GVSU Philosophy Club

GVSU Philosophy Club Philosophy Club is a student organization at GVSU. We hold weekly meetings to discuss various philosophical topics in an informal setting. All students are welcome to attend, and no special background in philosophy is required.

Discimus Legendo Philosophiam. We learn by reading philosophy.

The below links help to open up a broader space for thinking about values, science, and policy in the current situation....
In the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis, We Must Start Envisioning the Future Now

The below links help to open up a broader space for thinking about values, science, and policy in the current situation. The first is about values specifically, the second bout the philosophy of science and public health policy.

(1) https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/in-the-midst-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-we-must-start-envisioning-the-future-now

(2) https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2020/03/climate-coronavirus-science-experts-data-sceptics

We have to recognize that what we are doing to avoid being killed by a virus is also killing us as a society.


As many of you likely have heard, GVSU has cancelled classes for the remainder of the week and is shifting to online-only classes from March 16-29 in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to the campus community.

The PHI Club will not meet during this time, in keeping with standard practices for closings/cancellations and in our own efforts to stay healthy and safe during this period.

We will resume our usual schedule when that becomes possible; for now, we wish everyone a healthy rest of the month and good luck with the sudden transition to online learning. Be safe and be well!


Upcoming talk sponsored by GVSU Political Science that may be of interest!
Human Rights Speaker Series
Suffer the Children
A Theoretical Foundation for the Human Rights of the Child
*Dr. Richard Hiskes
Retired GVSU Professor of Political Science
Founding Director of the GVSU Human Rights Minor
Tuesday, March 31
4:00 pm Lecture
5:15 pm Reception in honor of Professor Hiskes’ retirement Niemeyer Multipurpose Room

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University
Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

GVSU Philosophy Faculty Research Spotlight

Prof. Spear of the Philosophy Department has recently published an article in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JICES-10-2019-0117/full/html) entitled:

Breaking the epistemic pornography habit: Cognitive biases, digital discourse environments, and moral exemplars
In this essay Prof. Spear identifies “epistemic pornography” as a particularly pernicious form of media content that flourishes in on-line and especially social media environments. Epistemic pornography plays on a number of different human cognitive biases, telling its viewers or readers what they want to hear while congratulating them for hearing it and believing it. Epistemic pornography thus encourages people to fail to be epistemically virtuous. At the same time, Prof. Spear appeals to moral exemplar theory to suggest that being aware of epistemic pornography consumption as a bad moral exemplar may assist readers and viewers of media in being more epistemically virtuous.

Full text of the pre-publication proofs available (with permission) at GVSU’s Scholarworks: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/philosophy_articles/7/

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University
Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

GVSU Philosophy Faculty Research Spotlight

Prof. Moes of the Philosophy Department has recently published his article entitled

“Intimations in Plato’s Republic of Some Doctrines of Maritain’s The Person and the Common Good,”

in In Search of Harmony: Metaphysics and Politics (American Maritain Association), (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, September 2019):

In the essay Prof. Moes argues for a theistic interpretation of the Form of the Good in Plato’s Republic 6. Then he outlines Maritain’s discussions of (1) the distinction between individuality and personality, (2) the nature of the common good, and (3) the main types of society that disregard the common good and their interrelations, showing that all three discussions are adumbrated and prefigured in the Republic.

In Search of Harmony – HFS Books
In Search of Harmony – HFS Books

In Search of Harmony – HFS Books

PROCESSING : Please wait... PROCESSING : Please wait... Paperback / softback296 Pages$34.95 USDAdd to Cart PROCESSING : Please wait... Format Paperback / softback Published September 27, 2019 ISBN-13 9780997220513 Language English Pages 296 Height 9.00 Inches (US) Width 6.00 Inches (US) Unit weight....

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University



Friday March 13 at 3:00pm in Mackinac Hall BLL-110 (Basement)

Ronald Loeffler
(GVSU Philosophy)

Will be giving a talk entitled:

“Why would anyone not believe that?!”

