Philosophy conference comes to Pacific, brings hosts from Stanford

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Students from all over the country, as well as some from Mexico and Canada, will be traveling to Pacific University to be presenting at Pacific’s 19th annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference that will be held April 17 and 18 in Marsh Hall.

Each year 100 papers are chosen to be presented even though many more are sent in. Every submission is 10-12 pages and filled with philosophical discussion on a range of subjects.

“Its grown a lot over the years,” Professor Dave Boersema said. “The first couple of years I think there were three or four schools involved and now it’s much bigger with more than 50 schools. It’s great, there’s a lot of energy.”

This year, the public radio program “Philosophy Talk,” aired by Oregon Public Broadcasting, OPB, once a week, will be hosting a live taping from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Tom Miles Theater.

Two philosophers from Stanford host this program that deals with various issues of interest to philosophers.

“We have done this a few years in the past but we are doing it again this year,” Boersema said. “Everybody can come and see, but it fills up.”

Every year Pacific invites a keynote speaker to give a speech during the conference on Saturday. This year, Daniel Denette, a big name in both philosophy and psychology, will appear from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Paper sessions will be occupying every classroom on the lower level, the first floor and the second floor before and after the keynote speaker.

Although no one from Pacific will be presenting a paper, there will be four session chairs that are Pacific students and senior Jeremy Likens is looking forward to participating.

“I decided to be a session chair because session chairs are the oil that keeps the whole machine moving during the conference and I’d like to do my part to help out,” Likens said. “Further, it’s quite interesting to be able to read a few of the papers beforehand and prepare some questions for the question and answer sessions for each paper.”

Anyone is welcome to come and listen to both the radio show, the keynote speaker and the presenters. People from Pacific are able to attend free of charge.

Freshman Sierra Barnes is eager to experience her first conference, even as a session chair.

“I think I’m most excited to be able to be in a room with a group of intelligent, deep-minded people all discussing philosophical (and religion, which is what my session is) topics,” she said. “Both fields have always been of some significance to me and to be able to sit in and participate in a brilliant and fascinating talk will just make my month.”


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