Author Archives: Rebecca Valeriano-Flores

Graduate Summer Research Awards

Congratulations to the graduate students who received research awards for the summer of 2019!

Alec Stubbs, fourth year PhD student

Alec’s research focuses on the anti-democratic nature of what he is calling “technocapitalism,” viz., an emerging form of capitalism characterized by the incessant collection of information and data, the scalability of the technocapitalist infrastructure leading to oligopolistic tendencies and capital accumulation, and the externalization of labor to a distributed market of precarious laborers. The goal is to provide a Marxian critique of these basic features of technocapitalism, demonstrate how these structures undermine participatory democracy, and then provide details about how we might structure more democratic alternatives to harness technology for the many rather than the few.

Claire Lockard, fourth year PhD student

Claire is spending part of the summer at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Cittá de Castello, located in the Umbria region of Italy. While there, she will be studying works by Hannah Arendt, Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Franz Fanon, and Jacques Derrida — lectures are held by leading scholars of each figure. She will also present what a portion of her dissertation: an exploration of a tension that has emerged in her work on the uses and misuses of interpretative charity in academic philosophy. One the one hand, the call for interpretative charity in academic philosophy can (re)produce unjust social, political, and epistemic conditions. On the other hand, the rejection of interpretative altogether can be a distancing strategy that relies on a politics of purity that, in the end, cannot produce a generative approach to problematic texts or thinkers. Claire is excited to work through this tension with her fellow Collegium participants, and to discover new ways that the topics and thinkers to be covered at the Collegium will inform her research.

Gina Lebkuecher, second year PhD student

Gina is developing a paper exploring the work of ancient Chinese Confucian philosopher Mengzi (Mencius), with the goal of showing how an integration of his ethics into (often Western-centric) virtue ethics canon can improve understanding of virtue as a cultivation of natural sensitivity which strengthens and informs the Western model. Through a combination with John McDowell, she argues that Mengzi’s philosophy provides a new understanding not only of the nature of the virtues but also the role of emotion, reason, and the will in virtue cultivation, thus also providing a more comprehensive understanding of how we can come to understand and improve our own virtues. The aim of this paper is not only to provide a comparative study of these two philosophers, but also to demonstrate the value of integrating Mengzi’s work into the philosophy classroom; the paper was presented at the Multicultural Philosophy Conference in Manchester, UK  (July 2019).

Drew Thompson on Zero Tolerance Migration Policy

Graduate student Drew Thompson wrote an article for the Ethics and International Affairs Journal: “The Zero Tolerance Migration Policy: Two Moral Objections.” In the article, Thompson discusses the Trump administration’s policy that allows migrant children to be separated from their parents:

Ethical debates about migration concern a number of reasonable disagreements over whether—and the extent to which—political communities have the right to enforce their borders. What is hardly ever in doubt, even among those who support the “right to exclude” (at least those who defend the right on moral terms), is that there are limits to a political community’s exercise of this right: states cannot use force against those seeking asylum or basic human rights protection, and some means of policing borders are morally unacceptable.

Although I am skeptical of arguments in defense of the right to exclude, here, I will assume that a convincing argument can be given. On this assumption, I will evaluate the Trump administration’s current zero-tolerance migration policy, which entails the separation of migrant children from their parents. I raise two moral objections to the policy, though this is certainly not an exhaustive list. First, I argue that the policy interferes with the United States’ duties to foreigners suffering human rights deprivations. Secondly, I argue that the policy—subjecting children to trauma as a means of deterrence—is an impermissible means of enforcing what may be an otherwise legitimate goal. The ends do not always justify the means, especially when children are involved.

Read the entire article on the Ethics and International Affairs website.

Congrats! Philosophy Grad Awards

Congratulations to Dr. Ndidi Nwaneri, Justin Nordin, and David Atenasio for their awards this year!

Dr. Ndidi Nwaneri was awarded the Dissertation of the Year in Humanities Award and Justin Nordin was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award, both from the Graduate School. David Atenasio was awarded the Philosophy Graduate Student Teaching Award from the Philosophy Department.

