Muhlenburg University

Newsletter Issue #144, March 2015

Newsletter Email version of the current newsletter (includes contact emails for chapter advisors.)

AL-EPSILON(0105)  [University of Alabama at Huntsville; advisor, Nicholaos Jones]  President: Chad Bosch, Vice-presi-dent: Justin Connally, Secretary: Yang Nicole Westrope, Treasurer: Maryam Khamesi.

AR-GAMMA(0403) [University of Central Arkansas; advisor Jesse Butler] President: Rhett Melton, Vice-president: Kelsey  Foster, Secretary: Timothy Havens. We have made plans for continuing our Philosophy Research Discussion Forum with the first event scheduled for November 11, 2014. 

CA-KAPPA(0510) [Santa Clara University; advisor, Shannon Vallor] NEW ADVISOR.

CA-LAMBDA(0511) [Loyola Marymount University; advisor, Brad Stone]. NEW ADVISOR.

CA-TAU(0519) [California State University, San Bernardino: advisor,  Matthew Davidson] At our 13 November meeting, we had agenda items for Tee Shirts, the Bulletin Board, the Journal, and a Study Night. Tee shirts have been ordered, we are waiting on a work order for the bulletin board and hope to have it up by study night, we passed out journals to members, and we made a list of items for the study night. We are concerned about upper division philosophy courses where enrollment needs to be at least 10 to avoid cancellation of the class. We are working with the Dean, Administrators, and others to increase the enrollments for small programs where courses are in danger of being cut. At the November 20 meeting, we discussed the process of producing flyers for courses; Phi Sigma Tau members will create the body of the text for flyers so that flyers can be posted in proper areas. We also need to print flyers for the study night; these will be emailed to professors and announced in classes. We also agreed to create an agenda for our meetings four days prior to the meeting, and individuals will have 24 hours to make amendments. However, our Tuesday 25 November meeting is an officers only meeting. At the 4 December meeting, we noted that all Tee Shirts have been picked up, that Emily had started the Instagram account and has been voted the PR officer, and that the final study night schedule has been sent out. Our Christmas party date was changed to December 13, and the Davidson Graduate School Meeting will happen next quarter. We had not decided whether to have weekly or bi-weekly meetings next term.

CT-GAMMA(0703)  [Southern Connecticut State University; advisor, Chelsea C. Harry] Our chapter has contacted SGA in order to make the Phi Sigma Tau chapter official; we have not heard back from SGA. There is a consensus for inviting Sealy to speak for the fall, possibly in a joint session with the Fairfield chapter.      One member volunteered to contact the Fairfield chapter. We also talked of creating a Facebook and Google page for the chapter. At the 3 December meeting, we discussed New Haven Reads as a service project and passed out volunteer sheets. We also had progress in getting club recognition from SGA.

This term, we voted to contact Maggie Labinski, a new professor at Fairfield, as a possible speaker, and we are starting our own version of Philosophy Café and plan to attend Fairfield’s Socrates Café. We are also looking into a tutoring/mentoring program for PHI 100 students and are asking professors to include Phi Sigma Tau contact information in their syllabi. At the meeting on March 4, we announced that Professor Labinski has agreed to speak at our induction ceremony on May 1. Also the Big Event is scheduled for April 25. (For further information about the Big Event, you will have to contact the Connecticut Gamma chapter. Ed.)

FL-ETA(1007) [Florida International University; advisor, Kenton Harris] President: Vanessa Rios, Vice-president: Alfredo Fernandez, Secretary: Louis Navas, Treasurer: Jean Amaya. At our February 4 meeting, chapter members discussed possible candidates for the upcoming lecture series, club Tee Shirts, graduation regalia, and upcoming philosophy conferences. Our induction ceremony is planned for April 17.

IL-ZETA(1406)         [University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign; advisor, Shelley Weinberg] At the November 13 meeting of the chapter, a movie night was considered for the next week, and after the Thanksgiving break, we may have a doctoral student speak about the philosophy of language. The remainder of the November meeting was a discussion of the free will and determinism problem. During our discussion we tried to clarify terms, and our primary question was whether the two, determinism and free will, are completely incompatible. The answer to that question depended upon the definition of free will, and there are several possible definitions. The discussion ranged over a variety of problems associated with the problem.

IN-EPSILON(1505) [Ball State University; advisor, Sarah E. Vitale] NEW ADVISOR.

IN-IOTA(1507) [Indiana University Southeast; advisor, Bryan Hall] NEW ADVISOR.

LA-GAMMA(1903) [Xavier University of New Orleans; advisor, Thora Bayer] At the February 25 meeting, members considered publishing articles in Dialogue. Members were invited to attend the Department of Philosophy’s bi-monthly Reading Club and the Philosopher’s Club, a faculty led discussion open to all students.

