Autumn 2015 Newsletter

Philosophy makes a difference.  You may know that, but, apparently not everyone does.  Recently a presidential candidate claimed that a student would do better if she became a welder rather than a philosopher.  It turns out that he was wrong:  although welding is certainly a useful skill, the average salary of someone who has earned a philosophy degree is significantly higher than that of a welder.  However, it is not just a question of the financial value of a philosophy degree.  The deeper… Read more
Nick Hanauer, UW Philosophy BA ’81, is a co-founder and partner in Seattle-based venture capital firm, Second Avenue Partners. In 2015, he also founded Civic Ventures, a small group of political troublemakers devoted to ideas, policies, and actions that catalyze significant social change. We sat down with him to discuss his work with Civic Ventures including: funding public education, defending the liberal arts, increasing the… Read more
This fall quarter the Philosophy Department hosted a series of discussion groups about the Syrian migration crisis.  Our response to the ongoing crisis in Syria and many other places in the world has many dimensions.  One of the crucial questions is the nature and extent of our ethical obligation to help people in need.  Philosophers in our department spend a lot of time thinking about this question and wanted to provide a stimulating discussion for our community of students, faculty, staff and… Read more
David Albert’s lecture The Difference Between the Past and the Future was presented to a standing room only audience on October 27, 2015.  The first in the O’Hara Lecture Series in philosophy of physics, Professor Albert spoke on our ability to affect the future and not the past. It seems to us that by acting now we can affect the future, but not the past.  He described some recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics which seeks to understand this phenomenon not as a part… Read more
Congratulations to philosophy graduate student Tim Brown, who was part of the winning team in this year’s Center for the Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) 36-hour Hackathon. Fifteen students from the UW, San Diego State University, MIT and Spelman College competed in the Hackathon over a weekend in November. The goal was to design a solution to a neural engineering problem or to create a tool for educational outreach. Every team was provided with a box of common supplies, including… Read more
The day before Thanksgiving Professor Michael Blake joined KUOW's The Record for a panel discussion of the key issues happening in the news which are most likely to be discussed among families over the holidays.  The panel also included Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, journalist Erica C. Barnett and other guests. The topics included race and justice issues, protests on college campuses in Washington State and across the country; Seattle City Council’s no vote on increasing parental… Read more
Professor Jana Mohr Lone led a discussion on philosophy for children as part of the Whole U parenting series at the University of Washington.  She discussed how her own children led her to explore philosophy for children and start the UW Center for Philosophy for Children which has brought philosophy to Seattle Public School students for 19 years. She encouraged parents to relax and enjoy exploring philosophical questions with their children by becoming co-philosophers to build new connections… Read more
In March 2015, Professor Ronald Moore gave a pre-concert lecture on music composed during World War I. This talk was part of a three-part series of concerts and lectures that began in 2014 to mark 100 years since the beginning of the Great War. Professor Moore's lecture and the accompanying concert are now available online. Listen here: More… Read more
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Thank you for your support! Gifts to the Department are crucial to our success in enhancing educational opportunities for our students. Undergraduate student awards, scholarships, and resources for graduate fellowships would not be possible without the support of our donors. We also depend upon donated funds to develop and promote programs, such as philosophy of science, philosophy of the environment, professional ethics, and introducing philosophy to children. We thank the following… Read more