Belief as a First-Person Plural Attitude

ABSTRACT: Beliefs... Each of us has rather a lot of them. But what are beliefs? Cognitive states, to be sure, such that by being in them we have a certain perspective on the world – we hold certain things true true, or as fact – and are prepared to act accordingly. But beyond that? It is widely assumed that beliefs are intrinsically private cognitive states in that, at least in principle, a believer, as such, need not be aware that there are, or may be, other believers as well, who might share, or disagree with, his or her views. This project challenges this assumption and defends the view that belief is an intrinsically intersubjective cognitive state: in a sense to be specified, having any beliefs at all oneself intrinsically involves recognizing others as believers. Specifically, in believing that p, for any arbitrary proposition p, a believer ipso facto treats p as to be believed by "us jointly," where the "us" here includes every believer (every rational being) at all. I shall elaborate and defend this picture of belief and trace some of its important consequences. In particular, I shall argue that, contra the picture of belief as private, this view of belief as intrinsically intersubjective yields a straightforward, natural account of our ability to recognize common ground. Moreover, I shall indicate that this view of belief has interesting implications regarding our abilities to read each other's minds, as well as our deep-seeded tendencies to commit epistemic, hermeneutic, and discursive injustices.

All are welcome to attend!


There will be no club meeting this week, as it is an election day and we want encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote! We’ll resume our regular meetings on Tuesday, March 17.

Monday March 16 there are two major health care ethics events being held on GVSU's downtown campuses. These events typic...
2020 Ethics Conference and Colloquy - DeVos Medical Ethics Colloquy - Grand Valley State University

Monday March 16 there are two major health care ethics events being held on GVSU's downtown campuses. These events typically include health care professionals from the greater West Michigan area and expert presentations on issues in health care ethics. They are a great way to learn more about health ethics and related issues as these arise in actual medical practice, and to meet people currently working in the medical professions in West Michigan. Better yet, the events are FREE for current GVSU students.

Event 1: Waiting for a Miracle: The Role of Religion in Patient's Decision Making
Will go from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. It is in the Eberhard Center Downtown on the second floor.

Event 2: DeVos Medical Ethics Colloquy, The Role of Religion in Health Care
Will go from 6:00pm to 8:10pm in the same place and rooms, Eberhard Center second floor.

It is OK to attend just part of either event, but be sure to RSVP, which you can do here: https://www.gvsu.edu/colloquy/cms-form-edit.htm?formId=B8127A34-A9E0-D27C-DD072FDAB79FD2AF

West Michigan Health Care Ethics Conference 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration Fee: $45.00 Open to the public. Payment can be made on-line by credit card or via mail by check.

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Congratulations to the GVSU Ethics Bowl Team, Abbie Branderhorst (Philosophy), Kayla Keckler (Biomedical Sciences, with a Spanish minor), Jessica Shaltry (Biomedical Sciences), Anna Stewart (Business, with a Philosophy minor), and Mallory Wietrzykowski (Philosophy), for hard fought competition the National Ethics Bowl Competition in Atlanta, Georgia last weekend!

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

GVSU Philosophy Faculty, Past and Present, at the American Philosophical Association meeting in Chicago this last weekend!


Course of potential interest coming up in winter 2021!

HST 329
U.S. Intellectual History
Winter 2021, MW 3:00 – 4:15 pm, MAK D-1-135 Professor Murphy
Do ideas shape history? Many have wanted to think so. The United States emerged from radical intellectual move- ments: Puritan zealots intent on creating a Godly com- monwealth, republican statesman determined to found a society on principles of equality and representative gov- ernment. Americans have fostered the belief that America is an idea. We will trace the influence of intellectuals and ideas from the nation’s found to today. We will track the growth of a self-consciously American group of writers and ministers in the nineteenth century and the emergence of a new class of university and public thinkers (now defined as “intellectuals”) in the early twentieth century as they tried to define this American idea. Intellectuals claimed authority by virtue of their power to define culture, articu- late “worldviews,” and make claims for a purported Ameri- can “mind.” Such impulses led to a late twentieth-century reaction focused on diversity, freedom, and the right to define one’s self (in terms of ideology, race, sexuality, gen- der) any way one pleased.
1. American Protestantism and the Enlightenment
2. The Transcendentalists
3. The Age of “Intellectuals”: Progress, Science, Feminism, Racial Equality, and Bohemia
4. Modernist Capital: The New York Intellectuals and Their Critics
5. Cultural Revolutions: Postmodernism, Radicalisms of Selfhood, Culture Wars, and the Age of Fracture
Contact Professor Murphy with any questions ([email protected])

The Moral Status of Animals (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Next meeting info!

