The Department of Philosophy

Contact Us
Chapman Building, Room 010
1 Trinity Place
San Antonio, Texas 78212
210-999-8305
210-999-8353 Fax
sdurst@trinity.edu


Philosophy Department

Website Manager:

Shirley Durst

The term ‘philosophy’ is used in many ways. The discipline of philosophy itself is devoted to four main areas: metaphysics, the study of what fundamentally exists; epistemology, the study of knowledge; logic, the study of reasoning; and axiology, the study of value. Axiology divides into aesthetics, the study of art and beauty; and ethics, the study of obligation and well-being.

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The Trinity University Department of Philosophy offers courses in both the history of philosophy and in all of its main subfields, as shown in the diagram above. For each of these areas, the Department has faculty members with expertise. It also has an active speakers program and is visited each year by some of the best philosophers in the world, providing students the opportunity to learn from and discuss ideas with some of the same philosophers whose works they are likely to be studying in class.


By preparing a senior thesis, philosophy majors can hone their skills and develop an essay that can be used as evidence of writing competence when applying for graduate school admission. Annually, the student who submits the best paper in philosophy is presented with the department's Hemlock Award.


 Announcements


Literal/Metaphorical Distinction

Dr. Jay Atlas, Ph.D.

Wed., Apr. 16 at 5:30PM
Chapman Auditorium

Please Take This Literally! On Wednesday, April 16 at 5:30PM in Chapman Auditorium, CGC 126, the Department of Philosophy will welcome Dr. Jay Atlas, Member of Common Room, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK, for a talk entitled,"There Are No Metaphors: Analytic Philosophy and the Literal/Metaphorical Distinction". The talk is free and open to all.
For more information, contact Dr. Curtis Brown at cbrown@trinity.edu, or call the Philosophy department office at (210) 999-8305. (Flyer)




2014 Hemlock Essay Awards
Winners Announced

The Department of Philosophy is proud to announce the winners of this year's Hemlock competition for best philosophical essay! First Place: "David Chalmers' Naturalistic Dualism", the essay written by Austen Hall '16, and Second Place: "A Defense of Monism about Literary Interpretation" by Evan Snow '15. Congratulations to both of you for excellent essays.

The annual Hemlock philosophical essay competition is open to all Trinity students. Essays are accepted towards the end of each Fall semester and through mid-January of the following Spring semester. Deadlines are announced via emails to current philosophy students and on the departmental website. The winners are recognized at the Honors Awards Convocation during Spring Family Weekend in March. More on the competition can be found here: Hemlock Award.



Pessimism in Greek Literature and Philosophy
Dr. Michael Lurie

Thurs., Mar. 27 at 6PM
Northrup Hall 040

 
Michael Lurie, classicist and currently fellow at the National Humanities Center, will be our guest for a philosophical talk entitled ''Not to be born is best. The Greeks and Pessimism or: Was Nietzsche right?'' on Thursday, March 27 at 6:00 p.m in Northrup Hall 040. A short Q&A session will follow. (Abstract) (Flyer)

The talk is open to all Trinity University faculty, students, and staff. The department thanks supporters of Dr. Lurie's talk, including the Lecturers and Visiting Scholars Committee and the following departments: Art and Art History, Modern Languages, Classical Studies, Religion, Communication and English. Please contact the Philosophy office at (210) 999-8305 or Dr. Damian Caluori, dcaluori@trinity.edu, for further information about the talk.

 

Darwin's Birthday Party!
Wed., Feb 12 at 6:30PM
Holt Center

Celebrate Darwin's birthday with cake at 6:30 p.m. and a presentation by Gil Rosenthal, Texas A&M University, "Mate Choice and Its Consequences," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Holt Center.

Sponsored by the Lecturers and Visiting Scholars Committee, Coates Library, International Programs, Neuroscience Program, Parker Chapel, and the departments of art and art history, biology, chemistry, communication, computer science, economics, engineering science, English, geosciences, history, human communication and theater, mathematics, modern languages and literatures, philosophy, physics and astronomy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology and anthropology. 


Past Announcements

 

"Philosophy of Science"
Philosophy Club
Thursday, November 7
5:30PM Chapman 045



Join the Philosophy Club in an open, student-led discussion about the philosophy of science. Guest faculty discussant is Dr. Curtis Brown. The meeting starts at 5:30PM in Chapman 045 on Thursday, 11/7. Snacks and drinks will be provided. All interested students are welcome.



