Archived News and Events

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Events from 2014 and Earlier


Congratulations to SF STATE philosophy alumnus M. Blake Wilson (BA, 1989). Dr. Wilson has been appointed Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice (tenure track) at California State University, Stanislaus. Dr. Wilson recently completed his PhD at Binghamton University, The State University of New York  (philosophy of law, social and political philosophy) and also has degrees from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (JD, 1992) and San Diego State University (MA, 2008). His previous teaching appointments include The United States Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut) and Front Range Community College (Boulder, Colorado).


Thanks to a generous six-figure bequest from a former SF STATE M.A. degree holder who went on to earn his doctorate, the SF STATE Department of Philosophy will begin a new scholarship program for students entering the M.A. program in Fall '15 and subsequent years. Scholarships may be matched with Graduate Teaching Associate Fellowships. Information about scholarship criteria and application forms will be available on the SF STATE Philosophy  Department's webpage by January 15, 2015.

SF STATE also has a variety of other scholarships for graduate students, as well as financial aid.  Students seeking the maximum in financial aid for Fall '15 entry should submit a FAFSA by the end of February '15, even if they have not yet applied to the Philosophy M.A. program.


Congratulations to Jonathan Chen (M.A., FA’ 12), Patrick Smith (M.A., SP’ 12) and Genevieve Wallace (M.A., SP’ 09), all of whom now are full-time lecturers at CSU Sacramento.

Congratulations to Delicia Kamins and Sigmund Werndorf for winning Casanova Pre-doctoral Fellowships for 2014/15. Once again Philosophy M.A. students have made a wonderful showing, attaining 25% of all Casanovas awarded to SF STATE students. And great thanks go to their faculty sponsors, Professor Azadpur and Professor Landy.

Congratulations to Michelle Covington (M.A. '14), who has completed a year of law school and now is transferring to the University of California Law School (formerly Boalt Hall).


A few weeks ago Jason Zarri, who was completing his M.A. in Philosophy, passed away. Jason had a B.A. in Philosophy from SF STATE as well. Jason was passionate about philosophy and a good friend of many of us.

We have an opportunity to memorialize Jason in a way that will enable future SF STATE philosophy students to know about him.  Jason's family wishes to create a scholarship in his name and has started a fund we hope can grow, so as to eventuate in an annually awarded scholarship.

Many of you have asked how we can honor Jason's memory. Kate Morris of the SF STATE University Development Office has been working with Jason's family.

We can join his family in helping to create the scholarship bearing his name.  Here's how you can contribute if you would like to do so.

You can make a gift by clicking the link below and choosing “I would like to support academic programs and scholarships.” Under the “about your gift” section, in the designation box type: “In memory of Jason Zarri.”


If you wish to make your gift by check, make the check out to "University Corporation, SF State" with a notation that the donation is “in memory of Jason Zarri.”

Please mail the check to:

Office of University Development
ATTN: Kate Morris
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, ADM 153
San Francisco, CA 94132
All donations are tax deductible.

TONIGHT! The SF STATE Department of Philosophy and the Philosophy Club are pleased to present the Politics and Ethics Colloquium.

Featured are three of our graduate students:

"Materialist Revolution is a Boon for Feminist Consciousness-Raising--A Reply to McKinnon" by Matthew Lawrence

"Should We Be Ashamed Not Embarrassed? How the Distinction Aids in Understanding Consumerist Society" by Varia Garon

"A Modest Defense of Natural Rights" by Stuart Chapin

Date: Monday, Nov 17th
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Place: The Philosophy Lounge, HUM 392

Many of our students have papers accepted in conferences around the country.  The Philosophy Club Colloquium is an informal conference-style presentation and discussion meant to facilitate practice for future presentations and generates constructive dialogue on student's ideas.

The SF STATE Department of Philosophy, the Philosophy Club and the Associated Students, Inc., were pleased to host Pau Luque, who presented his paper, "Practical Rationality in the Case of Genuine Practical Conflict."

Date: Thursday, Nov 13th

Time: 5:00-7:30pm

Place: HUM 587

Meet and greet with Dr. Luque after the lecture from 7:00-7:30pm!  

Refreshments will be served during the reception.  

