So You Want to Diversify Philosophy: Some Thoughts on Structural Change. Leah Kalmanson (Drake) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Apr 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Efforts to diversify philosophy, at the curricular level, often focus on increasing the content covered in a semester: i.e., making room for more women on the syllabus, making room for more non-Western texts and thinkers, etc. Similarly, efforts to diversify philosophy, at the professional level, often focus on making room for marginalized topics and/or members of under-represented groups at conferences, in anthologies, and among faculty (both in terms of demographics and research specializations). This all serves to create an antagonistic situation where marginalized voices must fight to be heard and those in the discipline must make “tough choices” about where to cede precious resources such as syllabus space, publication credits, and faculty hires. I suggest that part of the antagonism, at least in the case of Asian philosophy, arises because we are trying to fit non-European texts and thinkers into disciplinary structures that are themselves designed to accommodate a Eurocentric model for philosophy. By “disciplinary structures” I mean the philosophical canon and historical narrative as well as departmental course offerings, curricular requirements for majors and minors, classroom pedagogical practices, and academic research methodologies. Truly transformative change must take place at the structural level. In this brief talk, I consider the scope of such changes, in concrete terms, and raise questions about the effects these changes would have on the disciplinary identity of philosophy as we know it today.

With a response from:

Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

Black Radical Kantianism. Charles Mills (CUNY) @ 302 Philosophy, Columbia U
Sep 20 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

This essay tries to develop a “black radical Kantianism” – that is, a Kantianism informed by the black experience in modernity. After looking briefly at socialist and feminist appropriations of Kant, I argue that an analogous black radical appropriation should draw on the distinctive social ontology and view of the state associated with the black radical tradition. In ethics, this would mean working with a (color-conscious rather than colorblind) social ontology of white persons and black sub-persons and then asking what respect for oneself and others would require under those circumstances. In political philosophy, it would mean framing the state as a Rassenstaat (a racial state) and then asking what measures of corrective justice would be necessary to bring about the ideal Rechtsstaat.

Response by César Cabezas Gamarra.

Presented by the German Idealism Workshop

Cynthia Bennett – Disability Accessibility and Fairness in Artificial Intelligence @ Presbyterian Hospital Building (Room PH20-200)
Feb 6 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to automate and scale solutions to perennial accessibility challenges (e.g., generating image descriptions for blind users). However, research shows that AI-bias disproportionately impacts people already marginalized based on their race, gender, or disabilities, raising questions about potential impacts in addition to AI’s promise. In this talk, Cynthia Bennett will overview broad concerns at the intersection of AI, disability, and accessibility. She will then share details about one project in this research space that led to guidance on human and AI-generated image descriptions that account for subjective and potentially sensitive descriptors around race, gender, and disability of people in images.

Philosophy of Crisis and a Question of Solidarity. Jin Y. Park (American) @ Faculty House, Columbia U
Mar 3 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic is said to be a once-in-a-century incident, and it brought to us a sense of crisis at various levels. What is a crisis, though? Can any unnerving moment or period be called a crisis, or are there different dimensions of a crisis to which we need to be attentive? Is solidarity possible after experiencing a crisis like Covid-19? Can Buddhism make any contribution to facilitating solidarity? This presentation explores the meaning and nature of a crisis and our responses to it by drawing on modern Korean political thinker Pak Ch’iu’s (1909–1949) analysis of crisis and feminist-Buddhist thinker Kim Iryŏp’s (1896–1971) Buddhist philosophy. By doing so, this presentation considers what social, political, existential, and even religious meaning we can draw from our experience of crises, and what questions these insights present to us.

With responses from Karsten Struhl (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY)


RSVP is required for dinner. If you would like to participate in our dinner, a $30 fee is required. Please contact Lucilla at lm3335@columbia.edu for further information.

Curiosity, Creativity and Complexity Conference @ Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th Floor Lecture Hall)
May 23 – May 25 all-day

How does the brain cope with Complexity? How do we make decisions when confronted with practically infinite streams of information?

The conference showcases cutting edge research on these questions in Neuroscience and Psychology (neural mechanisms of cognitive control, exploration, decision-making, information demand, memory and creativity), Computer Science (artificial intelligence of curiosity and intrinsic motivation) and Economics (decision making and information demand). Alongside formal presentations, the conference will encourage ample interactions among faculty, students and postdocs through informal discussions and poster presentations.

Submissions for poster presentations and travel awards are due February 15, 2023. Please visit the call for submissions for complete requirements.

Event Information

Free and open to the public. Registration is required and will open shortly. All in-person attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 policies. Visitors will be asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Online attendees will receive a Zoom link. Please email events@zi.columbia.edu with any questions.