Next Wednesday: Diversity in the Classroom Workshop

The Philosophy Department is hosting a lunchtime workshop with Dr. Christopher Manning on diversity issues in the classroom. Whether it’s how to get students to have productive conversations about race or gender in the classroom, or how to rebuild the classroom dynamic when you misgender one of your students, there’s a bunch of things we can all learn about to become more effective teachers. Lunch will be served!

Workshop is Wednesday April 11, 12-1:30 PM in Crown 200 East (2nd floor of Crown, across from the auditorium).

This event is intended for Loyola graduate students and faculty. Please RSVP to Jay Carlson (

Recent publication: Sean Petranovich, “Trust and Betrayal from a Husserlian Standpoint”

Recent graduate Sean Petranovich recently published “Trust and Betrayal from a Husserlian Standpoint” in the International Journal of Philosophical Studies! The article can be found at the International Journal of Philosophical Studies. Great work, Sean! Here’s the abstract:

This paper provides an interpretation of trust and betrayal within political communities from the perspective of Husserl’s concept of social communities. I situate the paper amidst Margaret Gilbert’s theory of political obligations, arguing that at least one outside conception of trust fills a gap left in her theory. More specifically, I argue for the supplementary fit that Karen Jones’s conception of trust understood as ‘basal security’ provides for Gilbert. From there, I tie this conception of trust and betrayal to Husserl’s notions of ‘original belief’ and socio-cultural crisis. There is thereby a phenomenological elucidation of features within the social world that allow such crises to occur in the first place.

Tomorrow: two events in the Philosophy Department!

The Philosophy Department’s History of Philosophy Roundtable (HOPR) presents Peter Rosa (LUC), “A Mereological Reading of Spinoza’s Metaphysic” at 2:35! 

Please note the format of this roundtable: A draft of the presenter’s work will be circulated around one week ahead of the roundtable. During the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting, the presenter will situate the project of the paper in its research context and suggest directions for helpful feedback. The remaining hour will then be a discussion based on the attendees’ reading of the draft, along the lines suggested by the presenter.

For more information and to be added to the HOPR e-mail list, please e-mail Peter Hartman ( or Kristen Irwin ( 

The Phenomenology Research Group (PRG) presents Kay Park (LUC), “Sellars and McDowell on Kant’s conception of sensation” at 4:00! 

McDowell follows Sellars’s suggestion that intuitions should be construed as conceptual representations in Kant’s dominant usage of the term. For Kant often construes an intuition as a representation of an individual object, and takes such a representation to be the result of the synthesis of the productive imagination which follows the rules derived from the concepts of the understanding.

However, McDowell disagrees with Sellars’s interpretation of the notion of sensation which Kant characterizes as the matter of an empirical intuition. First, while Sellars argues that Kant implicitly presupposes the existence of sensations which do not involve the synthesis of the productive imagination, McDowell argues that such a postulation of the non-conceptual cannot be attributed to Kant. Second, while Sellars argues that the postulation of the non-conceptual representations of sheer receptivity is necessary in order to make the receptive aspects of our perceptual experience intelligible, McDowell argues that the receptive or non-discursive aspects of our perceptual experience can and should be explained in terms of the conceptual capacities operating in our empirical intuitions.

In this paper, I defend Wilfrid Sellars’s suggestions against McDowell’s conceptualist reading of Kant. First, I argue that Kant presupposes the existence of sensation which is not structured in terms of spatiotemporal intuitions through the analysis of Kant’s theories of intensive magnitude and transcendental reflection. Second, although McDowell’s conceptualist approach of an intuition attempts to secure the receptive aspects of our sensory intuition by characterizing it as comprising a non-discursive content, I argue that a conceptual content which is not discursive cannot be conceived. 

Today at 3:30: Gregory Pence (University of Alabama-Birmingham)

The Philosophy Department is pleased to announce a presentation by Dr. Gregory Pence (University of Alabama at Birmingham): “Is a Famous Study in Neuroscience by American Researchers like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study?”