MD-IOTA(2107) [Loyola University; advisor, Bret Davis] During the 2013-14 school year, the Loyola chapter met regularly. Average participation was 15-20 students with 3-6 faculty members. Meetings were usually about two hours, with two students opening each meeting with a presentation of the topic; the remainder of the time was used for general discussion. Topics included The Founding Fathers and the US Constitution, Leisure and Liberal Arts Education, Just War Theory, Environmental Ethics, and Animal Rights, among others.

MD-THETA(2108) [Notre Dame of Maryland University; advisor, Maeve M. O’Donovan] NEW ADVISOR. President: Samantha Dameron. Samantha was elected at the Spring 2014 induction ceremony.

MI-MU(2312 [Alma College; advisor, Nicholas Dixon] Our chapter watched The Unbelievers, a film dealing with the relation between religion and science that centered on a discussion between Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins. A short discussion of the film followed, and we asked whether the reviews correctly categorized the film as merely showcasing ‘‘science rock stars’’ who have not fully engaged in the debate. We also considered a potential meeting with the Political Science club; this would be a panel discussion of free speech in light of the French tragedy. Finally, we arranged a meeting for a student presentation by C. J. Oswald, ‘‘An Evaluation of Deep Ecology.’’

SD-BETA(2402) [St. Olaf College; advisor, Danny Muñoz-Hutchinson] At our induction ceremony on 25 September, Bergen Nelson was elected President. Meredith Varie and Thomas Lambert were elected Vice-presidents, Mitchell Kampf was elected Treasurer, and Emma Ritter became Secretary. Nelson and Varie explained the events the chapter plans to sponsor and host during the fall term. They also detailed Philosophy related opportunities around campus and beyond.

MO-NU(2613) [University of Missouri-Kansas City; advisor, Clancy Martin] NEW ADVISOR.

MO-TAU(2619) [Northwest Missouri State University; advisor, Richard Field] Members discussed an event being planned: Police and Community: Interactions with Minority Groups. In the panel-style event, speakers will discuss interactions between police and minority groups in light of the recent events in Ferguson and the Stop-and-Frisk legislation in New York. We have confirmed participation by three speakers. A fellow organization, Common Ground, has expressed interest in lending support for the event. We plan another meeting on March 6 to discuss advertising and Common Ground’s participation.

MT-BETA(2702) [Montana State University; advisor, Sara Waller] President: Leah Hueser, Vice-president: Cameron Brown, Secretary/Treasurer: Jon Murtaugh. Chapter members met and watched ‘‘Coherence,’’ a recent film about possible worlds and alternate selves.

NV-ALPHA(2901) [University of Nevada, Las Vegas; advisor, Erik Lindland] NEW ADVISOR.

NJ-THETA(3108) [Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; advisor, Mercedes Diaz] At the January 21 meeting, the chapter members approved two petitions for new chapters. Then, there was a discussion of the Princeton- Rutgers Undergraduate Conference. The keynote speakers are arranged, and two chapter members agreed to order food for the event. We reviewed the second round of papers and plan to meet next week to review the next set of papers. Then we will go to the third round. The final item for discussion was planning to have a fundraising event on campus. We will meet next week to finalize plans for that.

NJ-KAPPA(3110) [The College of New Jersey; advisor, James Taylor] President: Jacob Carino, Vice-president: George Thai, Secretary/Treasurer: Kimberly Feldman. After roll call at the 11 December meeting, requirements for membership in the honor society were explained to potential new members. After the official business was finished, chapter members engaged in a discussion of justice. At the February 5 meeting, the topic was relativism, particularly in regard to ethics.

NJ-LAMBDA(3111) [Rowan University; advisor, Nathan Bauer] President: Taylor Lee, Vice-president: Josiah Domico, Secretary: John Storz. Last school year, the Rowan chapter was quite active, holding a series of movie nights (co-hosted by the American Studies student club). Each movie was introduced with some brief remarks about the film’s philosophical significance. Also, with the Department of Philosophy and Religion, the chapter successfully hosted a one-day student conference on ethics that included talks by many of our members. We hope that this conference will become an annual event. In the spring, we began a weekly reading group that focused on classic texts from Analytic Philosophy. This year our main group activity has been a series of weekly philosophical chats. We decided to move away from the previous format of a reading group in the hope of lowering the barriers to participation. The new approach involves picking a philosophical topic but not assigning any readings in advance. Instead, after a short introduction to set the framework, we work through the issues together. This format has been quite successful: participation has increased, conversations have been quite lively and insightful, and meetings have served as effective recruitment opportunities.

