Events 2016-2017

Ethic Inquiry Lecture: Shigehiro Oishi

October 7th, 2016 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Petteruti Lounge, 75 Waterman Street

Ethical Inquiry Lecture:
Cultural Relativity of Happiness

Shigehiro Oishi, Psychology,
University of Virginia

Abstract:  Once believed to be universal, a growing body of research shows that both the conception and predictors of happiness vary cross-culturally. First, the meaning and importance of happiness varies both across time and between nations. Americans, for instance, tend to define happiness in terms of pleasure or enjoyment and view happiness as universally positive, whereas East Asian and Middle Eastern cultures may highlight the transient and socially disruptive nature of happiness and be ambivalent about whether it is good. Second, predictors of happiness vary between cultures. Recent work highlights new mediators (e.g., relational mobility), individual predictors (e.g., person-culture fit), societal factors (e.g., good governance and wealth), within-culture variations (e.g., at the state or city level), and interventions (e.g., practicing gratitude) that differ cross-culturally or help explain cultural differences in happiness. Though many questions remain, this review highlights how these recent advances broaden and revise our understanding of culture and happiness.

A reception will follow immediately after the lecture.

History of Philosophy Roundtable - Colin McLear

October 6th, 2016 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Corliss Bracket, Seminar Room 106

A History of Philosophy Roundtable will take place on Thursday, October 6th at 7PM.  The roundtable will feature Colin McLear, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who will be discussing his paper "Concepts, Intuition, and Structure."

This event is pre-read.  Please email Emma Kirby at for access to the paper.

Snacks and drink will be provided and all are welcome to attend.

History of Philosophy Roundtables are organized and hosted by graduate students.

Colloquium: Neil Sinhababu

September 23rd, 2016 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Kassar House Foxboro Auditorium, 151 Thayer Street

Please join the Philosophy Department for the colloquium lecture "Experientialism About Moral Concepts" presented by Neil Sinhababu, National University of Singapore on September 23rd from 4:00PM to 6:00PM. 


I present an experientialist account of moral concepts, on which moral judgments are beliefs about when feelings like guilt and admiration represent objective facts. For example, wrong actions are objectively represented by the feeling of guilt, while virtuous people are objectively represented by the feeling of admiration. This account fits into a cognitivist, externalist, and Humean picture of moral judgment, providing an alternative to views that analyze moral concepts in terms of reasons. Within the framework of naturalistic moral realism, experientialism provides new support for ethical hedonism 

A reception will follow in the Philosophy Department lounge, 45 Prospect Street.