SAAP at Advancing Public Philosophy Conference in Washington DC

D. Hildebrand (SAAP Communications Director),  J. Kegley (SAAP President), K. Stikkers (SAAP President-elect)

SAAP was well-represented at a recent conference on “Advancing Publicly Engaged Philosophy” held in Washington, D.C. October 6-8, 2011. This conference, the first for the Public Philosophy Network, was a mix of formal and informal sessions on various issues in practical philosophy, including concrete projects and political problems as well as discussions of larger philosophical questions about how to engage in philosophical activity outside the academy. The conference was co-chaired by two people very active in American philosophy: Noelle McAfee, of Emory University and Andrew Light, a SAAP member from George Mason University and the Center for American Progress.

A SAAP sponsored panel was presented on “Pragmatism as a Publicly Engaged Philosophy.”  For this panel, President Elect Ken Stikkers (Southern Illinois University” talked about “John Dewey and the Public Responsibility of Philosophers,” focusing on Dewey’s  discussion of establishing a “public” and defining the meaning of “publics.”  David Hidebrand (University of Colorado, Denver) talked about “Journalism’s Destructive Addiction to Fake Objectivity” stressing a useful notion of “pragmatic objectivity as a better criteria for journalistic endeavors.  President Jackie Kegley (California State University, Bakersfield), discussed “Royce as a Public Philosopher,” focusing on his recommendations for building community through interpretation and she used the work of the Kegley Institute of Ethics as a concrete exemplification of this philosophy.

In addition, Paul Thompson from Michigan State University was on the Conference Committee and also chaired a workshop on “Philosophers Working in Collaborative Research Teams.”  Richard Hart, Bloomfield College, and John Shook (George Mason University) also chaired workshops- Richard on “Public Philosophy in Other Genres,” and John on “Philosophical Debate with Religion.  Judith Green, Fordham University, chaired a session on “Speech and Knowledge in Public Life.” Eric Weber (University of Mississippi who gave a paper on "Philosophical Influence on Culture," and Jonathan Moreno who led a workshop on Bioethics and Biopolitics.  SAAP members David Woods and Kathleen Wallace were also present at the meeting as discussants in workshop sessions.
The meeting ended with strong encouragement to spread the word about the network and to remain creatively engaged with the project of advancing philosophy into public arenas and problems.  Information for anyone interested can be found at http://Publicphilosophynetwork.com

Jacquelyn Kegley, President, SAAP

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