NJ-MU(3112) [Montclair State University; advisor, Dorothy Rogers] President: Anthony Celi, Vice-president: David Glinbizzi, Secretary: Patrick Vaughn, Treasurer: Sean Reo. We considered ways to collect membership dues and the best way to contact members. Since the chapter is small, we contact members individually. We also considered class visits for giving students information about Phi Sigma Tau, as well as about the spring conference and how to get more students to present their work. The actual date of the conference will be determined at the first meeting of the spring term.

NY-ALPHA(3301) [St. Lawrence University; advisor, Laura Rediehs]  President: Jamie Tempesta, Vice-president: Luke Matys, Secretary: Ryan Ficano, Treasurer: Yichi Zhang. NY-GAMMA(3303) [SUNY at Oneonta; advisor, Jean- Paul Orgeron] At the October 29 meeting, members talked about the shirts that they will be getting. Members also talked about the Zombie Walk (October 30). The event was a success, and members enjoyed hiking and talking about philosophical zombies. We also discussed Hearts for Hope, the philanthropy event that we will have at our next meeting. We talked about the Honor Society Expo that is being organized for next semester and plan to attend and be a part of that--spread the word about Phi Sigma Tau! We planned a trip to the Union College Speaker Series for November 6 to hear Dr. Pogge’s lecture on Political Equality with dinner afterwards in Schenectady. At the February 9 meeting, members described traditions they would like to see carried on in the chapter.            We also dis- cussed the Philosophy Conference and working closely with the Philosophy Club to put on a great conference. The final topic was possible changes to our chapter bylaws.

NY-LAMBDA(3311) [Potsdam College, SUNY; advisor, Tim Murphy] NEW ADVISOR.

OH-SIGMA(3618) [Baldwin Wallace University; advisor, Kelly Coble] President: Sam Schwab, Vice- president/Secretary/Treasurer: Paul Krause. The chapter, in cooperation with the University’s Philosophy Club, held a joint event: ‘‘Philosophy and S’Mores under the Stars.’’ The event was open to all students at Baldwin Wallace and intended to generate interest in philosophy. We held our second induction for the chapter on November 14. Professor Kelly Coble reflected on the importance of philosophy and its practical value as a field of study in the liberal arts curriculum. Inductees and members also reflected on their interests or starting points in philosophy.

OR-ALPHA(3801) [Linfield College; advisor, Leonard Finkelman] NEW ADVISOR.

PA-ALPHA BETA(3926) [Lehigh University; advisor, Robin Dillon] Our chapter approved several new chapters of Phi Sigma Tau. We also discussed the Undergraduate Ethics Symposium which we are sponsoring—delegating responsibilities to members, encouraging students to participate, planning the date. We also continued to work on student outreach and discussed a spring induction ceremony.

 PA-ALPHA GAMMA(3927) [Mercyhurst University;advisor, Tibor Solymosi] NEW ADVISOR.

TX-EPSILON(4405) [University of St. Thomas; advisor, Terry R. Hall] NEW ADVISOR.

TX-NU(4413) [University of Houston—Downtown; advisor, Joseph Westfall] President: Courtney Stevens, Vice- president: Martha Hernandez, Secretary/Treasurer: Randy Krinsky.

VA-GAMMA(4703) [James Madison University; advisor, Anne M. Wiles] Phi Sigma Tau held an event on December 4: students from the Honors Introduction to Philosophy performed a stage reading of Plato’s Symposium. Several philosophy students attended. After the reading, the audience was given a chance to ask questions. At our February 5 meeting, we discussed programs for the spring term. There are three scheduled meetings. On April 3, Eric Moore, Longwood College, will speak on ‘‘Why Lance Armstrong Didn’t Cheat.’’ On April 9, Jude Dougherty (Catholic University) and Michael Gubser (James Madison) will present a session as part of a conference on Tolerance; this program is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Culture. On April 17, the chapter, along with the Department of Philosophy and Religion, will sponsor a talk by Nathaniel Goldberg (Washington and Lee), ‘‘Should We Study the History of Philosophy?’’ Additionally, Phi Sigma Tau members wanted to have some events where members could talk about philosophical topics. The first meeting for that will be on February 19. Kevin Yao will be sending an article by John Rawls to Phi Sigma Tau members and will lead a discussion based on that article. After spring break, members will discuss Camus’ The Stranger.

WA-GAMMA(4803) [Eastern Washington University; advisor, Terrance MacMullan] President: Vladimir V. Titkov, Vice-President: Russell G. Webster, II, Secretary: Gregory Vanwagenen. After the elections, the President talked about membership dues and benefits. Then, chapter members discussed epistemological pluralism and American pragmatism, as well as foundationalist epistemology and contemporary arguments for evidentialism.

