Reading Groups

The Department has a number of ongoing reading groups in which both faculty and grad students participate. The reading groups typically center around topics that overlap with members' research interests. Below you'll find a description for the current and recent active groups.

Current Reading Groups

Virtue and Reason

Spring 2017: This reading group surveys themes in ethics and philosophy of action rooted in some of John McDowell's seminal papers. We will start by reading "Virtue and Reason" and proceed with readings from Boyle, Foot, Aristotle, Murdoch, Anscombe,Thompson, and others. For more information, contact Francesco Pesci or Nicolás García Mills.

Explanation Reading Group

Spring 2017: This reading group is survey of topics regarding the nature of explanation. Topics to be discussed include the roles identity and reducibility play in explanation, the similarities and differences between scientific explanation and mathematical explanation, the form an explanation should take, and much more. We will start with Wesley Salmon's Four Decades of Scientific Explanation. For more information, contact Areins Pelayo.

Kant's Ethics

Spring 2017: We will read Stephen Engstrom's Form of Practical Knowledge. Along the way, we'll read selections from Kant's Critique of Practical Reason and Metaphysics of Morals. For more information, contact Kyoungmin Cho.

RECENT Reading groups


Fall 2016: graduate students, Emily Lacy and William D'Alessandro led a reading group on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Philosophy of Art

Spring 2016: reading group will discuss Alva Noe's new book Strange Tools. The first meeting is Thursday (2/25) at 1pm. Please contact the organizer, Nick Curry, for updates.

Constructing the world

Spring 2016: Profs. Hilbert and Almotahari organize weekly meetings to read David Chalmer's recent book, Constructing the World.

Normativity of Logic

Spring and Summer 2016: Graduate students, Reza Hadisi and Nader Shoaibi organize weekly meetings on papers that deal with the question of normativity of logic. Readings include papers by Gilbert Harman, John MacFarlane, Matt Boyle, Clinton Tolley, Hartry Field, and others.

Semantic Relativism

In Fall 2013, profs. Aidan Gray and Mahrad Almotahari organized bi-weekly meetings to explore the motivations for, and applications of, relativism in the philosophy of language. The group also investigated broader issues about the relation between the meaning of a sentence and the nature of assertion. Readings included, David Lewis, 'Index, Context, and Content', John MacFarlane, 'Making Sense of Relative Truth', John MacFarlane, 'Relativism and Disagreement', John MacFarlane, 'Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths', Peter Lasersohn, 'Context-Dependence, Disagreement, and Predicates of Personal Taste'.

Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Sciences

In Spring 2014, prof. Daniel Sutherland organized a group, working through Michael Friedman's new book, Kant's Construction of Nature, the central topic of which is Kant's essay, Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science.  In the past, the group has looked at Kant's understanding of causation and natural laws.