DATE: TUESDAY, Feb. 25th, from 5:30-7 PM
DESCRIPTION: Human beings have long had a range of relationships with other species in the animal kingdom. Some we use as companions, such as dogs and cats, while others such as horses assist us with various kinds of labor or appear in sporting competitions. Others still we breed and raise almost exclusively for the purpose of eating their meat, eggs, and milk. Philosophers and activists have objected to many of these practices, especially the latter, on the grounds that animals have certain rights which should not be violated. This week at the PHI club we will discuss this concept and explore related questions: what sort of rights do animals have? Why do we assign some rights to humans and not to animals? What should we make of “speciesism,” or the belief that one species (humans) is superior to all others (and therefore can rightfully consume or exploit them)? Are there good reasons why we should eat animals? Whatever your position is, we encourage your to join us for an exploration of this matter. To aid our discussion, we have an article on the moral significance of animals from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; we recommend the first section in particular! As always, all are welcome. We hope to see you there!


Is there something distinctive about humanity that justifies the idea that humans have moral status while non-humans do not? Providing an answer to this question has become increasingly important among philosophers as well as those outside of philosophy who are interested in our treatment of non-hum...


Prof. Peimin Ni (GVSU Philosophy) Will be giving a talk entitled:

Gongfu as a Comprehensive Philosophical Approach

ABSTRACT: Often taken to mean just the martial arts, “gongfu” (aka kung fu) actually applies to all arts of life. As such, the term is not only a key for understanding Chinese philosophy, it can serve as a comprehensive philosophical approach as well — It can name a field of philosophical studies, “the philosophy of gongfu”; it can name a methodology of philosophy, “the gongfu perspective”; and it can name theories of philosophy, such as gongfu ethics, gongfu epistemology, and gongfu metaphysics. This will in turn show the value of Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy, as doing so can broaden our philosophical horizon and hopefully lead to substantial philosophical developments.


Friday February 21 at 3:00pm in Mackinac Hall BLL-110 (Basement)

All are welcome to attend!

What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher?

What Is It Like to Be a Philosopher?

Philosopher Judith Butler interviewed in the New Yorker! https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/judi...
Judith Butler Wants Us to Reshape Our Rage

Philosopher Judith Butler interviewed in the New Yorker!


The celebrity academic on the possibilities of nonviolence, the rise of the anti-“gender ideology” movement, and the militant potential of mourning.

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Philosophy Department, Grand Valley State University

Great event at the Philosophy Colloquium last Friday. Thanks to our panelists, Corey Anton (Communications), Brian Bowdle (Psychology), and Andrew Knoll (Philosophy)!!
Stronger, Faster, Smarter, Sexier, Immortal:
A Panel Discussion on Prospects and Problems of Technologically Enhanced Humans, Trans-Humans, and Post-Humans

Join us at our next meeting for some pre-Valentines day discussion on the potential future of human relationships!PHILOS...
Sex with robots, the moral and legal implications

Join us at our next meeting for some pre-Valentines day discussion on the potential future of human relationships!

DATE: TUESDAY, February 11th, from 5:30 - 7:00 P.M.
DESCRIPTION: Happy (pre) Valentine's Day, philosophers. It has become something of a tradition here at the PHI club to hold a somewhat unconventional romance-related meeting
around the time of everyone's (least?) favorite Hallmark Holiday. This year, we're turning our attention to lovers of the future: human-like robots designed specifically for sexual pleasure.
Within the field of philosophy, there's actually a fair bit of literature on this topic, much of it focusing and the social and ethical implications of these inventions. This involves questions
ranging from: Could these robots be used for therapeutic purposes? Is it possible for humans to develop meaningful relationships with machines? If so, is that a good thing? Will this
only worsen our culture of objectifying people, especially women? We'll discuss these and other similar questions at the meeting this week, and to kickstart the conversation we have an
article from a philosopher who has written on this subject. As always, all are welcome and no special background in philosophy is required. We hope to see you there!

Link to reading: https://news.umanitoba.ca/sex-with-robots-the-moral-and-legal-implications/

As technology progresses, says Neil McArthur, there will be people immediately ready to exploit new forms of robotics in order to produce sexbots -- robots explicitly designed to bring sexual satisfac


Mackinaw Hall BL-L-116, 1 Campus Dr
Allendale, MI


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Happy first week!!!
I found a company that is partnered with a Colombian tribe, selling their hand-woven bag straps. Giving portions of their proceeds back to the small community. Is this a good opportunity for the Wayuu tribe? Or is this a strange place where there's not enough information to tell if it's completely ethical?
Greetings Everyone. We are working on a meeting time and other Phi Club details for this semester. If you are around and interested, how do Tuesdays from 5:30-7 on the Allendale Campus sound as a meeting time?
If we could talk about this sometime, I'd be ecstatic. :DD Reggie Watts is a favorite of mine. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G0Vybld964 ]
Just droppin' this one off for the giggles :D