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Hot Off the Press! Dr. Landy's Book:

Hume’s Science of Human Nature: Scientific Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation

Hume’s Science of Human Nature is an investigation of the philosophical commitments underlying Hume's methodology in pursuing what he calls ‘the science of human nature’. It argues that Hume understands scientific explanation as aiming at explaining the inductively-established universal regularities discovered in experience via an appeal to the nature of the substance underlying manifest phenomena. For years, scholars have taken Hume to employ a deliberately shallow and demonstrably untenable notion of scientific explanation. By contrast, Hume’s Science of Human Nature sets out to update our understanding of Hume’s methodology by using a more sophisticated picture of science as a model.



The Department of Philosophy is pleased to host two consecutive speaker presentations on Thursday, October 5th and Friday, October 6th:

Thursday, October 5th from 6:00 - 7:30pm in HUM 587

Barry Loewer: The Consequence Argument Meets the Mentaulus


Friday, October 6th from 4:00 - 5:30pm in HUM 587 (BayFAP)

Dennis Whitcomb and Robin Dembroff: Prejudicial Content Filtering




Hot Off the Press! Dr. Montemayor and Dr. Fairweather's Book:

Knowledge, Dexterity, and Attention: A Theory of Epistemic Agency

Contemporary cognitive science clearly tells us that attention is modulated for speech and action. While these forms of goal-directed attention are very well researched in psychology, they have not been sufficiently studied by epistemologists. In this book, Abrol Fairweather and Carlos Montemayor develop and defend a theory of epistemic achievements that requires the manifestation of cognitive agency. They examine empirical work on the psychology of attention and assertion, and use it to ground a normative theory of epistemic achievements and virtues. The resulting study is the first sustained naturalized virtue epistemology, and will be of interest to readers in epistemology, cognitive science, and beyond.



First Zarri Scholar to pursue doctorate at UCSD

Philosophy M.A. student Jacob Zellmer and first recipient of SF State's new Jason Louis Zarri Memorial Scholarship, has been admitted with generous funding to the Philosophy PhD program at the University of California, San Diego. UCSD is one of the world's leading programs for the study of modern European philosophy, Zellmer's area of specialization. 

Read more here...



Congratulations to graduate student Maja Sidzinska.  Her paper "Not One, Not Two: Toward an Ontology of Pregnancy" has been accepted for publication by Feminist Philosophy Quarterly.

Congratulations to graduate student Hilda Loury! Her paper has been accepted for the Institute of Visual Intelligence's Second Symposium to be held at Columbia University.  
Professor Philip Kitcher visited our department as the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar - read more about it here.  
Visiting Spring 2017 Professor Owen Flanagan will visit several meetings of the graduate seminar PHIL 890 - Moral Possibility, which is centered around subject matter from his new book, The Geography of Morals.  

It is with great pleasure that we share the news that our own Dr. Anita Silvers has won the CSU Wang Family Excellence Award, which honors the very best faculty member in each of four areas across the entire 23-campus system. Dr. Silvers is being recognized as the foremost member of the faculty in the visual and performing arts and letters.

This is the very highest CSU-sponsored accolade a faculty member in our system can receive, marking extraordinary distinction not just in scholarship but also in teaching and service to the University and the larger community.

In keeping with the spirit of charity and self-sacrifice for which she is known, Dr. Silvers has decided to use the entirety of the award money and add a substantial amount of her own funds to endow a scholarship for philosophy students.

Read more about it here and here.


Four of SFSU Philosophy's current M.A. students defended papers at the 2016 Northwestern Philosophy Conference. The conference was held October 14-15 at Gonzaga University.




A recent profile of Anita Silvers, Department Chair, reviewing her tremendous contributions to the discipline of Philosophy and SF State.

A new interview of Bas van Fraassen, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, on his life, interests, and contributions to the philosophy of science.  


To Ryan Murphy, SFSU MA Fall 2014, now teaching at Southwest Colorado Community College, who has a chapter included in a new collection on the Philosophy of Forgiveness.



SFSU Philosophy Department is remarkable asset to university, invaluable contributor to the discipline of Philosophy, a gem! say Hanson and Normore.

Follow this link to see highlights from the report.





