Regarding the statement on the collective bargaining of contingent faculty

In our December meeting, the AGSP voted to draft a statement regarding the ongoing discussion of the collective bargaining of contingent faculty at Loyola. The current state of that draft is as follows:

“The Association of Graduate Students in Philosophy affirms the right of contingent faculty at LUC to collectively bargain under representation of SEIU.”

Any comments or suggested emendations may be forwarded to Jean Clifford at or Katherine Brichachek at The comment period will end this Sunday, the 17th.

For those wanting additional information, here are some links.

The webpage for SEIU:

– See also the page specifiacaly for SEIU activity in Chicago:

– The situation via LUC:

CFP: Contemporary European Philosophy Workshop, UChicago

We are pleased to announce that the Contemporary European Philosophy Workshop will be returning from its year-long hiatus this coming Fall quarter. The CEPW seeks to foster a space of ongoing and genuinely interdisciplinary dialog among students and faculty from across the humanities and social sciences working with and within Continental philosophical traditions. On behalf of our two new faculty sponsors, Sarah Hammerschlag (Divinity) and Raoul Moati (Philosophy), and our long-time advisor Arnold Davidson (Philosophy), we would like to invite both general participation and paper submissions from graduate students working in all disciplines to present at our biweekly meeting for the academic year.

The aim of the workshop is twofold: First, to give students the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their work in the context of a supportive conversation with colleagues and peers; second, to have a regular occasion to meet and discuss European philosophy in its historical and contemporary development, its relationship to other philosophical traditions, and the central theoretical role it has come to play in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

Our format for the Fall will consist of an initial introduction and plenary meeting, followed by a second meeting in which our three faculty advisors lead the group in reading a relevant philosophical text from the 20th-century Continental tradition. From the third meeting on, the workshop will be wholly devoted to graduate student presentations, and beginning in the Winter quarter we will also host invited guest speakers from other institutions in Chicago and elsewhere.  The CEPW sessions typically take one of three forms: 1) a presentation of a graduate student paper, and commentary from a colleague, 2) discussion of a text by a major European thinker, or 3) a talk given by an invited guest speaker.  Possible figures to be discussed include: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Gadamer, Hadot, Heidegger, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir, Sartre, Kristeva, Irigaray, and Fanon, amongst others.

We will meet every other Wednesday from 3-5pm, and will announce our exact room in September.  Please be in touch with us if you require any assistance in attending the workshop. If you would like to be added to the CEPW list-host, please visit the university list-serve management page at, or email the coordinators at

We welcome submissions from all departments, and from both PhD and MA students, visiting graduate students, Harper-Schmidt fellows, visiting scholars, and other members of the wider, cross-disciplinary philosophical community.  Again, at the moment we are particularly interested in graduate student submissions, as graduate student work will be the workshop’s focus for the fall.

We look forward to seeing you in the Fall.

Happy Finals Week and Summer Break!

The last week of the regular semester is over, and now it’s the Finals rush of e-mails, grading, and summeritis. Hang in there!

The Department of Philosophy end-of-year celebration for the graduate program is this Thursday, April 30, at 4:30 p.m. in the Rambler Room (in the Damen Center).

This blog will be updated less frequently over the summer. If you have announcements that you wish to be posted prior to August 1, please e-mail the current Webmaster, Corbin Casarez, at In the new academic year, we will have a new Webmaster, Jay Carlson, and the faculty profile series will resume. In the meantime: be well, do well!

Professionalization Opportunities

The Department of Philosophy is offering two opportunities to develop your professional skills for an academic career.

On Monday, April 20, 1:00-2:300, in Crown 530, there will be a publishing workshop, facilitated by a panel of Loyola faculty.

On Tuesday, April 21, 10:30 a.m., in Crown 530, there will be a meeting for anyone wanting to enter the job market next year.

Please take advantage of these opportunities. Good turnout encourages more events like these.

Faculty Profile: Victoria Wike

Dr. Victoria Wike is Professor and Graduate Program Director at Loyola University Chicago. She kindly agreed to participate in AGSP’s Faculty Profile Series. Her faculty page is here:

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AGSP:    Thank you for participating in our Faculty Profile Series. Because you serve as the Graduate Program Director at Loyola, most if not all of us have interacted with you on a professional level, but focused on our needs and concerns. We’re excited to turn the attention back to you.  How did you decide to go into academic philosophy?

VW:       I found philosophy because the small liberal arts college I attended had a required series of Humanities courses.  I got started teaching thanks to the confidence of a teacher of mine.  As an upper-classman, I applied for a filing job in the philosophy department and the chair told me, no, we want you to be a discussion leader for the Humanities course.  After college, I was awarded an ITT-Fulbright grant to study philosophy in Paris where I completed a Licence degree and heard Foucault and Derrida lecture.  Then I came back to grad school at Penn State where I became interested in Kant and left behind the French philosophers!