Abstract:  There are two principles usually connected to practical rationality. These principles are the principle of consistency and the principle according to which “’ought’ implies ‘can’”. It has been said that an agent that faces a genuine conflict is not able to satisfy those principles at the same time. As a consequence, this agent is at fault, i. e. her practical reasoning is defective. In this paper, assuming Raz’s notion of genuine practical conflict, I will show that there is a weak interpretation of each of those principles that an agent facing a genuine conflict is able to meet. Besides, I try to show that this weak interpretation of those principles makes a practical difference. However, the main aim of the paper is to keep those principles for practical rationality without giving up the possibility of genuine conflicts.

Bio: Pau Luque is a professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He received his B.A. from Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona. He received his PhD in 2012 from University of Genoa and was a PhD Visiting Student at the University of Chicago in 2010-2011. His research interests are Legal and Moral Disagreements, Moral Realism and Legal Interpretation.

Admission is free, of course.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Loss of Alumn

With heavy hearts, the faculty and students of the San Francisco State Department of Philosophy mourn the passing of Jason Zarri, who earned a B.A. in Philosophy in our department and was pursuing the M.A.. Many of us recall engaging in beneficial philosophical conversations with Jason, a talented philosopher.

Jason Louis Zarri
Jun. 13, 1986 - Oct. 31, 2014

A Rosary will be held on Monday 11/10 at 10:00am with services to follow at 10:30am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 837 Tennent Ave. Pinole 94564.

A procession will follow to the Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1965 Reliez Valley Road, Lafayette.

Additionally, an obituary site has been established where one may leave memories and condolences.

The SF STATE Philosophy Club was pleased to host Dr. Dan M. Layman (Brown University).

Date: Friday, October, 3rd 2014

Time: 4:00-6:00pm.

Place: HUM 133 (lecture hall on first floor of the humanities building)

Dr. Layman will present his paper, “Many Masters? Rethinking the Labor Republican Critique of Capitalist Employment."

Abstract:  Alex Gourevitch has recently drawn on 19th century labor republicanism to criticize Philip Pettit's view that workers can escape domination if they enjoy a basic income that allows them to move freely among employers. According to Gourevitch, a basic income does not secure non-domination for workers, as they must still sell their labor, and this arrangement is intentionally maintained by those who benefit from it. I engage this debate by pursuing three aims. First, I argue that structural dependence of the kind that bothers Gourevitch and other labor republicans is not republican domination, because it lacks the controlling agent proper to republican domination. Second, I show how the labor republican case against structural dependence points toward a distinct variety of political unfreedom, which I call structural oppression. Third, I consider whether workplace democracy is necessary in order to avoid structural oppression and tentatively conclude that it is not.   ​

Admission, of course, is free.  All are welcome and encouraged to come.

Sponsored by the SF STATE Department of Philosophy.


Friday, September 12
5 - 6 p.m.
Philosophy Lounge

This is a workshop for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees in philosophy. We will cover topics including: choosing programs, preparing and submitting applications, preparing writing samples, writing letters of application, requesting recommendations, and planning the whole process.

This workshop was facilitated by Professor Sowaal.


A continuing M.A. student presented his paper, “Bob Kaufman and the Language of Emancipation,” at the 2013 Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium: Grounding Aesthetics. He also presented another paper, “Social Contract Theory as It Applies to Transnational Internet and Technology Companies,” at the 2014 Asia Association for Global Studies: Ethics in a Globalizing World.


Congratulations to James Taplin, who received his MA in F’12; his paper  “Exemplars and Saints: A Virtue Ethical Response to Moral Saints Problems” has been selected for presentation at the April 16-20 2014 Pacific Division APA Meeting in San Diego.

Jen White, who will receive her MA in SP’14, will present her paper “Zhi 智 (Wisdom) as a Metacognitive Virtue in the Mengzi” on the Group Program of the International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy. Professor Sowaal is giving an invited paper on “Mary Astell and the Development of Vice: Pride, Courtship, and the Human Nature Question” on the Main Program. Professor Emeritus Bach is giving an invited paper on “Mean and Nasty Talk: On the Semantics and Pragmatics of Slurs” on the Main Program. Professor Silvers is speaking on “Implementation on the APA’s Nondiscrimination Policy” on the Main Program. Professor Landy is giving a paper on “A Rebuttal to a Classic Objection to Kant’s Argument in the First Analogy” for the Society for German Idealism on the Group Program. Professors Fairweather, Sveinsdottir, Toh, and van Fraassen will chair sessions on the Main Program.


