Claire Katz Keynote Address 10.28.2011

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Who: Dr. Claire Katz; Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Texas A&M.

When: Friday October 28, 2011 @ 5:30pm

Where: EESAT 110

What: UNT PST 11 Keynote Address: “”… an innate repugnance to see a fellow creature suffer”: Self-Sufficiency and Ethical Subjectivity in Rousseau and Levinas”

Keynote Description: “How does someone develop ethically?” This question occupies the 18th century philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in several of his writings. In his Second Discourse (1755), Rousseau offers two principles of human nature as a counter to Hobbes’ claim that we have only the innate sense of self-preservation. If that were the case, Rousseau concludes, we would be monsters. But we are not. He offers then a second principle, which is “an innate repugnance to see his fellow suffer.” But having an innate repugnance to see my fellow suffer will not alone keep me from being a monster in a different sense. In this essay, and later in his Social Contract (1762) and in Emile (1762) Rousseau expresses his concerns with the development of an intellect that is not anchored by a good character. Emile offers an attempt at an educational project based on self-sufficiency that will mitigate those concerns. Yet, it seems clear even to Rousseau he fails in this endeavor.

Two hundred years later and responding to the horrors of Nazi Germany, Emmanuel Levinas shares Rousseau’s suspicions of the political community. However Levina’ss philosophical essays collected in Humanism of the Other (1967-1971) and his writings on Jewish education, collected in Difficult Freedom, respond to the mythology of self-sufficiency that characterize Rousseau’s political philosophy and much of the modern Enlightenment project. In short, “self–sufficiency,” and the educational models this produced sum up everything that Levinas believed went wrong with modernity. Levinas’s ethical project exchanges self-sufficiency for dependence, vulnerability, and turning toward the suffering of the other—the new traits of ethical subjectivity—and his educational model describes how we might cultivate this subject.


Women in Philosophy Panel (April 29)

Co-Sponsored by Phi Sigma Tau [Texas XI] and the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at UNT, we are proud to host a panel which will discuss Women in Philosophy. Several panelists drawn from the student and faculty communities will begin the panel by sharing their thoughts and experiences within the discipline.  Topics will include:

  • To what extent is sexism still at work in the academy and in the classroom?
  • Are the current models for evaluating performance oppressive towards women?
  • Is institutionalized philosophy antagonistic towards women?

The panel is scheduled for 3:00pm, Friday April 29, 2011 in EESAT 115.

Download the Flyer – UNTPST – Women in Phil Panel

UNT PST Announces Student Philosophy Symposium

Download the Call for Participation: PST CFP 2010

The Texas Xi Chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society in Philosophy, in partnership with the Philosophy and Religion Studies Department at the University of North Texas, is pleased to announce our 1st Annual Student Philosophy Symposium on November 12th and 13, 2010.

Papers are now being reviewed for graduate and undergraduate presentations. We welcome papers from all areas in philosophy and philosophical thought. Please find the CFP flyer attached; feel free to post and distribute the information for all interested parties.

Submissions should be no more than 3500 words (approx. 10-12 pages), and authors should be prepared for presentations twenty minutes in length. Papers should be submitted in a Word format (.doc or .docx) with a document title the same as the paper title, and should also be prepared for a blind review. Authors should include a cover sheet with their full name(s), paper title, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and phone number.

Submissions should be sent to with an accompanying abstract of 100-200 words.

The electronic submission deadline is September 1, 2010.

Notification of acceptance will be sent out by October 1, 2010.The conference schedule will be finalized by October 15, 2010.

Please send any additional questions about the conference or submissions to Matt Story, President, at or Jennifer Rowland, Vice-President, at