Monthly Archives: March 2013

March 28, 2013

An exciting course about William Blake from Professor Jesse…

Dear PHRE majors and minors,

My PHRE 476 seminar on William Blake’s religious thought is open for registration for Fall semester. The open course listing for PHRE courses does not include the name of the seminar but if you click on the “476 seminar” listing, you’ll find the correct information for the class. Here’s a description:

PHRE 476: Seminar in Philosophy and Religion: William Blake’s Religious Thought

This course takes an interdisciplinary religion, literature, and aesthetics approach to selected works of the English Romantic poet, painter, and engraver William Blake (1757-1827). We will attend to both the visual and verbal dimensions of his works, focusing specifically on their theological aspects. This is a seminar course designed for majors and minors in PHRE, English Literature, Art, or Art History. There will be very little lecture; the majority of our time together will be spent on individual presentations and seminar discussions based on the assigned passages. Requirements include active class participation, and an interpretive research project presented orally and in writing.

We’ll meet on Mondays from 6:00 to 8:50 p.m.

If you have any questions about the course, just drop me an email!

Prof. Jesse

March 20, 2013

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar and philosopher Tyler Burge to visit Truman

Phi Beta Kappa, the national honorary society championing the liberal arts, has chosen Truman as a participant in PBK’s 2012-2013 Visiting Scholars program.  Truman joins just 88 other colleges and universities across the nation in hosting a two-day visit from a nationally recognized scholar.

The scholar chosen to visit Truman is Tyler Burge, an internationally well-known and respected UCLA philosopher in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and metaphysics & epistemology.

Dr. Burge will be on Truman’s campus March 21 and 22.  In addition to visiting various classes, he will be giving the following two talks:

Public address
“Perception:  Origins of Mind”
Baldwin Hall Little Theater
March 21, 7:30 PM

Talk abstract: I sketch two notions of representation.  One applies to states of plants and bacteria as well as to psychological states.  The other applies exclusively to distinctively psychological states.  I hold that the latter type of representation marks one of the two primary marks of the mental.  (The other mark is consciousness.)  I argue that representation in a distinctively psychological sense emerges first in perception.  I sketch some primary features of perception, with special reference to findings of the science of perceptual psychology.  I maintain that empirical work indicates that perception, hence representational mind, first emerges in relatively simple animals­arthropods.

Student / faculty “brown bag” lunchtime discussion
“Propositional Attitudes and Reason”
SUB Activities Room (SUB 3200)
March 22, 12:00 PM

Talk abstract: I discuss the classical conception of reason as expressed by Leibniz and Kant, with an eye to reflecting on reason as a natural psychological kind.  According to this conception, (1) reasons have propositional form; (2) they are constitutively associated with propositional inference; (3) they are explanatory as well as justificatory; (4) they are constitutively open to recognition through reflection by any individual that has them; (5) they are distinctive to human beings, at least among terrestrial animals; and (6) they are always true propositions.  I accept the first three claims and reject the last three.  This paper is focused on the areas of agreement.  It lays the groundwork for the disagreements.

Please contact Chad Mohler at with any questions about Dr. Burge’s time on campus.

Dr. Burge’s visit is made possible by Phi Beta Kappa-Delta of Missouri Chapter, the School of Social and Cultural Studies, the Provost’s Office, and the Dr. Charles McClain Fund.

March 6, 2013

Bioethics talk on Wednesday, March 20

“Dr. Watson”:
A.I., Ethics, and the Future of Medicine

Wednesday, March 20, 11:30am-1pm
SUB 3202

The talk is free and open to the public.  While a meal will not be served, you are welcome to bring your lunch to the talk.  Contact Dr. Dereck Daschke,, 785-6005 if you have any questions.

Amy Michelle DeBaets is an assistant professor of bioethics at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, one of the nation’s oldest and largest osteopathic medical schools. Dr. DeBaets’s teaching and research interests include religion and bioethics, national and international health policy, and emerging technology ethics. She received her Ph.D. in religion from Emory University and has taught medical ethics at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She previously worked as the director of information technology for a risk management consulting group. Dr. DeBaets has been named a Faculty Scholar in the University of Chicago Program on Medicine and Religion for 2013-2015.