AGSP:    From discussion leader to full professor and graduate director! What brought you to Loyola University Chicago?

VW:       I came to LUC straight from grad school, thanks to Ardis Collins who contacted one of my teachers about job openings.  That year, there were four new hires in the philosophy department.   At the time, I was keen on teaching at a small liberal arts college, but I found that there are definite advantages to being at a larger mission-driven university like Loyola.  For one thing, philosophy is valued here, so we’re not at the fringes of the university.  For another thing, a large department like ours means that we have a variety of specializations and teaching styles available to students.  It also means no faculty member has to do everything…if your area is modern, nobody is going to ask you to teach ancient.

AGSP:    I imagine that enables you to focus on your research interests. What is your area of specialization, and what are you currently working on?

VW:       My primary area of specialization is Kant’s moral philosophy and in terms of teaching is bioethics.  On Kant, I’m working on Robert Johnson’s claim that the derivation of the duty to self-improve involves the premise that one is pursuing one’s own happiness, and in bioethics I’m looking at the virtue of humility in medicine. I’m always interested in the pieces on the edges of Kant’s philosophy that get overlooked in the big picture view…pieces like the highest good, friendship, moral education, and philanthropy.


AGSP:    What do you enjoy most about being a professional philosopher?

VW:       I think a really wonderful thing about being an academic is the variability and flexibility of the work.  There are such a variety of opportunities that arise and there are so many different possible ways in which one can work.  So, in my own experience, I’ve done research, taught, and administered programs (the Bioethics Minor, and now the Grad Program), served on College and University committees that revised the core curriculum, reviewed faculty appeals, awarded fellowships, and I’ve taught at the Rome Center, traveled on faculty-staff international trips, single authored and co-authored publications, created new courses, etc.

AGSP:    Wow, that is a wide variety of opportunities! Probably many aspiring philosophers are attracted by the life of contemplation—which tends to be equated with “research” in contemporary parlance. But as you point out, there are so many more responsibilities, and privileges, from the academic life. Take teaching for instance: what is the most important thing that you hope students take away from your classes?

VW:       The main thing for me, especially at the undergrad level where we can’t presuppose this in students, is to try to have students do philosophy and not just learn about philosophy.  Obviously they need to read and study philosophers, but I’m willing to sacrifice some of the details of the content of what they are reading in order to encourage them to analyze, assess, defend a claim, and so forth.  I try to give students lots of opportunities to respond. In health care ethics courses, I have them do assignments where they read an editorial and then justify their agreement or disagreement with the author.  Students also work in small groups on class presentations and all written assignments are essay based—no multiple choice or true/false questions.  I want the students in my courses to be able to explain, qualify, critique, and evaluate various ethical and philosophical positions, and to do so, I think, they need opportunities to talk and write.  Even in graduate courses, I ask students to present summaries of their final papers in class and do peer responses to others’ papers.

AGSP:    It is easy to think of philosophy as content, and forget that it is an activity, one which requires practice. Let’s shift gears. How do you like to spend your time when you’re not doing philosophy?

VW:       I like to travel.  My family and I went to Guam in December to visit our daughter who was on a work assignment there. I also like to cook and bake, walk, and read fiction and nonfiction. Currently, I am planning a walking tour on the coast of Wales—combining travel and walking!  Oh, and I should say, I enjoy watching sports; I believe I am the only philosophy faculty member with season tickets to the Loyola men’s basketball games. Go Ramblers!

 Rambler Mascot

AGSP:    Well, we have benefited from your baking—we appreciate the cookies you bring to meetings! In closing, what advice would you give to aspiring academic philosophers?

VW:       Don’t take forever to complete your dissertation.  Your dissertation is not your life’s work, but a step towards it.  Also, find your own style.  Not everybody has to research or teach in the same way.  Go with your strengths.

AGSP:    Well, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us. Go Ramblers!

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Upcoming PRG Event

The Phenomenology Research Group is proud to present another workshop on Monday, April 20:

PRG Symons_April 20

This Friday: HOPR

The next session of the History of Philosophy Roundtable will take place this Friday at 3:45 p.m. in Crown 530. Peter Hartman will facilitate discussion on his work-in-progress, “Cognition and Causation: Ockham and Buridan on Content.” This is the last of the HOPR series scheduled for this spring term.

History of Philosophy Roundtable

The flurry of events this week continues! HOPR is meeting again this Friday (March 27), where Dr. Kristen Irwin will present her paper, “The Implication of Bayle’s Skepticism for Moral Knowledge.”

Crown 530, 3:45-5:00 p.m.

Contact Dr. Irwin ( if you would like a draft of the paper in advance.

