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.

The inaugural Bodaken Philosophy Symposium public lecture, held on March 26, 2018, featured renowned oncologist, professor, department chair, and vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who delivered a stimulating and thought-provoking lecture entitled “Why I (Still) Wish to Die at 75.” The lecture was held in the CSU Lory Student Center Theatre and was attended by over 500 individuals.

The theme for the 2018-2019 Bodaken Symposium series is Economic Inequality, Well-Being, and Democracy. On October 4, David Schmidtz (University of Arizona)  presented “Moral Science 2.0.” And, David Schweickart (Loyola University Chicago) spoke on “Climate, Inequality, Democracy (Unchained)" on October 11.

Recent Event: Spring Lecture on March 6

Jonathan Wolff (University of Oxford) was the featured Bodaken Symposium speaker for Spring 2019. His public lecture, "Can We Fix Institutional Injustices: Racism, Sexism, Poverty?" took place on Wednesday, March 6th at 6 pm in the CSU Lory Student Center Theatre.

Jonathan Wolff is the Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy and Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford.  His interests include questions of equality, disadvantage, and social justice as well as topics such as poverty, health care policy, public safety, disability, gambling, and the regulation of recreational drugs. Wolff explores these themes in dozens of articles and books. He also has been a member of several influential advisory committees in the United Kingdom and writes a regular column on higher education for The Guardian.

Call for Abstracts: Fall 2019 Workshop 

We are pleased to announce the first annual Bodaken Philosophy Symposium Workshop, to be held October 15-16, 2019 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. This year’s theme is Living Together Online: Social Epistemology, Ethics, and the Internet.

The Internet has altered social life in many ways, from making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends to making it more difficult to avoid forming false, conspiratorial beliefs. There are fewer barriers to the acquisition of knowledge and ignorance, as well as fewer barriers between governments, technology firms and advertisers and our private mental states. We welcome submissions that address the conceptual puzzles and practical challenges of social life in the information age. Possible topics may include (and this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • The nature and role of expertise and the obligations of experts in an age of “fake news”
  • The nature and role of trust in anonymous, online contexts
  • Epistemic injustice and the Internet
  • Justifications for censorship in contexts that lack epistemic gatekeepers, e.g., social media
  • Epistemic bubbles and echo chambers
  • Democracy and the “attention economy”
  • The nature of privacy and property in the age of big data
  • Deliberation, disagreement, and polarization
  • Political manipulation and the Internet

Our keynote speakers are:
Regina Rini (Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Moral and Social Cognition, York University)
C. Thi Nguyen (Associate Professor, Utah Valley University)
Karen Frost Arnold (Associate Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
James Williams (University of Oxford, Co-Founder, Time Well Spent)

Please send abstracts of no more than 700 words, as well as any questions, to Moti Gorin (, by May 31, 2019. Draft papers will be submitted by September 15, 2019. Presenters will have 20-30 minutes to present their working papers, after which the floor will open for discussion. We may have funds available to help support graduate students whose papers are accepted.