Monday, March 19th at 3:30 PM
Crown Center Auditorium 

From his UAB page: Gregory Pence studied applied ethics with famous ethicist Peter Singer at NYU and helped found the new field of bioethics. For 34 years he taught a required, graded course to 200 medical students at UAB. Between 1984-1985 he chaired the Board of Directors at Birmingham AIDS Outreach, and from 1985 to 1995 the UAB Speakers Committee.

He is known in bioethics for his best-selling Medical Ethics textbook, now in its 27th year and eighth edition, and his defense of humane biotechnology, such as cloning and genetically modified crops. In 2000 he testified against bills to criminalize cloning before Congress and before the California Senate. He then defended cloning on national television on the CBS Morning Show, Talk Back with Gretta Van Susteren, and CNN News with Wolf Blitzer. He has published over seventy op-ed essays including ones in NewsweekNew York TimesLos Angeles TimesChronicle of Higher Education, and Wall Street Journal.

The Review of Metaphysics Dissertation Essay Competition

The Publisher of The Review of Metaphysics, the Philosophy Education Society, Inc., announces its annual Dissertation Essay Competition. The competition is open to all participants who have been awarded the Ph.D. degree in philosophy in the United States or Canada during 2017. Entries must be either a chapter from a dissertation or an essay based directly upon a dissertation. Essays may be on any topic dealt with in the dissertation. Essays will be judged anonymously. The author of the prize-winning essay will receive $500. It is expected that the winning essay will be published in The Review of Metaphysics.

Participants are requested to employ the following procedure for submitting essays:

  • Essays should be no more than twenty-five double-spaced typewritten pages and should be submitted in triplicate.
  • Essays should be free of all identifying marks, both in the body of the paper and in the footnotes.
  • Entries should be accompanied by a letter indicating the author’s name, the university from which his or her degree was received, and the title of the dissertation from which the essay was taken. Entrants who would like their manuscripts returned should also send a stamped return envelope of suitable size.
  • On matters of style and form, The Chicago Manual of Style and a recent issue of The Review of Metaphysics should be consulted. A style sheet is available upon request and on the Review’s website.
  • Entries must bear a postmark no later than 31 March 2018 and should be sent to The Review of Metaphysics, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064. Envelopes should be marked “Dissertation Essay Competition.”

Additional inquiries concerning the competition may be directed to The results of the competition will be announced by 30 June 2018.

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Add us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have upcoming events or would like to share relevant articles on our social media sites or this blog, feel free to email them to this semester’s Outreach and Communications graduate assistant, Rebecca Valeriano-Flores (


Next Week: “What is a noema?”

Next week, the Phenomenology Research Group will host a talk from Zachary J. Joachim (Boston University):

It is well known that in Ideen 1, Husserl drops the ‘act-content-object’ schema in favor of ‘noesis-noema.’ But just what are these schemata for? Both are attempted answers to the question, ‘How must the world be such that one’s state of subjectivity counts as being of or about anything?’ Such schemata, then, are ontological: they describe the way the world must be. But they are also logical in the sense that interests Husserl from beginning to end: they describe not the law of inference (formal validity), but the law of thought or thinkability per se (objective validity). This identity of ontology and logic is what Kant and the German Idealists take the subject-matter of philosophy to be, whose successful clarification as such would allow philosophy in the modern era to begin. ‘Idealism’ is their name for that clarification. Husserl understands his idealism in this sense, too. He differs, though, in holding perception’s (not judgment’s) form of self-consciousness as the source of logical form, i.e., of thinkability or objectivity. His commitment to that difference is constitutive of his shift to noesis-noema as the schema expressive of philosophy’s proper subject-matter. In this paper, I offer first steps towards elucidating that schema in the above-mentioned way, starting with ‘noema.’ I argue that a noema is the objectivity of an object, i.e., its apparent unity, and that since ‘noema’ replaces the ‘content/object’ distinction, Husserl therewith espouses a no-content view of intentionality.