Undergraduate Research Workshop

On Thursday, March 26, two more students will be presenting their research in Crown 530, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Nina Darner, “Nestedness and Infinity in Leibniz’s Natural Machines”

Anna Ulyanenkova, “The Value of Bio-Parenting: Homosexuals’ Right to State Mandated Infertility Services”

Come support our undergraduates. (And refreshments will be provided.)

Grant Lecture: Dr. Eric Chwang

Dr. Eric Chwang will presenting this year’s Grant Lecture, sponsored by the John F. Grant, MD, Endowment for the study of Health Care Ethics. [edit, 3/23: The title of the presentation has been updated.]

“Consent as Exclusively Mental”

Eric Chwang, MD, PhD

March 25, 2015

2:30-4:30 p.m.

Information Commons, 4th Floor

PRG Seminar This Week

PRG Casarez_Russo 3_19_15

Faculty Profile: Kristen Irwin

Dr. Kristen Irwin joined Loyola as Assistant Professor in Philosophy this past fall, and she has already been an active member of the Department. She offered a workshop last semester for graduate students regarding professionalization and organized the History of Philosophy Roundtable (HOPR), a series of workshops in which faculty and students can present their work in progress. Her faculty page is here:

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AGSP:    Hi, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Though still only in your first year at Loyola, you have been contributing significantly to the climate and activity of the Department. We, the graduate students, are grateful for your active participation, and for this opportunity to get to know you better. Let’s start with your research interests: your faculty page indicates your interest in 17th and 18th century philosophy and your current work on Locke and Bayle. Would you care to elaborate on your interests?

KI:          I am especially interested in 17th century philosophy. The vision of philosophy at that time was very big and systematic—attempting to present a unified whole, which is in contrast to the way contemporary philosophy tends to be compartmentalized into its various subdisciplines and topics. I liked that thinkers of that time combined rigor with both a deep and a wide scope of inquiry; they dabbled in every area.

AGSP:    So those are the broad strokes, but what are you working on now?

KI:          Currently I have five “balls in the air”—projects in progress: Leibniz on religious toleration; Pierre Bayle on moral knowledge (which I will be presenting to the American Society for 18th Century Studies and at HOPR); Locke’s religious epistemology; an Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Bayle; and Locke and Bayle on religious toleration, which I used for my job talk last year and am fine-tuning. These smaller projects are all related to two big projects which are my current long-term goals: a monograph on Bayle which treats him as an interesting philosopher in his own right, and not just as an interlocutor for more well-known figures; and a survey of arguments for religious toleration from the 17th century. (Though Bayle is included in this latter work as well, I am considering both the variety of conceptions of what constitutes religious toleration and the variety of grounds or reasons for advocating for toleration.)

Pierre Bayle

AGSP:    I can see how these larger projects run through and unify the others. Interesting issues! How did you come to be interested in philosophy and in 17th century philosophy in particular? Who or what were your influences?

KI:          Well, dumb luck plays a large role in my story! I initially wanted to be a lawyer, but at my undergraduate institution there was no pre-law major, so my options were political science and philosophy. I didn’t enjoy political science, so I majored in philosophy. Between my sophomore and junior years, I interned for a law firm, which was really informative. It wasn’t that I didn’t like what they did; it was that I didn’t want to become that kind of person. So I decided to stay with philosophy.

I got into a Ph.D. program with full funding (UC-San Diego), which was known for its strengths in philosophy of mind. I had a French minor already, and Don Rutherford was a well-regarded scholar, so I decided to focus on the history of modern philosophy. Don was tough but kind, and I respected his work ethic and intellect. Initially I was interested in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, but Don taught me to see how interesting the 17th century was and how holistic its concerns were. I am still interested in Kant, and particularly in his notion of epistemic humility, which I think is closely related to skepticism of various kinds. Kant emphasized that there are limits to reason; this is something that I think most philosophers today agree on, though we disagree on what these limits are. This is an especially important issue to me because, in my experience, philosophers are particularly susceptible to epistemic pride!

AGSP:    Thanks for that intellectual biography. Perhaps you could share more of your personal biography—how did you come to Loyola?

KI:          In Fall 2008, I entered the job market. I applied to eighty jobs. It was a trying ordeal, and included some of the types of experiences reported on the blog, “What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy?” ( I didn’t exactly recognize how difficult the experience was at the time—I had just gotten engaged and was fresh from graduate school, so it wasn’t until I had some reflective distance that I realized just how difficult and often inappropriate parts of that process were. I did obtain a tenure-track position at Biola University, where I made very good friends. I had started a quarterly women’s philosophy night in graduate school, and so I continued this focus at Biola by starting up a “Professor Mommy” reading and discussion group.  In addition to reading “Professor Mommy,” we brought in guest speakers and discussed strategies for how to flourish amidst the many commitments and dimensions of work and life.

