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.

Fall 2023: Democracy & Political Polarization 

Please join us on Thursday, November 30 at 4 pm in the Lory Student Center Theatre for our annual Bodaken Philosophy Symposium public lecture: Divided Democracy: How Social Cognition Drives Political Polarization. This year’s visiting scholar is Robert Talisse, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Talisse specializes in contemporary political philosophy, with particular interest in democratic theory and political epistemology. His current research is focused on democracy, polarization, citizenship, and public ignorance.


Divided Democracy: How Social Cognition Drives Political Polarization

Polarization looms large in discussions of our democracy’s current dysfunctions. But what exactly is the problem?  Popular accounts suggest that it lies with partisan division and rancor. Dr. Talisse argues that the problem of polarization does not lie primarily with animosity among political foes, but rather with cognitive forces that operate within our alliances. These forces drive us to embrace the idea that democracy is possible only among those who share our political identity – and that’s a fundamentally anti-democratic position.