Archive for the ‘Boulder’ Category


RoME is Finally Over

August 11, 2010

It was, as usual, a smashing success. Check out pictures here. As a counterpoint to the Opinionator blog at the NY Times, I think you’ll see that while we do have our fair share of ugly, we also have our fair share of decently-well put together.

RoME IV will be coming up soon — August 4-7, 2011 — and the CFP will be distributed soon. Abstracts are due on Feb 1, 2011.


Morris Judd

August 5, 2010

This article was forwarded to me by a friend. It’s about McCarthyism at CU Boulder in the 1950s. Pretty fascinating stuff, particularly since it involves the philosophy department.

“In 1952, the university of Colorado fired Morris Judd, an instructor in the Department of Philosophy, for failing to answer President Robert Stearns’s question, “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”  Seeking to pacify a public alarmed by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s charge that communist professors were subverting American universities, CU disregarded the lessons of the 1920s, when the KKK had attempted to rid the university of Catholics, Blacks, and Jews, and initiated a purge of students, staff, and faculty….”

Fair enough. Pretty interesting lede, actually. Now this:

“To this day at the University of Colorado, the curriculum, particularly in philosophy, can be read as the triumph of the Stearns gang.  Analytic philosophy holds center stage, no doubt because of its value-neutral stance, having displaced courses in social and political theory.  Faculty scholarship has changed as well.  In virtually every discipline, explicit argumentation has given way to “thick” description and “new” narrative, overt to covert (or unconscious) agendas.  The baneful effects of this change are especially apparent in my own specialties, English and composition:  students are now trained to feel rather than to think.  The obligation to defend a thesis is foreign to them.  It is my contention that their intellectual irresponsibility is both cause and effect of political irresponsibility, and that worse is to come unless our professors and pastors and politicos remember how to nail their own theses on authority’s door.”

Say what? Analytic philosophy does hold center stage, but it’s not clear that it’s because of its value-neutral stance. For instance, we play host to one of the largest annual conferences in ethics, broadly conceived, which is generally speaking not value-neutral. That’s happening today and through the rest of the weekend.

We also have a fair bit of social and political theory going on, though perhaps not of the sort that relies heavily on Marx.

Finally, explicit argumentation hasn’t actually given way to “thick” description and “new” narrative in philosophy. Check out our paper abstracts for RoME. Not a lot of description in those papers. Pretty bare-bones argumentation.


Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress

August 3, 2010

The third annual Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (RoME), which I co-organize, starts on Thursday. It’s mostly a philosophy conference, but there are a few papers that may be of interest to readers of this blog. For more information, check it out here:

Papers that may interest folks are:

  1. Chrisoula Andreou (Utah): “Self-Defeating Self-Governance”; Comments: Hannah Love (Pacific Lutheran)
  2. Paul Baer (Georgia Tech): “Balancing Responsibility and Capacity in the Allocation of Climate Obligations”; Comments: Kelly Heuer (Georgetown)
  3. Mylan Engel (Northern Illinois): “The Immorality of Biomedical Animal Experimentation”; Comments: Sacha Sullivan (South Florida)
  4. Lisa Fuller (Albany): “Burdened Societies and Transitional Theory”; Comments: Steve Vanderheiden (Colorado)
  5. Lori Gruen (Wesleyan): “The Ethics of Captivity”; Comments: Molly Gardner (Wisconsin)
  6. Justin Weinberg (South Carolina): “When is Moral Hazard Hazardous?”; Comments: Ben Hale (Colorado)
  7. Shay Welch (Williams): “Democratic Equality, the Freedom Threshold, and Strong Sufficientarianism”; Comments: Adam Hosein (Colorado)


Greenest University in America

April 10, 2010

One of the kids interviewed in this video was a student of mine last semester. Props to Dave Newport for his hard work at the CU Environmental Center.

Vodpod videos no longer available.



February 3, 2010

There. I said it. Those outside of the Boulder area may be intrigued to learn that the city council is considering passing a new ordinance banning the exposure of female nipples in public. Yes, you heard that right. And yes, it’s that stupid. Male nipples? No problem. They’re generally littler, and somehow less offensive.

Presumably, this proposed ordinance comes in response to some streaking activity that has characterized a few events over the past several years — the naked pumpkin run, the naked bicycle ride, the Pearl Street orgy — so the solution is to pass an ordinance that makes nudity a mere misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

Oh, nudity wasn’t ever actually a felony. It’s just that that’s the best law we had to handle issues of naked people wearing pumpkins on their heads and running through the streets at midnight on Halloween, when all the young impressionable children might be gawking from their windows and exposed, unwittingly, to a pornographic display that could titillate only Ichabod Crane and/or Tim Burton.

Sigh. So much for the “liberal mecca” of Boulder.