The position at Biola required a 4-4 teaching load, which I enjoyed, but which really squeezed my time for research. In Fall 2013, I submitted ten job applications, and it was a very different experience already having a job! I was in a less perilous position and experienced less desperation; it was a much healthier process. I also had a realization that life would be okay even if I didn’t have a job in philosophy. I would still be able to follow other passions, like possibly work for a non-profit fighting human trafficking—something that may pay less but which would both benefit both me and the organization. I did, however, end up getting this position at Loyola.

AGSP:    Speaking of the trials of job searches… You have taken an active interest in providing resources for professional development for students. A somewhat common experience among graduate students in philosophy, it seems, is a certain disillusionment when the romantic ideals of the contemplative life, or of philosophy as an engaged way of life, is confronted by the contemporary reality of professional, academic philosophy. Do you think there is anything to the distinction between philosophy as a profession and philosophy as a passion?

KI:          Oh yes. Some of the most cynical philosophers I have met were also initially some of the most idealistic. Academia is less romantic than we think, but it is a job. Being a professional is an aspect of life for anyone in white collar positions in the 21st century; higher education is not exempt. But this is not *necessarily* a bad thing. You can think about how to be professional without betraying who you are.

My experience on the job market informed my view of professionalization both positively and negatively. Positively, when I was entering the job market for the first time, UCSD provided a “job market shepherd,” someone who attended the APA (American Philosophical Association, where many job interviews take place) to support us applicants, and who helped us cope with and survive the process. I noticed along the way that there were norms associated with the job market that I was expected to follow, but which had not been made explicit. I guess the idea was to learn them through osmosis, which is not an optimal way to do it!  Thus, negatively, I learned that the discipline needs to be better about making the expectations and norms of the process more explicit. People come from very different backgrounds, and just because someone is passionate about philosophy doesn’t mean that they are prepared for or familiar with the professional expectations of the discipline.

AGSP:    So do you have any advice for passionate philosophers also aspiring to be professionals?

KI:          Well, the big thing is to figure out who you are and how to communicate that to others. You don’t have to change your passions, but you do want to present a more polished version of who you already are. This is a techne, a skill you learn. You have to practice it in order to get better.

AGSP:    Let’s switch gears and talk about your non-philosophical interests. What do you like to do when you’re not doing research, teaching classes, or fulfilling professional obligations?

KI:          Well, I don’t have as much time for hobbies as I used to! But I have competed in triathlons, and I’m considering entering the Chicago triathlon in August. I enjoy cycling and running, and I do yoga twice a week. I enjoy the outdoors—I miss the beach, and being able to watch the sun set over the water.

San Diego Beach

I also have an almost-five-year-old son, Adam. On the “introvert/extrovert” spectrum, Adam is an “übervert”!  Every day on the train we make a new friend. He’s very cheerful and energetic, and I really enjoy him.

AGSP:    That’s excellent! Any final thoughts, anything you want everyone to know that we haven’t discussed?

KI:          Just that I have an open door policy. If anyone has any questions for me, especially about professionalization (or 17th century philosophy), please come see me!

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DePaul Graduate Student Conference 2015

Inaugural HOPR Session

Loyola’s History of Philosophy Roundtable (HOPR) kicks off its series of talks this spring on Friday, March 13, at 3:45 p.m. in Crown 530. This Friday, Jason Rheins will present “No Design without a World-soul: Plato’s Panpsychic Solution to the Presocratics’ ‘Implementation of Intellect’ Problem.”

Upcoming sessions of HOPR are already scheduled for March 27 (Peter Hartman, “Cognition and Causation: Ockham and Buridan on Content”) and April 10 (Kristen Irwin, “The Implications of Bayle’s Qualified Academic Skepticism for Conscience, Moral Knowledge, and Toleration”).

For more information about HOPR, or to be added to the HOPR email listserv, contact Kristen Irwin at

More Upcoming Colloquia

On Friday, February 27, Dr. Erica Tucker (Marquette) will be presenting on “The Role of the ‘Multitude’ in Spinoza’s Political Philosophy,” at 1:30 p.m. in Mundelein 608. In preparation, the Metaethics Reading Group is reading some of Dr. Tucker’s work on normativity and discussing it prior to the presentation. For more details, please contact David Atenasio at

Then, on Wednesday, March 4, the Phenomenology Research Group is sponsoring a double feature:

Cuneo 111, 2:30 – 5:00
“Intentionality and Constitution in Merleau-Ponty’s Late Work”
Dimitris Apostolopoulos (Notre Dame)

“Racism at the Level of Passive Synthesis”
Dr. Harry Nethery (Florida Southern College)