The Speculative Society

There is a lively graduate community, offering several opportunities to take part in book group discussions (many of which have included faculty members) and paper working groups.

Student Groups

USC has a chapter of Minorities And Philosophy, currently led by Maegan Fairchild. It hosts several events per year, including a speaker series and reading discussion group.

Reading Groups

Reading groups are organized by interested students, and faculty members often participate. Recently, we have had reading groups on the following books:

  • Spring '13
    • Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson
  • Fall '13
    • Causation: A User's Guide, L.A. Paul, Ned Hall
    • Moral Perception, Robert Audi
    • The Nature of Normativity, Ralph Wedgwood
  • Spring '14
    • Liberalism without Perfection, Jonathan Quong
    • Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications, John MacFarlane

Writing Groups

There are also several working groups where students workshop papers at varying stages of completion. In addition to cohort working groups among each class, there are two very active topical working groups, one in Ethics & Value Theory, and one in Logic & Metaphysics.

Presentation Opportunities

The Speculative Society provides an informal forum for graduate students both to practice presenting papers to each other in the conference/colloquium format (i.e. fielding questions and objections), as well as to run new ideas past one another and receive suggestions for their further development. The group usually meets every two weeks during the semester, at a time chosen to accommodate as many graduate students' schedules as possible.

Recent presentations:
Spring 2014:

  • April 25 - Erik Encarnacion ‘Loss Ownership in Tort Theory’
  • April 11 - Nathan Howard ‘The Anchor Puzzle for Deontic Necessity Modals’
  • April 4 - Justin Dallmann ‘Existence and the Cognitive Event Type Theory of Propositions’
  • March 28 - Jonathan Wright ‘'Should’ And Expected Value’
  • March 14 - Maegan Fairchild ‘Contingentism and Second-Order Necessitism’
  • Feb 7 - Alex Dietz ‘What We Together Ought to Do’
  • Jan 24 - Caleb Perl ‘No Moral Basis for Political Liberalism’

Fall 2013:

  • Nov 22nd - Tiffany Chang ‘The Ethos of Justice in Rawls’s Political Liberalism’
  • Nov 15th - Shyam Nair ‘A Fault Line in Ethical Theory’
  • Nov 1st - Indrek Reiland ‘Naive Realism, Representationalism, and De Re Thought’
  • Sept 27 - Steve Bero 'Recklessness and the Ignorance Excuse'
  • Sept 6 - Michael Milona ‘On The Epistemological Significance of Value Perception’
"Socrates"  tile painting in the USC Hoose Library of Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy
  • 3709 Trousdale Parkway
  • Mudd Hall of Philosophy, MHP 113