Applied Philosophy Conference videos

At long last the videos from last year’s Club sponsored Applied Philosophy Conference are available to view! Many thanks to the participating professors and all who made this event and the videos possible! Click on the images below to be linked to the videos. Enjoy!

Dr. David Pitt, “The Introspective Availability of Intentional Content” (part 1) (part 2)

Dr. Joseph Prabhu, “Some Changes of Direction in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion” (part 1) (part 2)

Dr. Jennifer Faust, “The Ethics of Scientific Research Utilizing Race as a Variable” (part 1) (part 2)



Hey my fellow philo students,

This is Joanna – I am not exactly sure how many of y’all I personally know, but even if we have’nt met yet, I’d like to present an opportunity! Well, what I’m referring to is not actually meeting me, but that may be a plus! I look forward to striking up conversations with all of you! I happen to be hosting a BORDEAUX WINE TASTING this saturday (Feb 14) afternoon at BEVMO in Pasadena. I think this will be an awesome opportunity for the Philosophy Club or just philosophy students to meet and get a little vino in them – after all this is the best way to cut the fancy intellectual bullshit some of us like to front from time to time and really get into the gravy about some of our philosophical positions..what we love, hate…etc etc! The tasting will be $15 to participate, but the wines featured will be in the range from $25-75 btl.

If you have never had wine before, no need to be bashful! I also happen to be the store sommelier, which means I can teach you some of the basics of enjoying wine or hopefully just provide you with a pleasant buzz! There will be cheese and crackers, I know some of us mega dorks fear the wine buzz, but no worries! Honestly, I think we can all have a good time and I didn’t want to host this tasting without mentioning it to all of you!

I look forward to seeing some CSULA philosophy heads at this event! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to approach me and ask – I don’t bite!

P.S If you decide to show up, please be prepared to come in good spirit! There is always some hostility inside lectures depending on what our philosophical inclinations are – however, leave this on campus @ lecture! My wine tastings can get a little political, and hopefully this time around a little philosophical, however , I don’t dig the individuals who do philosophy just to try and put others down! Philosophy just like wine, is supposed to be about fun too!

The Problem of Evil: Questions to Ponder (Jan. 30th)

Greetings philosophers, 

William L. Rowe, a former theist, published ‘The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism’ in 1979. There he presented an atheological argument from evil that has proved influential – his example of the badly burned fawn suffering for days before finally dying (what good reason does God have to allow that?) struck a cord in the literature. 

In ‘On Rowe’s Argument from Particular Horrors’ (2001), Daniel Howard-Snyder carefully exposits Rowe and offers a response on behalf of the theist. It’s accessible here:

We’ll be looking at Howard-Snyder’s paper. 

As you read, watch for these terms and phrases (nail these and you’ve understood the paper): ‘Our List of Pointless Evils’, ‘Our Noseeum List’, ‘Rowe-Style Noseeum Inference’, ‘Rowe’s Noseeum Assumption’, ‘Alston’s Analogies’, ‘the Progress Argument’, and ‘the Argument from Complexity’.

Following are some questions to have in mind. Feel free to think up your own as well.

Howard-Snyder offers the following questions for his readers:

1. What sort of initial plausibility would you apply to Rowe’s No-Seeum inferences?

2. Consider Howard-Snyder’s counter-examples to Rowe’s No-Seeum inferences. Are they sufficiently powerful to overcome the initial plausibility of Rowe’s no-seeum inferences?

3. If Howard-Snyder’s arguments are sound, what rational options are open with respect to belief in God? Are any closed off?

4. Can you come up with a defense of premise 1 that avoids Howard-Snyder’s worries?

My own questions I throw into the bunch:

5. Some philosophers think theistic belief can be properly basic (e.g., Plantinga). Might atheistic belief be properly basic? (I.e., something you don’t have to argue for given the experiences you’ve had, e.g. (in this case) an experience of the Godless evil of the world – or something like that).

6. Would God be morally right in creating persons who can’t see the reasons for particular horrors…even if there are such reasons?

This is controversial stuff. Rowe and Howard-Snyder represent something close to the cutting edge of the debate about evil and God in the current literature. Though we’ll be looking exclusively at Howard-Snyder in discussion, if you feel like some extra reading you can look at Rowe’s original classic here:

Jon Hernandez and I will be tag-teaming in guiding the discussion.

Looking forward to philosophizing,

Michael Hatcher

Human Immortality: Questions to Ponder

“Human Immortality” by William James was published in 1896. In this lecture James offers two arguments in support of human immortality. The excerpt
from this work selected for the next discussion group meeting contains the first of these two arguments.

Some questions to consider:

a) What does James mean by ‘functional dependence’? Which types of functional dependence does James describe?

b) What exactly is James’ ‘transmission-theory’?

c) James argues that not only is his transmission-theory just as plausible as the production-theory but that it also has certain advantages lacking in the other theory. What are these advantages?

d) James anticipates several possible objections to his theory and replies to them. How successful is he in addressing these objections? Can you think of any other objections to his theory that he has not addressed?

Please feel free to come up with more questions of your own for the discussion group meeting. I hope to see you there next Monday!


Questions to Ponder (Gettier Discussion: Nov. 14th)

Greetings fellow philosophers,

In 1963, Gettier shocked analytic epistemology with just 2 pages of philosophy. I think it will be good to get this brilliant short piece under our belt and to start to feel some of the problems in epistemology that it raised. 

So as you read the paper, ponder the following questions; we’ll be sure to touch on these questions in discussion, and perhaps go further… (also, be thinking of any of your own questions you may have):

(a) What motivated the JTB analysis of knowledge?

(b) What is the closure principle?

(c) How, exactly, do Gettier’s examples work?

(a) through (c) are exegetical questions. We’ll have to answer them first. The following two go beyond exegesis:

(d) Did Gettier really succeed? Couldn’t the examples instead be counterexamples to the closure principle?

(e) If knowledge isn’t justified true belief, then what is it? 


It doesn’t take much to read Gettier. But the text warrants quite a bit of thought. I look forward to a philosophically good time!


Hello, everybody!

This post is primarily for members of the Phil 458/510 Fall 2008 course to continue their discussion outside of the classroom (and possibly share information that might be helpful for our upcoming papers?), but others are welcome to contribute their insight or expertise.

I created this post because I was having some difficulty keeping up with the questions and responses over email. However, I believe that the site will notify you if your comments receive responses.

In order to make this discussion as easy to follow as possible, I would like to suggest that we post our questions by topic; e.g., if I have questions and related subquestions on three different topics, I would make three different comments instead of one long comment. Also, when you want to reply to a specific topic, hit “reply” underneath the comment that you want to respond to.

I’ve started off the discussion below.

I look forward to your questions and responses!