The Department of Philosophy held its first Undergraduate Conference April 25 and 26.
The conference attendees were welcomed by Philosophy Department Chair Tom Buller, and opening remarks were given by College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Dagmar Budikova Persaud.
Julia Driver, a philosophy professor at Washington University in St. Louis, gave the keynote speech, titled “Love and Special Obligations.” Some philosophers view love as a moral emotion because it seems to give rise to special obligations to those who are near and dear to us. For example, parents have special obligations to their children—to take care of them—that they do not have to the children of others. Other philosophers do not regard love, at least the feeling of love, as something particularly moral at all—indeed, to the extent that it conflicts with impartiality, a key feature of morality, it is not a moral emotion. Can the tension between these two perspectives be resolved?
In her talk, Driver attempted to outline an approach to love as a moral emotion that shows that there is something to viewing it as impartial in the sense of requiring, at least sometimes, that we take the objective stance toward those we love and engage in a normative evaluation of the relationship.
Other speakers at the event included students from several universities:
- Zach Barr, Illinois State University—”Identity Crisis: In Support of Joanna Macy’s Ecological Self”
- Devon Hartwig, Illinois State University—”Motive and Morals”
- Mark McGinn, Webster University—”The Absent Other: Care Ethics and the Limit of Moral Obligation”
- Phillip Busam, Beloit College—”Indirect Consequentialists Cannot Cultivate Genuine Friendships”
- Andrew Rogers, Kansas State University—”Response to Elliot Sober on the Organismic Design Argument”
- Haley Dutmer, Northern Illinois University—”Virtue Ethics and the Morally Best Life”