In recognition of Philosophy Chair Anita Silvers' fine career of service to the university, the Bengier Foundation has generously increased the amount of their undergraduate university scholarships to $3000. Note that one of these scholarships is set aside for an undergraduate Philosophy major!

For more information see this page:



To Andy Peterson (M.A. '11) who is completing his doctorate and has a job offer as assistant professor at a research university.








Congratulations to SFSU MA candidate Kathleen Nicole O'Neal on being named a 2015-2016 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar! Thanks also to her faculty mentor, Dr. Isabelle Peschard, for her sponsorship.


On August 7th, 2015, SFSU MA candidate Ashlie Meredith presented her paper entitled "The Pitfalls of Contempt in Liberatory Struggles" on the main program for the 8th Annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress at CU Boulder.



Congratulations to recent M.A. graduates Eric Clanton, Danny Gluch, Matthew Howery and Neil Pettijohn, who have been offered lecturer positions at CSU Sacramento for Fall '15.



SFSU Philosophy Professor Carlos Montemayor's latest book is summarized and discussed in an ongoing Theory of Consciousness blog in Psychology Today. See here and here.



Recent graduate Rachel Buddeberg is making news for her advocacy in San Francisco, which continues the work begun in her MA thesis in the Department of Philosophy.


Congratulations to TWO philosophy graduate students who received travel funding awards this Spring. Each was granted $600.00 in travel funding from the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

A continuing student presented at the Montreal Neuroethics Conference for Young Researchers on April 17th, 2015.

David Wong presented his paper, "How the Representation Consumer Determines Representational Content" on April 18, 2015 at the Long Island Philosophical Society Conference.

SFSU M.A. Program Rises in PGR Ranking

The SFSU M.A. program has risen to a three-way tie for sixth place in the '15/'16 Philosophical Gourmet Ranking (PGR) of stand-alone philosophy M.A. programs.

The PGR rankings are based on peer assessments of the program faculty's strengths. SFSU has been in the PGR's top ten list since 2009.

Philosophy Students Help High Schoolers Tackle Ethics

November 14, 2014
A group of San Francisco high school students will wrestle with tricky ethical questions during a competition this January, with help from SF State philosophers.

Seven graduate philosophy students are serving as coaches for high schoolers at San Francisco's School of the Arts and the Academy of Arts and Sciences who will be competing in the High School Ethics Bowl next January. This is the second year SF State students have been involved in the competition.

"I have never seen people so interested in these questions before," said Matt Howery, one of the coaches and the SF State outreach coordinator for the National High School Ethics Bowl. "Especially in San Francisco, teenagers are passionate social justice ninjas. These are things they care about." Last year, Howery's team made it all the way to the regional semifinals, an impressive achievement for a public school with fewer resources than many of its competitors.

For the SF State students, Howery added, giving back to the community in this manner is a natural and important part of what they do as philosophers.

"A philosopher is a teacher," he said. "Philosophy is teaching. It's not a field that exists if no one is sharing information. Anytime we are engaging people, especially people who are not philosophers, we are engaging in an art that is thousands of years old."

The seven coaches are supervising six teams of five students each, working with them for a few hours each month to teach them how to develop arguments and engage others in collaborative debate -- the criteria by which they will be scored during the competition. The regional competition in January will be held at University of California, Santa Cruz, with the winner advancing to the National High School Ethics Bowl in North Carolina. Topics will include whether it is okay for a country such as Brazil to spend billions hosting the World Cup while many of its citizens are starving and whether photoshopping magazine models is ever appropriate.

"I've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly the students take to philosophical arguments, the kinds of objections that they raise and their philosophical development," said Ashlie Meredith, a graduate student and coach. "Watching that has really cultivated a passion in me for bringing philosophy to young people. It's important to foster their critical thinking skills so they can learn how to develop their own opinions and become informed citizens."

The SF State students' involvement is essential because it provides the high school students with a historical and academic context for the skills they are learning, said Jerry Pannone, a retired teacher and the ethics bowl coordinator at the two high schools.

"That is really enlightening to the kids, to see that these are very well-founded ethical theories that can also be in conflict with each other," Pannone said. "The SF State students can elucidate that for them and show them the classical development of an argument where you have two or three premises and a conclusion. That is excellent for students to learn."

-- Jonathan Morales

-- From SF State News