Philosophy Day SP17

6th annual CSULB Philosophy Day Symposium!
Join us: Friday May 12th 2017, from 12:00–5:30, in USU–304 (3rd floor of Student Union)
We have a great line-up of speakers for our SP17 event celebrating our graduating students and the end of another great year.
  • Kylie Shahar, ‘Motivating the Principles of Equal Consideration and Non-maleficence in the Kingdom of Afflictables’
    • Abstract: When it comes to moral consideration of animals, it seems that in many cases certain animals count more than others. Despite a shared capacity for experiencing pain, inflicting pain in some nonhuman animals generates outrage, while others generate indifference. I classify all sentient beings with the capacity to experience pain as members of the ‘kingdom of afflictables’. The capacity to experience pain proves sufficient for membership in the kingdom of afflictables and renders all members of the kingdom equals—agents equally worthy of moral consideration; actions that plausibly inflict pain on such beings cause suffering and warrant moral consideration. The innate harm caused by painful experiences means that pain-sentience both defines the morally relevant class of afflictables and dictates the mitigation of unnecessary harm. I present a thought experiment to motivate the criterion of pain-sentience as universally sufficient for membership in the kingdom of afflictables. I further argue that members of the kingdom of afflictables deserve equal consideration in that adverse pain harms each equally. As a result, non-maleficence (i.e., not causing unnecessary harm) applies equally and universally to all members of the kingdom of afflictables. I conclude that the principles of equal consideration and non-maleficence ought to provide the rational, moral framework guiding human actions towards all members of the kingdom of afflictables.
  • Corey Jenson, ‘Persons and Practical Concerns’
    • Abstract: Revisionist views of personal identity are often criticized for their apparent moral implications. One objection to Parfitian Reductionism, for example, is that intra- and interpersonal practical concerns are without metaphysical grounding, thus they cannot be rationally justified. Other, similar objections are motivated by problem cases in applied ethics that pit moral intuitions against metaphysical claims. I discuss and evaluate these objections in detail, including their shared assumption that theories of personal identity are, to some extent, constrained by our practical concerns. I then argue against that assumption, but suggest that revisionist views can account for moral phenomena impersonally.
  • Jason Raibley, ‘Virtue and the Metaphysics of Well-Being’
    • Abstract: Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Aquinas all held that moral virtue is partly constitutive of personal well-being. Many Early Modern figures also held this view, and while it fell out of favor after Kant, it has enjoyed new popularity in the past 30 years. However, if there is a constitutive relationship, here, it must be explained and its metaphysical details laid bare. Unfortunately, some proposals in this area have simply changed the subject. Others have been based on inconclusive appeals to intuition. Others have established interesting relationships between, e.g., well-being, rationality, and practical wisdom, but have not vindicated the idea that other-regarding moral virtue (e.g., benevolence, justice, honesty) is constitutive of well-being. Here, it will be argued, using evidence from positive psychology, that (a) sociability is a key causal driver of both life-satisfaction and success; (b) that some minimal level of other-regarding moral virtue is necessary for sociability; and that (c) greater moral virtue augments sociability. A holistic model of well-being is invoked to argue that causal drivers of this sort should be seen as partly constitutive of well-being. This model treats well-being as a process, not a state, and treats its nature as determinate and largely independent of human theorizing. These points about the metaphysics of well-being are key for defending the proposition that, at least in some contexts, it consists partly in other-regarding virtue.
  • Brady Heiner, ‘Prosecuting Race: Mass Incarceration and the Unfinished Project of American Abolition’
    • Abstract: More than 95% of criminal convictions in the USA never go to trial, as the vast majority of defendants forfeit their constitutional rights to due process in the pervasive practice of plea bargaining. Looking at systemic racial disparities in sentence severity and incarceration rates for otherwise similarly situated defendants, Heiner argues that, rather than a voluntary waiver of constitutional rights, this mass forfeiture of due process rights ought to be conceptualized as the product of an entrenched system of procedural entrapment. Such entrapment, Heiner argues, ought to be abolished not only on grounds of procedural injustice, but because the practice refashions rather than redresses forms of racial domination derived from prior eras. Heiner will conclude his presentation by exploring the tactic of mass conscientious plea refusal through the collectively organized assertion of constitutional due process rights as a strategy of resisting mass incarceration.


  • Philosophy Day poster SP17 2.0