Bodaken Philosophy Symposium

Workshops & Discussions

Bodaken Philosophy Symposium

A 1973 graduate of CSU’s Department of Philosophy, Bruce Bodaken has sustained through a highly successful life and career his fascination with philosophy that blossomed during his years as a philosophy major at CSU.  Bruce, who recently retired as President, Chairman, and CEO of Blue Shield of California, kindly has donated funds to the Department so that it may yearly, over the next five years, conduct a symposium that will engage not only department students and faculty in cutting-edge philosophical discussions but also attract community members to philosophical discourse that contributes to the betterment of our society.  The aim is to conduct a philosophy workshop in the fall semesters that centers on participation and contributions by Philosophy graduate and advanced undergraduate students and the offering of a thematically related public lecture in the spring semesters that will endeavor to engage a broad audience from across the CSU and Northern Colorado communities.  In each case, fall and spring, the department will engage leaders in their areas of specialization of philosophy from across the nation and world, bringing them to campus so that they may share their learning and insights relative to critical current issues with members of the local student, faculty, and professional communities.

2022-2023: Social Ontology 

We often discover ourselves thrown into surprising categories. Social ontology is the exploration of how we create and maintain these. Our world functions like a map of interlocking norms that produce a range of social locations for each context we may find ourselves in.

Please join us for our two public lectures in social ontology this academic year. This fall semester, we welcome Ásta, an Icelandic philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. Ásta is the author of Categories We Live By (2018) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Philosophy (2021). Her research focuses on the way in which human thought and practices contribute to the nature of reality.

Ásta will present her lecture, "What Are Sex and Gender and What Do We Want Them to Be?" She will discuss the debate over what sex and gender are and who gets to be of what sex and what gender. These are questions that impact people’s lives greatly, some more than others. They are metaphysical questions but they also concern what principles we should be guided by when allocating resources, services, and protections to people with potentially different needs. Ásta will present a conception of sex and gender and their relation and suggest a certain approach to navigating some of these thorny issues. She calls this approach “ontic descent."

Please register here:



Save the Date

In March, we welcome back CSU alumnus Bryce Huebner, Georgetown University, to present Horror Films, Country Songs, and the Shape of Social Worlds on Tuesday, March 7 at 4 pm in the Longs Peak Room in the Lory Student Center, rm 302.

Dr. Huebner will discuss how horror films and country music often carry traces of our shared assumptions. As a result, mundane engagements with these forms of media can reinforce habituated forms of social- and self-understanding. However, if we can approach the histories that films and music carry mindfully, we can become more attentive to aspects of the social world that they teach us to ignore. In some cases, this can begin to reveal the contingency of everyday experience; but more importantly, mindful engagements with horror films and country music can sometimes disclose novel opportunities for the pursuit of individual and collective liberation.

Bryce HuebnerHuebner is currently writing on a wide range of issues across the cognitive, biological, and social sciences, including the role of allostatic regulation in biological cognition. He has been exploring ways to integrate insights from Yogācāra Buddhism with models from computational and cognitive neuroscience. In his teaching, Huebner tends to explore different ways of understanding philosophy as a tool for practical engagement with the world. His classes often focus on questions about cognitive architecture, cognitive diversity, planning, prefigurative practice, propaganda and social exclusion, and the relationship between ethics and psychology.