2012 Annual Conference

Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Society for Philosophy

 in the Contemporary World


Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA:  July 21-26, 2012


Saturday, July 21


4:30-6:30         Welcome and Registration


6:30-8:30     Panel:  Intense Presence: Art and Sport (Moderator: Charles Harvey)


6:30-7:30         Joe Frank Jones III, ÒBeing There: Art as ExplanationÓ


7:30-8:30         Norman Fischer, Sport and the Scourges of the Contemporary Academy


8:30-TBD           Bacchanal



Sunday, July 22


9:30-11:30   Morning Panel:  Ideology Critique and the Culture Industry (Moderator: )


9:30-10:30       Adam Wagner, ÒThe (Digital) Culture IndustryÓ


10:30-11:30     Krassimir Stojanov, ÒThe Concept of Ideology Critique: An Analytical Re-Actualization AttemptÓ


11:45                      Lunch


1:30-4:45     Afternoon Panel:  Enlightened Education inside Democracy and Capitalism (Moderator: )


1:30-2:30         Dane Depp, ÒDemocracy and Capitalism: Conflicting Demands on EducationÓ


2:30-3:30         Joe Holmes, ÒEducation and EnlightenmentÓ


3:30-3:45         Coffee/Tea Break


3:45-4:45         Mark Sanders, ÒProspects for a Deweyan Democracy in the   Digital AgeÓ


5:00-7:00            Dinner






7:00-9:00     Evening Panel: Heidegger, Technology, Art (Moderator:  )


7:00-8:00         Charles Harvey, ÒHeidegger within the Technium: Re-Viewing The Question Concerning Technology After Kevin KellyÕs What Technology WantsÓ


8:00-9:00         George Teschner, ÒMachine Art: HeideggerÕs Turning to a Postmodern TechnologyÓ



Monday, July 23


9:30-11:45         Morning Panel:  Moral Perception and Intuition (Moderator:  )


9:30-10:30       Jeremy Wisnewski, ÒThe Case for Moral PerceptionÓ


10:30-11:30     Jack Weir, ÒCasuistry and Intuitionism: Old and New FriendsÓ


11:45                      Lunch


1:30-4:45            Afternoon Panel:  Moral Phenomenology, Existential Trust and the Moral Argument for the Existence of God (Moderator: )


1:30-2:30         Ralph Ellis, ÒPhenomenology of the Hot-Cold Meter: How Do I Know What I Should Be Doing?Ó


2:30-3:30         Jeffrey Courtright, ÒUnderstanding the Phenomenon of Existential TrustÓ


3:30-3:45         Break


3:45-4:45         Jim Shelton, ÒC. S. Lewis and the Moral Argument for the Existence of GodÓ


5:00-7:30            Dinner


7:30                         Business Meeting (Janet Donohoe presiding)





Tuesday, July 24


9:30-11:30         Morning Panel:  Knowledge, Habit, Learning, Training (Moderator:)


9:30-10:30       James Garrison, ÒThe Semiotics of Scientific Inquiry: Pragmatist Post-Structuralism versus Derridian Deconstructive Post-StructuralismÓ


10:30-11:30     Jo-Jo Koo, ÒInterpersonal Checking or Learning through Training? On the Social Basis of Normativity in later WittgensteinÕs PhilosophyÓ


11:45                      Lunch


12:30                      Afternoon Outing:


6:00                         Board Bus at designated location


6:30                         Dinner


Wednesday, July 25


8:30-11:30         Morning Panel:  Human Engineering, Animal Nature and Animal Rights (Moderator: )


8:30-9:30         Ray Kolcaba, ÒEthical Change and Nature: Humans Going to the Dogs?Ó


9:30-10:30       Caroline W. Meline, ÒHumans and Animals: Arguing Against the Discontinuity ThesisÓ


10:30-10:45     Break


10:45-11:45     Rob Bass, ÒPascal in the Kitchen:  Betting on the Ethics of Eating MeatÓ


11:45                      Lunch


1:30-3:30            Afternoon Panel:  Race, Disabilities, Sanity, Dignity (Moderator: )


1:30-2:30         Asya Markova, ÒThe Concept of Dignity in the Capability Approach: A Personalist PerspectiveÓ


2:30-3:30         Christian Matheis, ÒThe Legend of the White-ness Monster:   Getting Ôthe westÕ beyond ÔwhitenessÕÓ


3:30-3:45         Break


3:45-4:45         Philip Lewin, ÒSanity and SituatednessÓ


5:00-7:00            Dinner


Thursday, July 26 


Check out.  Safe Travels!


