Drexel’s first annual Philosophy Week, which included lectures and panel discussions on interdisciplinary topics, began March 4
The series started with “Meanings of Life: Feminist Resources in Foucault’s Theory of Biopolitics,” a talk by Sarah Hansen, a new assistant professor in the Department of English & Philosophy. The focus was on the concept of biopolitics in relation to philosopher Michel Foucault. Hansen explained the intricacies of biopolitics, or the theory on how social and political power effects life. She compared and contrasted Foucault’s theories with feminist queries and delved into Foucault’s theories on development. Hansen then concluded her talk in relation to feminism’s influence in the social sphere and elicited audience questions on the role of gender versus sexual development.
Sarah Bodhuin, a junior sociology major, said, “She’s like everything you look for in a feminist philosophy professor. … It was great to hear her speak so eloquently and with so much force. I will definitely try to take a class with her in the upcoming terms.”
Peter Amato, director of the philosophy program at Drexel, hopes that students will attend the various events and take something significant from them.
“Students who attend Philosophy Week events will find themselves mentally stimulated and intellectually provoked. Hopefully, expanding their intellectual horizons in this way will be a positive experience for them, and we hope it will make them discover or perhaps rediscover an inclination and an ability to philosophize on their own,” he wrote in an email.
“Philosophy and Law Careers” dealt with philosophy in law with an emphasis on career planning. Two alumni sat on the panel: Michael Filoromo, a psychology major from the class of 2005, and Katie Devanney, a psychology major who graduated in 2012. They were joined by pre-law adviser Mike Vitlip. The panel discussed the perils of the law school application and the ethics of the job. They also gave tips to aspiring students on what classes to take while at Drexel.
After the panel, students had mixed reactions about the lecture. Daniel Martin, a junior philosophy major with a minor in legal studies, said, “This talk [was] simply enlightening. … The panel gave me such good, practical information. I was pretty certain about going to law school after graduation anyway, but this panel helped me put a face on what can be a daunting process.”
Other students were not as exuberant. “I had nothing against the panel or the personnel on it,” Harry Megerian, a junior philosophy major, said. “I’m just not too stuck on the America[n] legal system, and I didn’t think [the speakers] did a good job convincing me about the ethics of their profession.”
Robert Audi, a professor at the University of Notre Dame who taught widely in many university epistemology classes, participated in two lectures: “Governmental Secularity and Religious Citizenship” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Religion.” Audi is known for his stance on ethical institutionalism, and he gave a lecture discussing the ethical role on the separation of church and state in the United States.
Other events included “Religiosity and Amelioration: Thoreau, Anzaldua and Marley” and “Why Study Philosophy?”
Philosophy Week was sponsored by the Department of English & Philosophy, the Department of Culture & Communication, the Department of Psychology, and the Drexel Philosophy Club.