to the "peer-nominated, peer-elected most innovative people in science and technology" defined as those doing "the innovative work of the likely longest significance."

Thirty awards are offered each year, twenty to individuals and ten to corporations. Winners this year included SpaceX, the first private company to get a rocket to the space station and back, Ekso Bionics for successfully developing technology to allow paraplegics to walk on their own through the use of a robotic exoskeleton, and NASA Engineer Adam Steltzner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena for his role in successfully landing the rover Curiosity on Mars this past August.

Among the more recognizable past recipients of World Technology Awards are Al Gore (for Policy), Linus Torvalds, developer of the Linux operating system (for Commerce / Communication Technology), Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World-Wide Web (for Communication Technology), Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google (for Marketing Communications), and Mark Zuckerberg, lead developer and co-founder of Facebook (also for Marketing Communications).

Beavers Nominated for World Technology Award in Ethics

Posted: October 11, 2012

Anthony Beavers, professor of philosophy and director of cognitive science, is one of five finalists nominated for the World Technology Award in Ethics to be presented at the World Technology Summit to be held at Rockefeller Plaza later this month. The awards are presented in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, Technology Review, and Science and go to the "peer-nominated, peer-elected most innovative people in science and technology." For a complete list of nominees in all twenty categories, see http://wtn.net/summit2012/finalists.php.