WI-ALPHA(5001) [Marquette University; advisor, Grant Silva] NEW ADVISOR.

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April Dialogue

We look forward to a great issue. The copy for the issue has been sent to the press already, and we will distribute copies as soon as they are available. Our editor, Dr. Steve Barbone, has worked diligently to select and prepare the articles for the issue and would like to thank all who have provided the articles and reviews for the issue.    Dialogue is dedicated to student publication; articles are not accepted from faculty or from those who have completed doctoral degrees in philosophy. In this issue, you can see some of the excellent work that your colleagues are doing, and we hope that you will be encouraged to submit your own best work for possible publication in a future issue of Dialogue. As always, our journal depends upon the willingness of students to share their work, and the journal also provides a way for you to begin your publication record.

Articles to appear in the April issue include:

Refuting Modern Psychological Claims against Free Will.

  Abraham Collier, Brigham Young University.

Nietzsche, Truth, and Good.

  John August Fritzsch, College of New Jersey.

Using Rule-Following in Language and Aesthetics: A Wittgensteinian Approach.

  Jude Galbraith, University of Dallas.

Drone Strikes in the War on Terror: A Just War Analysis.

  Tyler Head, Rockhurst University

Reframing Moral Conflict: Loyalties in the Abortion Debate.

  Ariel Hirsh, Ohio Wesleyan University.

Levinas’ Conception of Radical Alterity as a Solution to the Meno Paradox.

  Sarah E. Horton, Grove City College.

On Self-Deception: Contradiction on the Spectrum of Beliefs.

  Jane Lee, Muhlenberg College.

The Body of the Believer as Object and Target of Power: A Foucauldian Approach to Religious Discourse.

  Dora Suárez, Georgia Southern University.

Self-Reference and the Retention of Personhood: A Reexamination of Arendtian Total Domination.

  Aaron Paul Sullivan, Georgia State University.

Moral Minimalism: An Examination of Rawls in Terms of Positive and Negative Rights.

  Edward Wang, University of British Columbia.

This issue will also include reviews by Sean Butler, Harold M. Green, Hannah Haejin Kim, Caroline Moore, Kevin Siefert, and Ryan Woods. Reviews are a good way to become acquainted with some of the secondary literature, and a great review may let you know that you really need to read the whole book. If you enjoy some of the reviews, please consider writing a review yourself of a book listed on the BOOKS RECEIVED pages of the journal. By committing yourself to writing a review, you are providing information to those who may not have read the book as well as getting to keep the book for your own library (and books can be expensive).

§ § §

Finances of Phi Sigma Tau

Phi Sigma Tau is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) and as a member is committed to upholding the ideals of ACHS. One of those ideals is the ideal of transparency, especially in regard to finances. The members of the Executive Council of Phi Sigma Tau are all volunteers for the organization; though expenses are reimbursed, no salaries or other benefits are paid to those volunteers. In addition, we have no paid staff; all staff work is done on a voluntary basis. This has allowed us to retain some earnings for several years because in the future it will probably be necessary to hire at least some staff; the work of the organization has increased over the years and is beginning to exceed our voluntary capacity.

Another part of the financial transparency includes letting the members of Phi Sigma Tau know where the money actually goes. To that end, we have included a thumbnail sketch of the expenses of the organization; however, this is an account to the end of the last complete fiscal year. As you can note, the majority of our expenses, in accordance with the plans of the Executive Council, are with our journal. Though some societies have gone to all on-line publications, our Executive Council still plans to print hard copies of the journal and send a copy of it to each member of an active chapter. The Executive Council wants to encourage students to begin a publication career, especially those students who plan to continue with graduate study. To that end, our journal provides an opportunity for students to publish their work. We are proud that this year we have published twenty-two student-written papers and seven book reviews.

2013-2014 Financial Report

(Category)                          (Dollars)       (Percent)


Initiation fees                    29,275.00            94.90

Dialogue subscriptions          146.15              0.48

NAC dues                              309.00              1.00

Charter fees                       1,000.00              3.24

Gifts                                        20.00               0.07

Retained Earnings         148,773.41 (not included)

Other income                          97.00               0.31

Total                              179,620.56           100.00


Supplies                            1,003.49               5.29

Printing costs                       682.08               3.59

Postage                            2,109.33              11.11

Dialogue costs                13,796.30              72.69

ACHS dues/expenses          871.00                4.59

Website                                192.00                1.01

Other expenses                    327.00                1.72

Total                                18,981.20            100.00

Retained Earnings                $ 160,639.36


International Honor Society in Philosophy

Dr. David E. Gibson, Humanities Division

Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy

Malibu, CA 90263-4225

[email protected]


Newsletter A listing of email addresses for chapter advisors is available in the email version of the current newsletter.