The world of philosophy at UChicago begins with analyses of Great Books in the Common Core and continues in philosophy classes, but it also reverberates throughout life on campus: our students ask and re-ask the basic questions, often late at night, or gathered around a dinner table, perhaps poised on the brink of a major life decision. These are the philosophical conversations we remember, sometimes years and decades later, as game-changing. The Department of Philosophy encourages this inquisitive mindset by fostering an especially lively philosophical culture at UChicago, featuring a wide range of extra-curricular philosophical events and activities run by both faculty and students.
We design some departmental events to inspire philosophical explorations among students. The craziest, and the most UChicago, of these events is the department’s Night Owls series, which features several faculty-led, late-night conversations each year on arcane philosophical topics. Past events have included discussions such as Is Philosophy a Blood Sport?, Do Minds Exist?, Should We Strive to Live Without Anger and Sadness?, The Philosophy of Divorce, Economics vs. Philosophy: The Battle for Your Soul, Why Is There Organized Violence?, The Meaning of Death, Is Love Worth the Pain?, and Let's Get Philosophical about Sex. This series was recently profiled by UChicagoNews (check out the video!), the Chicago Tribune, and The Maroon (here and here as well).
Upcoming 2020 Winter Quarter Night Owls Events:
- The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, with Agnes Callard and James Evans (Sociology)
- Does Science Leave Room for Philosophy? with Anubav Vasudevan and Tom Pashby (both Philosophy)
Past Night Owls Event Videos:
Here's a few highlights from "The Philosophy of Divorce," in which formerly married UChicago philosophers Ben Callard and Agnes Callard respond to each other's questions and to student questions.
Here's a few highlights from "Economics vs. Philosophy: The Battle for Your Soul" featuring Agnes Callard and George Mason University Economist Tyler Cowan.
Academic and Professional Events
The department also runs several events throughout the academic year to inform students about the basics of philosophy as a discipline: these include “how to” events on topics such as becoming a philosophy major, writing a BA paper, and applying to graduate programs in philosophy. And we bring departmental alumni back to campus to help you translate your undergraduate BA in philosophy into a variety of professional careers in law, business, and non-profit work, among others.
And, finally, the department always throws a party to celebrate the work of our departmental majors and minors when they graduate at the end of their senior year!
The department’s rich and vibrant philosophical culture also derives much of its energy and direction from our students—in fact, several student organizations also hold philosophically inclined events throughout the academic year. Click on the links below to learn about these organizations: