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clemson ethics bowl team 2019

    • The Clemson Ethics Bowl team advanced to the semi-finals at this weekend's National Ethics Bowl Competition in Baltimore (meaning they were among the top 4 collegiate teams in the country). The team went undefeated with one tie in the preliminary rounds and lost by a close margin to previous national champion Whitworth University. Caleb Hylkema, Kathleen Dudgeon, Sylvia Wu, Ryan Sweeney, and Andy Ackerman comprise the team with Dr. David Antonini serving as coach. Under much pressure and time constraints, the team worked collaboratively to apply ethical reasoning to complex contemporary moral and political problems such as the nuclear problem in North Korea to the under-representation of female actresses in Hollywood. Congratulations to our team for this terrific result!

ethics bowl team 2018

  • Congratulations to The Clemson Ethics Bowl team! They competed at the annual Regional Competition this weekend (Nov 17) at the University of North Georgia. The team was 4-0 going into the semi-finals and lost in a split decision by one point! However, overall, they finished 3rd place and have earned a bid to the National Competition in March in Baltimore. Team members include: Cate Maisonville, Caleb Hylkema, Andy Ackerman, Sylvia Wu, and Ryan Sweeney. The team is coached by Dr. David Antonini with assistance by Drs. Dan Wueste, Adam Gies, Stephen Satris and Kelly Smith. This win continues the team's long-standing tradition of competitive showings at the regional competition and bids to nationals. Good luck in March!


ethics bowl 2017

  • Congratulations to our Clemson Ethics Bowl TeamMarina Shew, Andy Ackerman, Caleb Hylkema, ChiChi Drayton-Smith, & Matthew Hagan! Led by coaches Adam Gies, Stephen Satris, and Kelly Smith, our team won third place at the recent Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl competition at the University of North Georgia. After going undefeated four rounds in a row, our team narrowly lost in the Semi-Final Round against the Wake Forest team, which prevailed in a 2-1 split-decision among the three judges. As a result of its excellent performance, the Clemson team earned a spot at the National Ethics Bowl Competition in Chicago.
  • Clemson philosopher Kelly Smith joins other experts from Clemson talking about the exciting new discovery of nearby Earth-sized planets in this new video here.


  • Congratulations to our Clemson Ethics Bowl Team: Marina ShewCarole Thomas, Alex Palka, Andy Ackerman, and Karen Kane! Led by coaches Stephen Satris, John Park, and Adam Gies, our team won Third place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl competition over the weekend. After going undefeated three rounds in a row, our team narrowly lost in the Semi-Final round, where they tied with the Wake Forest team on points but the Wake Forest team prevailed in a 2-1 split-decision among the judges. Along with three other high-placing regional teams, the Clemson team has earned a spot at the National Ethics Bowl Competition in Dallas and will compete there in late February 2017.
    ethics bowl team

  • Clemson University in collaboration with the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) co-organized a conference titled State, Society and Democracy in the Postcolony. The dates of the conference were 5th and 6th August 2016. The conference featured a wide array of papers delivered by local Pakistani as well as many international researchers. Dr. Partha Chatterjee, a full professor at Columbia University, USA served as the keynote speaker for the conference.

    The conference was so well received that it was covered in the media. See:


  • Religious Studies major Alexander Batson has been featured in a recent Clemson Newsstand story
  • Under the leadership of Mashal Saif, Clemson is now a member institution of the American Institute of Pakistani Studies, “a bi-national research and education organization with a mission to promote academic study of Pakistan in the US and to encourage scholarly exchange between the US and Pakistan.” Clemson is one of 35 universities contributing to the important work of the AIPS. We look forward to the ways in which Dr. Saif's work and the Clemson community at large will benefit from this partnership, which, on the American side, is organized out of the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

  • Elizabeth Jemison has been selected for the 2016 cohort of the Young Scholars in American Religion program, organized through the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at IUPUI. This highly selective program works with 10-12 pre-tenure faculty in American religions and through mentorship with senior scholars and multiple seminars in Indianapolis over the course of several years helps young faculty become even better teachers and more productive researchers while navigating the tenure-process.

  • We are pleased to announce that the Class of 1941 Memorial Professor Todd May has had his essay “The Weight of the Past” selected as a winner by the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy’s op-ed contest. You can find the essay here.


  • Congratulations to our majors attending law school this past fall: Jonathan Altstadter (Notre Dame), Nick Barry (Louisiana State), Ronnie Fields (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder), Doug Margison (Harvard), Michael Mattheiss (Harvard), and Brittany Pifer (Stanford). Congratulations also to John McCrary, who is attending Tufts to pursue an MA in Philosophy, and to Brad Saad, who just finished up an MA in philosophy at Brown and is headed to Univ. of Texas at Austin for his Ph.D.


  • Congratulations to Charlie Starkey! He has been awarded a grant to work on a book manuscript on the topic of character, emotion, and value. The grant is part of The Character Project - Philosophy of Character research grant competition. The Character Project is a multidisciplinary research initiative at Wake Forest University and is funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Dr. Starkey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and fellow of the Rutland Institute for Ethics. More information about The Character Project can be found here.




  • The Department recently completed its third annual whitewater rafting trip! Organized by Dr. Kelly Smith, 30 students, alumni, faculty, and friends of the department took on the mighty Chattooga River. Additional photos are on the department's official Facebook page here.

Past Events:

  • March 3, 2016 - Dan Wikler (Harvard) -- More information here

  • January 28, 2016 - Adam Cureton (University of Tennessee) -- More information here

  • September 24, 2015 - J. Aaron Simmons (Furman) -- More information here.

  • April 16, 2015 - Graham Priest (CUNY) -- More information here.  

  • February 6, 2015 - Susan Wolf & Douglas MacLean (UNC – Chapel Hill) -- More information here.

  • January 30, 2015 - Dan Haybron (St. Louis University) -- More information here.
  • On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, from 5:30-6:30 pm in Holtzendorff 100 the annual Nancy Hardesty Memorial Lecture in Religion was given by Dr. Maria Doerfler, Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity in Late Antiquity at the Duke University Divinity School and visiting research scholar at the NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Doerfler Headshot

Her talk was entitled "What is a Woman? Debating Nature, Gender, and Virginity at the Turn of the Third Century". A historian of exegesis, her research interests range from the Syriac East to the Latin West. Her particular focus lies with the deployment of texts and theirinterpretation in situations of personal or communal crisis. Her dissertation monograph, currently under review with a university press, seeks to address the interplay between philosophical, exegetical, and Roman legal discourses in monastic settings at the turn of the fifth century. Other recent publications include articles on the rhetorical construction of Judaism in Ambrose of Milan (Church History), North African approaches to ascetic exegesis (Journal of Early Christian Studies), Trinitarian developments in early Christian interpretations of Genesis 18 (Journal of Ecclesiastical History), and the death of children in Eastern Patristic literature (Le Muséon). During her time at ISAW, she will begin to lay the groundwork for her second book, a study of Christian responses to childhood and infant mortality in late antiquity. The monograph will orient itself around a set of commonly deployed passages from the Hebrew Scriptures and, to a lesser extent, the New Testament, by which Christians sought to lament, console the grieving, reason about death, and even indict God over the untimely passing of children.”

There is a Facebook event page for the talk here.

  • C.D.C. Reeve (UNC - Chapel Hill) gave a talk on Friday, September 26, 2014, at 3:30 p.m. in 118 Academic Success Center. The event was open and free to the public.

Title: "Replicant Love: Ridley Scott's Blade Runner Revisited"


This talk was part of Clemson's Road Scholars series. That series bring humanities professors from visiting football opponents to Clemson to present their current research, followed by a response from a Clemson professor. Chris Grau will be responding to Reeve's talk. This series is sponsored by the Clemson University School of the Humanities.

C. D. C. Reeve is Delta Kappa Epsilon Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He works primarily on Plato and Aristotle, but is interested in philosophy generally and has published on film and on the philosophy of sex and love. His books include Philosopher-Kings (PUP, 1988, reissued Hackett, 2006), Socrates in the Apology (Hackett, 1989), Practices of Reason (OUP, 1995), Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Hackett, 2003), Love’s Confusions (HUP, 2005), Action, Contemplation, and Happiness: An Essay on Aristotle (HUP, 2012), Blindness and Reorientation: Problems in Plato’s Republic (OUP, 2012), and Aristotle on Practical Wisdom (HUP, 2013). He has translated Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Cratylus and Republic (2005), as well as Aristotle’s Politics and Nicomachean Ethics.


  •  Iakovos Vasiliou (CUNY Graduate Center) gave a talk on Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. in 232 Hardin Hall. The event was open and free to the public.


Title: "Plato on Moral Motivation"

Vasiliou received his B.A. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He specializes in ancient philosophy, ethics, and moral epistemology. In addition to numerous articles, he is the author of Aiming at Virtue in Plato (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He is Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and also the Executive Officer of the Ph.D./M.A. Philosophy Program. Vasiliou has taught previously at Brooklyn College, Georgia State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University.


  • Amelie Rorty (Tufts University) gave a talk on Monday, April 14 at 5:30 p.m., 2014,  in Lee Hall 1-100. The event was open and free to the public. This talk was co-sponsored with the Rutland Institute of Ethics.

Title: "The Ethics of Collaborative Ambivalence"



Born in Belgium, educated at the University of Chicago and Yale, Amelie Rorty's interests in philosophy range widely. Most of her work has been in the history of moral and civic psychology: she is particularly fascinated by what might be called the dark side of the philosophy of mind: akrasia, self-deception, ambivalence, allegedly irrational emotions like jealousy, envy and fearing death. When in doubt, she tends to turn to Aristotle, Spinoza and Hume for illumination. Because she believes philosophy is essentially a participant sport, she likes to teach small discussion/workshop seminars on the usual suspect topics and authors, also occasionally offering courses in how to look at paintings, and on philosophic themes in literature. From time to time, she despairs of philosophy and turns to other fields: she's working on a degree in anthropology, hoping to do a dissertation on people who live in two moral worlds, exiles, immigrants, refugees whose work requires them to absorb a new and distinctive set of "moral" values. For now, she is working on a book, On the Other Hand: The Ethics of Ambivalence.


"We are all ambivalent at every turn. "Should I skip class on this gorgeous spring day?" "Do I really want to marry Eric?" Despite being uncomfortable and unsettling, there are some forms of ambivalence that are appropriate and responsible. Even when they seem trivial and superficial, they reveal some of our deepest values, the self-images we would like to project. I shall be exploring collaborative ambivalence, the kind of ambivalence that arises from our identity-forming close relationships. The sources and resolutions of collaborative ambivalence reveal how much of our thinking – and so also of our motivational structure – emerges from the details of our collaborative and dialogical engagements. The imaginative skills and strategies exercised in remaining justifiably of two minds – of preserving appropriate ambivalence—are central to practical reasoning. Because these skills provide models for addressing conflicts in the public sphere, because they prompt shared deliberation, they are among the civic virtues."


  • Bernard Harcourt (University of Chicago) gave a talk on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium. The event was open and free to the public.

Title: "Rereading George Orwell's 1984 in the Age of NSA Surveillance"



Bernard E. Harcourt is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Chicago and directeur d’études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. During 2013-14, he is the Stephen and BarHarcourt
bara Friedman Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University. He has studied and written about Occupy Wall Street and is the author, most recently, of Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience with Michael Taussig and W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago Press 2013). He is the editor of Michel Foucault’s 1972-73 lectures at the Collège de France, La Société punitive (Gallimard 2013), and the co-editor of the forthcoming Foucault lectures delivered at Louvain in 1981, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice (Chicago 2014). He is author of several books, including The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011), Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago Press 2007), which won the Gordon J. Laing Prize in 2009, Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy (University of Chicago Press 2005), and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing (Harvard University Press 2001). He is a former death row lawyer, having represented inmates sentenced to death in Alabama since 1990, and continues that work on a pro bono basis today. He also served on human rights missions to South African and Guatemala.


In the wake of the Snowden revelations, interest in George Orwell’s novel 1984 soared, leading to an exponential rise in sales. Less than a week after the first leaks were revealed by The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times reported that sales of Orwell’s book had increased by nearly 6,000%. Editorialists around the globe instantly drew the connection, and President Obama fueled the analogy, immediately referencing Orwell’s novel on 14 June 2013: “In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.” The renewed attention to 1984 has triggered a robust public debate as to whether the comparison is apt—whether Orwell’s dystopian vision accurately captures our political condition today, whether it exceeds or minimizes it, and whether it is a useful lens through which to analyze the present. This lecture will continue the conversation…

This talk was co-sponsored with the Calhoun Honors College.


  • John Protevi (Louisiana State University) will gave talk on Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 4:00 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Title: "Darwin, Disasters, War and Prosociality"


John Protevi is Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Political Affect, University of Minnesota Press, 2006 and editor of A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy, Yale University Press, 2006 (which was selected as a 2007 AAUP University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.) His most recent book is Life, War, Earth: Deleuze and the Sciences, University of Minnesota Press, 2013.


The talk focused on “Disaster politics”; the biology and evolution of prosocial behaviors and emotions; and claims about the origin and use of “in-group face-to-face altruism.”

This talk was sponsored with the Rutland Institute of Ethics and the Department of Philosophy and Religion. It was part of the Rutland Institute's 2013-2014 Presidential Colloquium: Vulnerability and Responsibility.


  • Stephen Nathanson (Northeastern University, Boston) gave a talk on Monday, January 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm in Hardin 232. The event was open and free to the public.

Title: "Political Polarization and the Markets vs. Government Debate"



Stephen Nathanson is Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B. A. with Honors in Philosophy from Swarthmore College, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Professor Nathanson's most recent book is Terrorism and the Ethics of War (2010). In addition, he is the author of Patriotism, Morality and Peace (1993); Economic Justice (1998); An Eye for an Eye? The Immorality of Punishing by Death (2nd ed., 2001); Should We Consent to be Governed? (2nd ed., 2001), and numerous articles on issues in ethics and political philosophy.


"One of the most divisive questions in U. S. politics concerns the roles of governments and markets and their relation to each other. What functions should be carried out by government and what should be left to the workings of a “free market” economy? In this talk, I suggest that the markets vs. government debate is especially polarizing because it assumes that we face a stark choice between two, extremely different systems, capitalism and socialism. In fact, our current system in the U.S. is neither capitalism nor socialism but instead is a welfare state. In addition, there are many different forms of capitalism, socialism, and the welfare state. I will describe some of these systems and consider some of the reasons for supporting or rejecting different types of systems."

This talk was co-sponsored with the Rutland Institute of Ethics.


  • Adam Hosein (University of Colorado, Boulder) gave a talk on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 5-6pm in Hardin 235. The event was open and free to the public.



Adam Hosein is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Before coming to CU, he was a fellow in Law and Philosophy at the University of Chicago Law School. He holds a BA from Merton College, Oxford and a PhD from MIT. Adam works mainly in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law. Some topics he has recently published on include distributive justice, immigration, campaign finance, and the ethics of harming.


The United States has a large population of 'unauthorized' migrants, usually estimated at around 10-12 million, who entered the country in contravention of its immigration laws. In recent years there have been many controversies about the treatment of unauthorized migrants. In this paper I consider perhaps the most controversial step: allowing them to transfer to “legal” status, which would allow them to live and work legally in the United States. I will criticize the most popular existing defense of legalization, which focusses on an immigrant's becoming a member of the community, and offer a new argument for legalization, which focusses on the importance of securing freedom for unauthorized migrants. I will focus on the U.S. as a case study, but my findings will be applicable to the many other liberal democracies, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, with significant populations of unauthorized migrants.
A Facebook page for the event can be found here.

The talk was hosted by the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson.


  • Anna Stilz (Princeton University) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Thursday, September 26, at 5pm in Hardin 232.


Title: "Occupancy Rights and Corrective Justice."


Most of us think that territorial removals—such as the expulsions of Germans and Poles following World War II, or the removals of tribal peoples in the Americas, Australia, and South Africa—are wrong because the people who live in a place have a very weighty right to be where they are. But what gives people the right to occupy a particular geographical space? I develop a plan-based account of occupancy that connects it to our interest in pursuing situated goals, relationships, and projects fundamental to the structure of our lives—what I call our located life-plans. I then consider the appropriate remedies for violation of occupancy rights. Are there duties of repatriation on the part of wrongful settlers, and rights of return on the part of expelled victims? I argue that the occupancy theory grounds a presumption in favor of repatriation and return in first-generation cases of wrongful settlement, though this presumption can sometimes be weakened by countervailing factors. I also claim that we can extend additional remedies beyond first generation cases, in situations where victims’ descendants are still suffering for the lack of a suitable territory of permanent residence. I hold that victims’ descendants continue to be harmed in these cases, and that settler states—and sometimes individual settlers who benefited from the wrong—may have persisting duties of repair.

About the Speaker:

Anna Stilz is Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University. Her research focuses on questions of political membership, authority and political obligation, nationalism and self-determination, rights to land and territory, and collective agency. She also has a strong interest in early modern political thought (particularly 17th and 18th centuries). Her first book, Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State (Princeton University Press, 2009), focused on questions of state authority and citizenship, examining the question of whether we have different, and perhaps more stringent, moral duties to our fellow-citizens than we do to people in foreign countries. She has also published articles in Ethics, History of European Ideas, International Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Policy and Society, and Philosophy & Public Affairs. She is currently working on a new book on self-determination and states' rights to control land and territory. She is interested in related questions concerning the status of indigenous peoples, historic injustice, colonialism, and theories of property. She has a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University (2005) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1999).

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.

The talk was hosted by the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson. The event is open and free to the public.


  • Kit Wellman (Washington University, Saint-Louis) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Thursday, September 5, 2012, at 5pm at the Strom Thurmond Institute.

Title: "Procedural Rights"



In this essay, I argue that, absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for the human right to due process.

About the Speaker:

Christopher Heath Wellman is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He works in ethics, specializing in political and legal philosophy. His most recent books are Liberal Rights and Responsibilities and (with Phillip Cole) Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude? He is currently completing a book on criminal law.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here. This talk was co-sponsored by the Rutland Institute for Ethics.


  • L.A. Paul (UNC - Chapel Hill) gave a talk on Thursday, April 18 at 5:00 pm in Hardin 101.

Title: "What Mary can't expect when she's expecting"



It seems natural to decide to have a child by consulting your preferences about what it would be like for you to have a child of your very own. However, I will argue that making the decision based on such preferences is not rational. This raises general questions about our ordinary conception of how to make major, life-changing decisions. The problem arises because the decision to have a child involves a special kind of choice, a transformative choice. I shall argue that, under a certain ordinary conception of what to consider when making such a decision, standard decision theoretic models cannot apply, because we are unable to assign values to the phenomenal outcomes of the choice. This is important, since, as we plan our futures and attempt to become the kind of person we think we want to be, many of the most important decisions we make involve life-changing, transformative choices.


L.A. Paul is Professor of Philosophy at UNC Chapel Hill. Her main research interests are in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, especially temporal phenomenology, time, perception, the ontology of mental states, the philosophy of cognitive science, mereology, causation, constitution, and essence. She works on related topics in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language. Her publications include: "Aspect Causation," Journal of Philosophy (2000), "Logical Parts," Noûs (2002), "The Context of Essence," Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2004), "Coincidence as Overlap," Noûs (2006), "In Defense of Essentialism," Philosophical Perspectives (2006), "Constitutive Overdetermination," Topics in Contemporary Philosophy IV (2007), "Temporal Experience," Journal of Philosophy (2010). She is the co-editor of Causation and Counterfactuals (2004), with Collins and Hall, and Causation: A User's Guide, with Ned Hall.

Paul's paper has received considerable media attention. You can read more about her argument here, here, and here.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Tyler Burge (UCLA) gave a talk as part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar program on Wed. April 10, 2013, 5:30-7:00 in the Self Auditorium (Strom Thurmond Institute).

Title: "Perception: Origins of Mind"



“I sketch two notions of representation. One applies to states of plants and bacteria as well as to psychological states. The other applies exclusively to distinctively psychological states. I hold that the latter type of representation marks one of the two primary marks of the mental. (The other mark is consciousness.) I argue that representation in a distinctively psychological sense emerges first in perception. I sketch some primary features of perception, with special reference to findings of the science of perceptual psychology. I maintain that empirical work indicates that perception, hence representational mind, first emerges in relatively simple animals–arthropods.”

About the Speaker:

Tyler Burge is professor of philosophy at UCLA, where he has taught since 1971. He is the author of numerous articles in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, epistemology, philosophy of language and logic, and history of philosophy, and his most recent book is Origins of Objectivity. He has published the first two of several projected volumes of essays: Truth, Thought, Reason and Foundations of Mind. Two books of essays on his work, with replies, are Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge and Meaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and Mind. 
He is a former president of the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as of the British Academy, and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the Institut International de Philosophie. He has given the Locke Lectures at Oxford, the Dewey Lectures at Columbia, and the Nicod Lectures in Paris.

About the lecture series:

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available each year a dozen or so distinguished scholars who will visit colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. They spend two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions, and giving a public lecture open to the entire academic community. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. Now entering its 57th year, the Visiting Scholar Program has sent 600 Scholars on 4,917 two-day visits since it was established in 1956.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.

This talk was co-sponsored by Phi Beta Kapp and the Department of Philosophy & Religion.


  • David Schweickart (Loyola University) gave a talk organized by the student Philosophical Society on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 pm in 120 Brackett.

Title:"Economic Crises/Environmental Crises: Causes, Deep Causes, Solutions"



He will argue that we are in the midst of two distinct kinds of crisis, both related fundamentally to the deep structures of the current capitalist economic order, neither resolvable without going beyond capitalism itself. (Simple reforms won’t do.) He will then propose an alternative to capitalism which would be as economically viable as capitalism, vastly more democratic than capitalism, not vulnerable to the economic crises we now face and structurally compatible with ecological sustainability. The “solution” to these crises will require going beyond capitalism to something like Economic Democracy.

About the Speaker:

David Schweickart is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics (University of Virginia), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Ohio State University). Dr. Schweickart's primary areas of research are social and political philosophy, philosophy and economics, and marxism. He also has major interests in feminist theory, existentialism, critical theory, and race and racism. Schweickart's research includes a large project on Third World poverty, determining what sort of economic structure a poor country should put in place in order to optimize genuine development over time for all its citizens, when not constrained by local elites or international interference. Over the years Dr. Schweickart has served as faculty advisor of Loyola's Amnesty International chapter, and the Loyola Organization in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, and co-chaired the Committee on the Racial Climate at Loyola. He is an active member and program organizer for the Conference of North American and Cuban Philosophers and Social Scientists, held annually in Havana, as well as for the Radical Philosophy Association.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Rutland Institute for Ethics.


  • Jules Lobel (University of Pittsburgh) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Friday, February 22, 2013, 2:30-3:30pm at 100 Hardin Hall. This talk was co-sponsored by the Rutland Institute for Ethics as part of its Presidential Colloquium.

Title:"Solitary Confinement in American Prisons: Legal and Moral Dilemmas"



Professor Lobel's talk will explore the use of solitary confinement in American prisons including California, trace the history of its use, and raise questions of how we define "cruel and unusual" punishment prohibited by the Constitution. Is solitary confinement cruel for constitutional and moral purposes only if it can be shown that the prisoner is seriously mentally ill, as one prominent judge found? What makes a practice cruel - should it require a showing of mental harm, or proof of the intent of the jailor? What are "unusual" practices - are practices that we might recognize as cruel but are nonetheless widespread, be held unconstitutional? Should our society accept prolonged solitary confinement as a means to make prisons less violent?

About the Speaker:

Professor Jules Lobel is the Bessie McKee Wathour Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human and constitutional rights organization based in New York. He has written about and litigated cases involving the use of solitary confinement, including arguing in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of prisoners placed in solitary at the Ohio Supermax prison. He is currently the Center's lead attorney in Ruiz v. Brown, a class action lawsuit of 1000 prisoners in California's Pelican Bay State Penitentiary who are in a draconian form of solitary confinement in small, windowless cells 23 hours a day. About 500 of these prisoners have languished in solitary for over 10 years and almost 100 for more than 20 years.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Chris J. Cuomo (University of Georgia) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Thursday, January 31, 2013 (4:30-5:30 in 232 Hardin Hall).

Title:"Consciousness and Moral Action: Considering Climate Change"



It is often taken as given that general publics must be "convinced" that global warming and climate change are real, or really caused by pollution and deforestation, before relevant political and corporate decision-makers will carry out necessary and sufficient greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. I agree that all general publics should be educated about the causes and impacts of climate change, and that various government and independent agencies should take on the challenge of nurturing greater general environmental understanding and awareness. However, I suggest that the primary agenda of such projects should be not to convince, but rather to cultivate emotional intelligence about the realities of our embeddedness in various systems of energy, exploitation, and innovation. I recommend a tentative re-reading of concepts such as virtue, affection and sacrifice to frame discussions of collective responsibilities and the pressing need for decisive action on the part of powerful corporate actors.

About the Speaker:

Chris J. Cuomo is Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, and an affiliate faculty member of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program and the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Georgia. The author and editor of many articles and several books in feminist, postcolonial, and environmental philosophy, Cuomo earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book, The Philosopher Queen, a reflection on post-9/11 anti-war feminist politics, was nominated for a Lambda Award and an APA book award, and her work in ecofeminist philosophy and creative interdisciplinary practice has been influential among those seeking to bring together social justice and environmental concerns, as well as theory and practice. She has been a recipient of research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Ms. Foundation, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ideas for Creative Exploration at UGA, and she has been a visiting faculty member at Cornell University, Amherst College, and Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Kimberley Brownlee (University of Warwick (UK)) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 5-6pm in 235 Hardin Hall.

Title:"Many Refusals in Healthcare are Not Conscientious, and It Does Not Matter"



This paper shows that neither objective integrity nor subjective moral conviction can delimit the refusals by healthcare professionals that we should be willing in principle to accommodate. The paper outlines reasons to care about healthcare professionals’ subjective sense of wellbeing irrespective of their integrity or their convictions, because disregard for that subjective sense of wellbeing poses serious risks for professionals, their patients, and the healthcare culture to which they contribute. These risks include psychological risks for the professional including perceived self-alienation and akrasia. They include risks for her patients of poor service and sabotage. And, they include risks for the healthcare culture of eroding professionalism. This paper advocates a broad principle of accommodation that is sensitive to the costs and benefits of accommodating refusals of performance in healthcare.

About the Speaker:

Kimberley Brownlee is an Associate Professor in Legal and Moral Philosophy. Before joining the University of Warwick in 2012, she was a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. She holds a BA in Philosophy (McGill), MPhil in Philosophy (Cambridge), and DPhil in Philosophy (Oxford; Rhodes Scholar). She has held a Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Research Fellowship, Philosophy Department, Vanderbilt University; an HLA Hart Visiting Research Fellowship, University College, Oxford; and a Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Visiting Fellowship, Philosophy Department, St Andrews University.

Kimberley's work focuses on practical reason theory, ideals and virtue, human rights, conscience and conscientious disobedience, philosophy of punishment, and restorative justice. Kimberley's book Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience, just came out from Oxford University Press. Arguing for the moral and legal defensibility of conscientious disobedience, and particularly civil disobedience, this book first examines the morality of conscience and conscientiousness and then the legality of conscientious breach of law.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" series on Friday, October 26, 2012, 5-6 pm at 235 Hardin Hall.

Title:"A Just Law of Marriage: Contractual or Caring?"



Political liberalism requires that states not justify law or policy by appealing to contested conceptions of the good, such as comprehensive religious or moral views. Recently, some philosophers have argued that political liberalism entails recognizing same-sex marriage; others have argued that it requires contractualizing marriage, in essence relegating civil marriage to private contract. I argue, instead, that it implies that the state has reason to provide legal frameworks needed to support and maintain caring relationships, but that the state has no legitimate interest in whether or not such relationships are sexual, romantic, same-sex, or dyadic. Thus, the state ought to provide legal rights supporting a diverse range of caring relationships; I call this 'minimal marriage'.

Elizabeth Brake was educated at The Universities of Oxford (B.A.) and St. Andrews (M. Litt., PhD). From 2000-2011, she taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary, Canada; in 2007-2008 she held a Fellowship at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs, Murphy Institute, Tulane University. She has written on political liberalism, Kant's and Hegel's ethical thought, parental rights and responsibilities, and marriage. Her recent book on marriage in moral and political philosophy, Minimizing Marriage, is published by Oxford University Press.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Troy Jollimore (Cal State – Chico) gave a talk as part of Rutland's Presidential Colloquium on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 6:00-7:30 pm at the Strom Thurmond Institute.

Title: "Educating the Imagination"


Troy Jollimore is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Chico. His most recent collection of poetry is At Lake Scugog (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, 2011). His first collection, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Washington Post, Exile Quarterly, and elsewhere.

He was named the Outstanding Professor at CSU Chico for 2009-2010, and was a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center in 2006/07 and at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 2012. His philosophical monographs include On Loyalty (Routledge, 2012), and Love's Vision (Princeton, 2011). The latter was recently positively reviewed in Ethics and described as "delightfully written and philosophically ambitious." He has also authored or co-authored several essays on philosophy and film, which have appeared in books including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Philosophers on Film (Routledge), The Big Lebowski and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell), and Bioethics at the Movies (Johns Hopkins University Press).

This talk was sponsored by the Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics, the Department of Philosophy & Religion, and the Pearce Center for Professional Communication.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.

Troy Jollimore also gave a poetry reading that Thursday. Information about that event can be found here.


  • The Nancy Hardesty Memorial Lecture was given by Julie Ingersoll (Associate Professor of Religion at the University of North Florida) on Thursday, October 18th, from 5:00-6:00 pm in 100 Hardin Hall.

Title: "How Nancy Hardesty Helped Make a Generation of Women ‘All We Were Meant to Be'"

Julie Ingersoll received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Florida where she teaches and writes about evangelicalism, fundamentalism and the religious right. She is the author of two books Evangelical Christian Women: War Stories In The Gender Battles (NYUP, 2003) and Baptists and Methodists in America (Facts on File, 2003) as well as many articles. She blogs for Religion Dispatches and currently has a book under contract with Oxford University Press on Christian Reconstruction.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Jean-Cassien Billier (University of Paris-IV Sorbonne) gave a talk as part of the "Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought" on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 5:30-6:30 pm at 235 Hardin Hall.

Title: "Democracy and Judicial Review in France"


About the Speaker:

Jean-Cassien Billier is Professor at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, and also teaches at the University of Paris II and Sciences-Po Paris. He specializes in philosophy of law, ethics, meta-ethics, and applied ethics. He is the Director of the European Institute of Public Ethics (IEEP), which is part of the International Center of Applied Political Philosophy. He is also chief editor of the column "Penser l'Ethique" in the journal Raison Publique.


"The sovereignty of the legislative power has been a basic tenet of French democracy since the Revolution. But since 2010, the Constitution has been the stage of a "new French Revolution": the legal system now confers greater importance to the Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees, and gives new authority to the Constitutional Council to exercise judicial review. As a result of this “revolution,” any person involved in legal proceedings before a court has a right to argue that a statutory provision infringes on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus the Constitutional Council is becoming a kind of French Supreme Court. I will argue that far from obstructing the general will, constitutional judges actually legitimize it.

This was the inaugural talk of Clemson's Law, Liberty, and Justice lecture series. The series is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion and organized by Assistant Professor of Philosophy Candice Delmas."

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • John Martin Fischer (University of California – Riverside) gave a talk on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm in Lee Hall Auditorium.

Title: "Immortality"

About the Speaker:

Professor Fischer's main research interests lie in free will, moral responsibility, and both metaphysical and ethical issues pertaining to life and death. He is the author of The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control; with Mark Ravizza, Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility; and My Way: Essays on Moral Responsibility. His recent work includes a contribution to Four Views on Free Will (in Blackwell’s Great Debates in Philosophy series) and his latest collection of essays (Our Stories: Essays on Life, Death, and Free Will) is now out with Oxford University Press.


"Since the inception of philosophy, we have been interested in questions about death and immortality. In this "overview" paper, I will begin by distinguishing various different notions of immortality. I will then present three challenges to the idea that any kind of immortality could be appealing to us. These challenges come in part from a classic article by Bernard Williams, but they are also raised by various other philosophers. In this discussion I will focus primarily on a certain salient kind of immortality; antecedently, this sort of immortality would seem to be most promising candidate to present itself as choice-worthy (were it feasible) or at least appealing to human beings. I shall then sketch various ways of responding to the challenges. I shall defend the contention that certain kinds of immortality could be appealing to human beings; that is, I shall argue against the view of the Immortality Curmudgeons that immortality (in any of its forms) is necessarily not of any positive value (or in any way appealing) to human beings."

Dr. Todd May provided a commentary on Dr. Fischer's talk.

This event was sponsored by the Rutland Institute for Ethics and the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Chair, Department of Religious Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill) gave a talk on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm in Vickery Hall Auditorium; Room 100.

Title: "Fetish Views: African American Missionary Politics and Aesthetics in a Colonial Age"


About the Speaker:

Dr. Maffly-Kipp, who specializes in African American religions, is the author of the recent Harvard University Press book Setting Down the Sacred Past: African American Race Histories. In addition to her leadership of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-CH, she serves as the Associate Director of the Faculty Fellows program for the UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities and sits on a variety of editorial boards dealing with religion in the South.

This event was cosponsored by Clemson's Pan-African Studies Program.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Mark Lance (Georgetown University) gave a talk on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm in Hardin 201.

Title: “Leave the Gun; Take the Cannoli: The Pragmatic Topography of Second-Personal Address”

About the Speaker:

Mark Lance is currently a Professor in both the philosophy department and the program on justice and peace, which he co-founded. Professor Lance works mostly in the areas of philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology, and philosophical logic, but writes as well on pragmatism, feminism, meta-ethics, the foundations of mathematics, anarchist theory and applied issues of social justice activism. He has published over 30 articles and two books, most recently 'Yo!' and 'Lo!': The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons (with Rebecca Kukla), Harvard University Press 2009. He is currently writing a book on anarchism and rational community, continuing his project in normative pragmatics with Rebecca Kukla, working on a project on foundations of mathematics with K. Joseph Mourad, and writing a series of papers on the nature of normativity. Outside of philosophy, Prof. Lance is an activist, organizer, and popular educator on issues of social justice and revolutionary nonviolence as well as a contributor to

Abstract from “Leave the Gun; Take the Cannoli: The Pragmatic Topography of Second-Personal Address”:

The pragmatic texture of second-person addresses such as asking, offering, ordering, inviting, and entreating is rich and complex. None of these speech acts are interchangeable; all are appropriate in some contexts and inappropriate in others; and all can be enabled or precluded by specific relations of power and authority. We offer a close reading of three types of calls: imperatives, requests, and entreaties. We demonstrate that each has a different pragmatic structure and plays a different role in our moral and social life. Our primary goal is to display the rich pragmatic variety of second-person addresses, along with the complex way in which they have the potential to institute and reorganize moral and social space.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Jeff McMahan (Rutgers University) gave a talk on Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm in McKissick Theater.

Title: "What Rights may be Defended by Means of War?"

About the Speaker:

Jeff McMahan took his first degree at the University of Oxford and his PhD at the University of Cambridge, and is currently professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. He has written extensively on normative and applied ethics. His publications include The Morality of Nationalism (co-edited with Robert McKim; Oxford, 1997), The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford, 2002) and Killing in War (Oxford, 2009), which deals with Just War theory and argues against the deeply held beliefs within the theory.

Abstract of "What Rights may be Defended by Means of War?":

Wrongful aggressors often claim to love peace, and there is a sense in which that is true, for they would prefer to get what they want without having to fight a war. Many of the aims that motivate unjust wars could be achieved without violence: for example, control of another state’s natural resources, such as oil, limited political control over the other state, the annexation of a bit of its territory, and so on. In such cases, war and killing become necessary for aggressors only if they meet with military resistance. Most people believe that in domestic society it is not permissible to kill a thief merely to defend one’s property. So how can it be permissible to kill a large number of soldiers just to defend collective property such as territory and resources – particularly when most of those soldiers act under duress imposed by those they regard as legitimate authorities? I will consider whether defensive war can be morally justified in such cases of lesser aggression.

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.


  • Holmes Rolston III (Colorado State University, Emeritus) gave a talk on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM in the Self Auditorium at the Strom Thurmond Institute.

Title: "Environmental Ethics: Challenge and Resilience in the New Millennium"

About the Speaker:

Holmes Rolston III grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, with light from kerosene lanterns and water from a well, and spent his summers “prowling the woods and swamps” of Alabama where relatives lived. A 1953 graduate of Davidson College, he went on to earn advanced degrees from Union Theological Seminary, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Pittsburgh. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1956 and spent almost 10 years as a pastor in southwestern Virginia where, in his spare time, he began to study biology and geology at nearby East Tennessee State University. He eventually joined the faculty of Colorado State University, where he became University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.

He is the author or editor of eight books, two of which, Philosophy Gone Wild (1986) and Environmental Ethics (1988), are credited by many with virtually creating the field of environmental ethics. His most recent book, The Three Big Bangs: Matter-Energy, Life, Mind, is scheduled for release November 1 by Columbia University Press. He is a founder and the associate editor of Environmental Ethics, a refereed professional journal, and serves on the editorial board of a number of academic publications.

He is a recipient of the Templeton Prize in Religion (2003), the Mendel Medal (2005), and an honorary degree from Davidson. He was an official observer at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at universities throughout the United States and abroad. Two books have been published on his thought: Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston III, by C.J. Preston (2009), and Nature, Value, Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston III, edited by C.J. Preston and W. Ouderkirk (2007). Rolston is married to the former Jane Irving Wilson, with whom he has a daughter and a son.

A Facebook event page for the talk can be found here.


  • Sarah Wright (University of Georgia) gave a talk on Friday, September 24, 2010 at 3:30 PM in Hardin 232.

Title: "The Telos and the Skopos of the Intellectually Virtuous"

About the Speaker:

Sarah Wright is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, and her main area of research is epistemology. She has recent and forthcoming publications from several leading journals, e.g. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, and Metaphilosophy.

Abstract of "The Telos and the Skopos of the Intellectually Virtuous":

Intellectual virtues are those character traits of a person that aim at truth. But how do the intellectual virtues aim at truth? Many have argued that a character trait must reliably get us the truth in order to count as an intellectual virtue. I argue against this position; we may be good intellectual agents even if we can’t reliably reach the truth. I use a distinction from the Stoics between the skopos (target) and the telos (goal) of a virtue. In the moral case, we can be generous even if our gifts are misused. We can obtain the telos of a virtue (being generous) without achieving the skopos (helping particular people). So possession of moral virtues doesn't require that we reliably obtain the skopos of that virtue. This same distinction can be applied to the intellectual virtues. Although our target (skopos) may be to achieve truth each time we use an intellectual virtue like epistemic courage, we might still achieve the telos of epistemic courage even if we don’t reliably achieve true beliefs. This explains how we can be intellectually virtuous even when we are deceived. This approach has the further benefit that our intellectual virtues are stable, like out moral virtues, since they can’t be taken away from us by deceit.

A Facebook event page for the talk can be found here.


  • Jesse Prinz (UNC Chapel Hill) gave a talk on Nov. 21st, 2008, at 3:30 PM in Hardin 228.

Title: "An Empirical Defense of Moral Relativism"

About the Speaker:

Jesse Prinz is currently the John J. Rogers Distinguished Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In the spring he will be returning to his hometown of New York City as Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Jesse has research interests in cognitive science, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of language, moral psychology, and aesthetics. His first three books are: Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis (MIT: 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (OUP: 2004), and The Emotional Construction of Morals (OUP: 2007). He also has two forthcoming titles: Beyond Human Nature (London: Penguin; New York: Norton) and The Conscious Brain (Oxford). He has published numerous articles on concepts, emotions, morals, consciousness, and other topics.

Abstract of "An Empirical Defense of Moral Relativism":

We've all met people whose moral or political values seem to differ from our own. Conservatives view liberals with horrified disbelief and conversely. And moral differences are even more dramatic when we consult the anthropological record. But the mere fact that people disagree doesn't mean that there is no fact about who is right. The argument from moral disagreement to moral relativism depends on the fundamental nature of morality. I argue that empirical research on morality supports relativism, and threatens the view that there is a single true morality. I also address a number of objections that purport to show that relativism is false or dangerous doctrine.