Derek Parfit
Wednesday, October 16
7:30PM
Laurie Auditorium 
  


Please join us for the 2013 DeCoursey Lecture featuring distinguished British philosopher and author, Derek Parfit, one of the world's most esteemed contemporary philosophers. Dr. Parfit's lecture, entitled "We Are Not Human Beings," takes place on Wednesday, October 16 in Laurie Auditorium from 7:30PM - 10:00PM. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Department of Philosophy is especially pleased to join the university in welcoming Dr. Parfit, who is also set to guest teach Dr. Rachel Johnson's Philosophy of Law class and participate in an open colloquium entitled "", which is a reference to his original argument on the problem of population ethics. [New Yorker article] [Wikipedia] [All Souls College CV]

Dr. Parfit joins a long list of esteemed Trinity DeCoursey Lecture speakers including author and winner of the Man Booker Prize, Sir Salman Rushdi; biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize recipient Edward O. Wilson; physiologist and Nobel Prize recipient Linda Buck; and Jared Diamond, professor of geography and Pulitzer Prize recipient.

The DeCoursey lecture series is made possible through a gift from the late Gen. Elbert DeCoursey and Mrs. DeCoursey of San Antonio. For more information about Dr. Parfit's public talk, please contact Frances Simmons at 210-999-8230, Trinity University Academic Affairs.

 


"Hedonism
& the Philosophy
of Pleasure"
Thursday, September 26
5:30PM


Join the Philosophy Club in an open, student-led discussion about Hedonism and the philosophy of pleasure. The meeting starts at 5:30PM in Chapman 114 on Thursday, 9/26. Snacks and drinks will be provided. All interested students are welcome.

   


"Are We Human Beings?"
Philosophy Club
Thursday, September 12
5:30PM

 


Interested in Philosophy? The Philosophy Club is hosting an open, student-led discussion of the topic "Are We Human Beings?" to get the wheels turning in preparation for Dr. Derek Parfit's lecture, entitled "We Are Not Human Beings" (see below). Snacks and drinks will be provided for the Philosophy Club meeting which starts at 5:30PM in Chapman 114 on Thursday, 9/12.

   


Andy Hamilton
Tuesday, September 24   8PM
Public Talk
Chapman Great Hall


This Fall, the department welcomes our 2013 Stieren speaker, Andy Hamilton, for a free, public philosophical talk, entitled "Art and Entertainment: Louis Armstrong, Charles Dickens, and Howard Hawks." The talk will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at 8PM in the Great Hall, Chapman Center Room 142. A reception will follow. [Talk Summary] [Trinity Stieren Press Release]

 Dr. Hamilton teaches Philosophy, and History and Aesthetics of Jazz, at Durham University; he also teaches at Hong Kong University and has been Adjunct Lecturer at University of Western Australia, Perth. He has published many articles and books on aesthetics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, J.S. Mill, and Wittgenstein, including Aesthetics and Music (Continuum, 2007), Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser's Art (University of Michigan Press, 2007), and The Self in Question: Memory, the Body and Self-Consciousness (Palgrave, 2013). He is a long-standing contributor to The Wire, Jazz Journal and International Piano magazines, interviewing and writing features on musicians and composers such as Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Elliott Carter, Kaija Saariaho, and Christian Wolff. He is also a jazz pianist.

 Dr. Hamilton's talk is part of the 2013-2014 Trinity University Stieren Arts Enrichment Series, made possible through an endowment created by Jane and the late Arthur Stieren of San Antonio. For more information, please contact  Dr. Andrew Kania, at akania@trinity.edu or call the Trinity University Philosophy Department at 210-999-8305.  

 

Derek Parfit

Wednesday, October 16   7:30PM
Laurie Auditorium

 
Please join us for the 2013 DeCoursey Lecture featuring distinguished British philosopher and author, Derek Parfit, one of the world's most esteemed contemporary philosophers. Dr. Parfit's lecture, entitled "We Are Not Human Beings," takes place on Wednesday, October 16 in Laurie Auditorium from 7:30PM - 10:00PM. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Department of Philosophy is especially pleased to join the university in welcoming Dr. Parfit, who is also set to guest teach Dr. Rachel Johnson's Philosophy of Law class and participate in an open colloquium entitled "The Repugnant Conclusion", which is a reference to his original argument on the problem of population ethics. [New Yorker article] [Wikipedia] [All Souls College CV]

 Dr. Parfit joins a long list of esteemed Trinity DeCoursey Lecture speakers including author and winner of the Man Booker Prize, Sir Salman Rushdi; biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize recipient Edward O. Wilson; physiologist and Nobel Prize recipient Linda Buck; and Jared Diamond, professor of geography and Pulitzer Prize recipient.

The DeCoursey lecture series is made possible through a gift from the late Gen. Elbert DeCoursey and Mrs. DeCoursey of San Antonio. For more information about Dr. Parfit's public talk, please contact Frances Simmons at 210-999-8230, Trinity University Academic Affairs.

  

School of Athens. Raphael

School of Athens by Raphael

TRINITY

PHILOSOPHY

EVENTS


All events are free

and open to the public,

unless otherwise noted.

 

 



Philosophy Club Meetings

 

Mondays @ 5:30PM

Chapman 045

Open to all students



Darwin's Birthday Party!

Wed., Feb 12 at 6:30PM

Holt Center



Philosophy Talk

Presenter: Michael Lurie

Thurs., Mar. 27 at 6PM

Northrup Hall 040