Bios and Abstracts


Dane Depp: born 1949 in Indianapolis received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Florida State University in 1985.  He taught philosophy or math at New Mexico Highlands University 1985-1987, and 1995-2005, and philosophy at Morehead State University 1990-1993.  Main early philosophical influences: Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Foucault.  Dane has published articles centering on phenomenology, pragmatism, and social theory.  He currently (since 2006) lives with his three dogs on the old family farm in Barren Co. KY. Email: danedepp@scrtc.com


ÒDemocracy and Capitalism:  Conflicting Demands on EducationÓ

Two incompatible sets of demands are imposed on education in the US today: demands deriving from democratic ideals, and demands made by a capitalist economic system.  The fact that public education is increasingly presumed to be, if not always presented as being, for the sake of job-training shows us which side of this conflict is on the ascendancy.  While formal education is dominated by capitalismÕs need for docile workers/producers, sources of informal education, primarily corporate owned mass media, are dominated by messages that serve capitalismÕs need for uncritical consumers.  In this paper I will first summarize the rise of a Western capitalist mentality, relying primarily on HabermasÕs account from 1962 (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere), and highlighting the informal educational effects of capitalism.  Then I will look briefly at the major ideals of constitutional democracy as described by John Rawls in Political Liberalism.  Finally I will outline some of the objectives central to a program of education more consistent with democracy, while conceding what is necessary for a capitalist economic system.


Dr. Norman Fischer is an associate professor of philosophy at Clark-Atlanta University, where he teaches courses in Ethics, Aesthetics, Political Philosophy, Logic and the History of Philosophy.  He has published articles in the areas of Ancient Philosophy, the Philosophy of Sport, and the relationship of tragedy and philosophy.  He has also co-authored a textbook on Ethics.  His interests in philosophy are broad, although his current work is in the philosophy of Plato.  Email: NFischer@cau.edu


ÒSport and the Scourges of the Contemporary AcademyÓ

In this paper, I will briefly describe three scourges of current academic life.  I will analyze the causes thereof, situating this analysis within what I take to be a perennial problem of human life; the tension between the useful and the beautiful.  I will then argue that an appreciation of sport is useful in bridging the gap between the partisans of the beautiful and the useful, because of its liberalizing effect on the values of the useful.  Finally, I will close by commenting on the relation of sport to the academy.


Charles W. Harvey is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Central Arkansas.  He has published two book and numerous articles in phenomenology, existentialism, issues of the self, the contemporary university and the technologization of all things.  Harvey is proud to be a founding member of SPCW.   charlesh@uca.edu


ÒHeidegger within the Technium:  Re-viewing The Question Concerning Technology after Kevin KellyÕs What Technology Wants


In this essay I sketch a few parallels between Heidegger and Kelly and use Kelly to provide support for some of HeideggerÕs claims about technology in a way that Heidegger did not.  The comparison demands the question:  Is technology the danger to the essence of Dasein and being-in-the-world as Heidegger claims or is it precisely the Òsaving powerÓ that Kelly thinks it may be and that even HeideggerÕs acknowledges as a possibility.


Joe Holmes is a student at George Mason University. He has presented papers for conferences at SUNY Oneonta, Loyola and Tulane. His research interests include American pragmatism, philosophy of education, Asian philosophy and ancient Greek,with favorites being Heraclitus, Diogenes the Cynic, and Epictetus. Additional interests are in education in its relationship to video game design and experimental pedagogy. Email: jholmes4@gmu.edu


ÒEducation and EnlightenmentÓ

According to Kant the Enlightenment was an event of human self-maturation, one accomplished chiefly through the development of critical, self-reflective thought. Each succeeding age that participates in such an event must be sure to remove whatever impediments their predecessors had left them. Thus to continue an Enlightenment project

requires something akin to a Trotskyian constant revolution, forever taking stock of prejudices and reimagining our aims and ends. In service of this, I submit the idea that the Enlightenment 2.0 of our culture, something that could appropriately contribute to the vision of our early modern forebears, would be a renewed emphasis on education. Citing Dewey, I’ll attempt to make the case that what the discovery of the experimental method was for philosophers in the 1600s, a discovery of the effectiveness and moral priority of education will be for philosophers of the 21st century. I’ll conclude by imagining what such a large-scale societal project would look like, and the possibilities of its becoming a reality.