The event will take place on February 23, 3:30 to 5:30 PM in Cuneo Hall 212.

In One Week: Perspectives on Personhood Conference

Loyola’s Center for Catholic Intellectual Heritage presents Perspectives on Personhood, a conference taking place on our Lakeshore campus next Tuesday!

Perspectives on Personhood: Resources in Science, Technology, and Theology 
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1PM to 6PM
Information Commons, 4th Fl.

Keynote address by Dr. William Jaworski (Fordham): “Can Science Study the Human Soul?”
Response by Dr. John McCarthy

Panel 1: Personhood and Evolution 
Dr. CJ Love, Dr. James Calcagno, and Dr. Pauline Viviano
Moderated by Dr. Hans Svebakken

Panel 2: Personhood and Reductionism 
Dr. Susan Ross, Dr. Rebecca Stilton, and Dr. Paul Voelker
Moderated by Dr. Joseph Vukov

CFP: Setting the World on Fire: Research, Change, and Social Justice

The 11th Annual Graduate School Interdisciplinary Research Symposium presents “Setting the World on Fire: Research, Change, and Social Justice.” The symposium is on Saturday, April 21, 2018 in the Quinlan Life Sciences building. Here’s what they have to say on the CFP:

We welcome participants in all areas of knowledge in hopes of fostering a constructive and cordial dialogue across disciplines. In our current era, opportunities abound to “set the world on fire,” through engaging critically with the world around us, challenging ourselves to seek out and defend truth, and taking action to address inequality. Thus, the 2018 Symposium incorporates themes of change and social justice to direct attention to the ways that our research can make a positive impact on the world. As part of reaffirming Loyola’s commitment to diversity, this year the symposium welcomes presentations in Spanish. Paper or poster presentations are welcome in the following broad research categories:

  • Qualitative: the exploratory analysis of non-numerical data
  • Quantitative: the objective and systematic analysis of numerical data
  • Theoretical: analysis that applies speculative paradigms in exploratory ways
  • Mixed Methods/Other: analysis that draws on multiple methods (quantitative, qualitative,
    and/or theoretical)

Current graduate students within The Graduate School are eligible for monetary awards. Participants are invited to breakfast, lunch, and reception to follow presentations. Submit a 250-word abstract by March 2:

Email the Research Symposium Committee at with questions! Download a PDF version of the CFP here: Graduate School Interdisciplinary Research Symposium CFA

Today: Ethics and Values with Robby Duncan

Today! Robby Duncan will discuss Aristotle at the Ethics and Values Symposia today at 3:45. Email Joe Vukov ( for more information.

CFP: International Social Theory Consortium at Loyola!

Loyola is hosting the 17th Annual Conference of the International Social Theory Consortium! This year’s theme is “Modernity Between the Damaged Life and Sane Society: Social Theory in the Age of Urgency.” This event will be held May 17-19. Email your abstracts and session proposals to no later than March 15th. Find more information on the ITSC website.

Download a PDF of the full CFP here: International Social Theory Conference CFP.

Philosophy of Religion Research Group

Loyola’s theology department is hosting a philosophy of religion research group! See below for information.

A Discussion of Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer Series
with Adam Kotsko, translator of Agamben’s work.
13 February, 7:00–9:00 pm (Cuneo Hall 107)

Political Theology Roundtable
with Adam Kotsko (North Central College), Florian Klug (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg), Stephanie Frank (Columbia College Chicago), and Colby Dickinson (Loyola University Chicago).
22 February, 6:00–8:00 pm (Crown Center 530)

Democracy at Stake? Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Parliamentary Democracy and US Politics
with Jeff Seitzer, translator of Schmitt’s work.
19 March, 2:00–4:00 pm (location TBD)

God as Immanent/Transcendent: Perspectives from Continental Philosophy of Religion
with Anné Verhoef, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
18 April (time and location TBD)