Congratulations to Ryan Manley (MA Spring 2013), Adam Bobella (current M.A. student) and Jameson Putnam (current M.A. student), whose papers have been selected to present at the Ph.D. Early Modern Applicant Conference at Texas A&M University, November 22-23.

The titles of their papers are: 

Ryan Manley: "Spinoza's Just and Loving God"

Adam Bobella: "Hume's Loss of the External World"

Jameson Putnam: "Disinterested Love, Knowledge, and Becoming God: Leibniz's Rationalist Morality"

Professor Wilcox in the News

The Department of Philosophy is delighted to announce that Professor Shelley Wilcox will be joining the editorial team of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy as book review editor, beginning in July 2013. Hypatia is the foremost journal of feminist philosophy, publishing cutting-edge articles and book reviews from diverse philosophical perspectives.

Hosting Hypatia at SF STATE will complement our faculty’s research strengths in feminist philosophy and provide a number of exciting opportunities for our students, including a funded student assistantship. Dr. Wilcox will also be offering both 600 and 700 level courses (1-3 units) that offer students hands on experience with the processes of philosophy publishing.


Ask a Philosopher was held in Humanities 587 on Friday, November 16, 2012 from 5-7pm.

We have an amazing panel of philosophers lined up to answer all of your burning philosophical questions. Four incredibly gracious faculty have agreed to give us two whole hours in which we can ask them ANYTHING...philosophical.

  • Dr. Anita Silvers!
  • Dr. Mary Rorty!
  • Dr. Carlos Montemayor!
  • Dr. Kris Kemtrup!

Feel free to ask general questions that they can all attempt to answer:

"How did you get interested in philosophy?" or "What is philosophy, anyway?"

Alternatively, you can ask discipline-specific questions:

"What is metaontology?"

"Why did the debate shift from talking about morality of affluence to global justice?"

Or, you can always set them up to argue:

"Characterize the analytic/continental divide."

"Do mathematical objects exist?"

In short, it's wide open, and it will be whatever we make it.

We want you to leave stuffed full of philosophy and laughter, but also food, so RSVP to SF

A Talk by Professor Peter Graham

UC Riverside

"The Function of Perception"

When: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:00pm
Where: HUM 381

A Talk by Professor Mark Alfano of the Princeton Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School

"Stereotype Threat and Intellectual Virtue"
When: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 7:00pm
Where: HUM 381

"Free to Universalize or Bound by Culture? Philosophy in a Multicultural Context" Conference

Four of our faculty presented at a conference in Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

CONFERENCE AIMS: This public conference investigates the relation between philosophy and its multicultural context. Are there immutable questions and universal answers regarding knowledge, values, and reality, or is philosophical inquiry bound by history, geography, and culture? Should the philosopher be responsible to the public? Four panels of local intellectuals from Google, San Francisco State University, San José State University, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, and University of San Francisco wish to engage with a diverse audience.

SF STATE faculty presenting: Mohammad Azadpur, Carlos Montemayor, Ásta Sveinsdóttir and Justin Tiwald.

SF STATE History of Modern Philosophy Colloquia

On October 8, 2012, the Department of Philosophy was pleased to welcome Professor Jacqueline Broad of Monash University to speak on  "Mary Astell on the Passions" from 5-6:30 pm (HUM 587).

Mary Astell (1666-1731) was a Cartesian feminist philosopher and critic of John Locke.

Professor Broad received her PhD in 2000. She publishes extensively on early modern women philosophers: she is the author of Women Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2002) and the co-editor (with Karen Green) of A History of Women’s Political Thought in Europe, 1400-1700 (Cambridge UP, 2009) and Virtue, Liberty, and Toleration: Political Ideas of European Women, 1400-1800 (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007).

She is currently engaged in a large Australian Research Council-funded project on the philosophy of Mary Astell (1666-1731). As part of this project, she is preparing a critical edition of Astell's The Christian Religion as Profess'd by a Daughter of the Church of England for The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe Series. She is also preparing a book manuscript on Mary Astell.

A Talk by Professor Ray Monk

When: 6pm, Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Where: HUM 587

Professor Monk, who is well-known for his work on early analytic philosophy spoke on, “'How can I be a logician before I’m a human being?’ The Life and Work of Ludwig Wittgenstein”.

A Talk by Professor Ernest Sosa

When: 3pm, Friday, October 7th, 2012
Where: HUM 587

A talk by Professor Ernest Sosa, the Board of Governor's Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Professor Sosa's talk was titled, "Descartes and Virtue Epistemology".