Asya Markova is a PhD-candidate in Philosophy at the New Bulgarian University Sofia, Bulgaria. The working title of her dissertation is ÒDignity and Human Capabilities.Ó She is interested in the Capability Approach, Philosophy of Human Rights, Personalistic Philosophy and Analytical Philosophy. Email: asyamarkova@gmail.com


ÒThe Concept of Dignity in the Capability ApproachÓ

In this paper I try to develop a conceptual account of human dignity that does not exclude persons with mental disabilities. I attempt to overcome the rationalistic reductionism of the dominant concept of dignity by referring to Martha NussbaumÕs criticism of the rationalist grounding of human dignity in the free will, the individual autonomy and the ability to be a party in the social contract. However, since I identify a tautological argument as a weakness of NussbaumÕs alternative conception of dignity, I shall elaborate this concept further by using some insights from PersonalistPhilosophy. I do this by using Gabriel MarcelÕs fruitful attempt to conceptualize the meaning of dignity by contrasting it to its opposite – to the spirit of abstraction. By interpreting MarcelÕs conception I shall show that human dignity consists in the very basic capability to resist oneÕs own stigmatization and reification by others as well as to struggle for oneÕs own recognition as a valuable particular person.


Jim Shelton has specialized in epistemology and the philosophy of science, with emphasis on the philosophy of Moritz Schlick.  He has published articles in international and national journals, including “Studies in History and Philosophy of Science,”  “Philosophy and Phenomenological Research” and “Synthese.”  He has taught philosophy at the University of Central Arkansas for the past forty years.  Email: jshelton@uca.edu
“C. S. Lewis and the Moral Argument for the Existence of God”

In this paper, I analyze Lewis’s popular argument with the goal of refuting his use of morality as providing evidence for the existence of God and refuting his attempt to show that morality can make sense only on the supposition of the existence of God.  I discuss the consequence that he drew from his argument that atheists cannot be moral.  Finally I discuss his claims concerning the problem of evil.


Krassimir Stojanov is Professor and Chair of Philosophy of Education and Educational Theory at the University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany. His most recent publications include a collection of essays under the title ÒEducational JusticeÓ (published in German in 2011) as well as an article on  ÒThe Post-Socialist Transition as a Process of Biographical Learning: On the Contradiction Between Democratization and Political Alienation in Eastern EuropeÓ, published in the last volume of ÒConstellationsÓ (Vol. 19, Issue 1, March 2012, p. 121-134). Email: Krassimir.Stojanov@ku.de


ÒThe Concept of Ideology Critique: An Analytical Re-Actualization AttemptÓ

Traditionally, ÒideologyÓ has been understood as a false or disturbed consciousness.  For a long period of time this term disappeared almost completely from the agenda of Philosophy and the Social Sciences, but there is currently a revival of the ideology concept. A main reason for this development is that against the background of major post-structuralist approaches which dominated Philosophy and the Social Sciences in the 90s, the very idea of false consciousness, that is, a clear distinction between truthfulness and falseness of political ideas and claims, became obsolete. However, there is now appearing an analytically inspired Political Philosophy for the age after Òpost-modernityÓ; a Philosophy which attempts to define truth criteria for political assertions and proposals. From my point of view those criteria can be at best formulated on the ground of the discursive model of truth that has been developed by authors like JŸrgen Habermas and Robert Brandom. With regard to that model we can describe ideology as characterized by two central features: Ideologies consist of non-dialogical assertions that cut off the process of critical interrogation.  Hence these assertions are false and they are characterized by a totalization and naturalization of particular views and opinions. (Epistemic content of ideologies)Ideologies provide privileged power positions and power aspirations of certain groups with a Òpost hocÓ legitimatization and justification. (Political function of ideologies.)Those two features of ideologies qualify them as major social pathologies that should be central subjects of critical social theory.