The Speculative Society

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.

Some Past Presentations


  • Indrek Reiland: "What is Semantic Expression?" (September 30, 2011)
  • Ben Lennertz: "Epistemic 'might' (October 14, 2011)
  • Brian Blackwell: "An argument against the centered-worlds account of belief de se" (October 21, 2011)
  • Johannes Schmitt: "Conditionals and Uncertainty-friendly Arguments" (November 11, 2011)
  • Kenneth Silver: "And that has made all the difference" (February 1, 2012)
  • Matt Lutz, "'Now what' Problem for Error Theory" (February 15, 2012)
  • Indrek Reiland: "Propositional Attitudes, No propositions" (March 2, 2012)
  • Justin Dallmann: "Millian 'Ways' to Save the Russellian Account of Indefinite Descriptions" (March 23, 2012)
  • Julia Staffel: "Formulating Principles of Reasoning" (March 30, 2012)
  • Shyam Nair: "Conflicting Reasons and Unconflicting Obligations" (April 20, 2012)


  • Julia Staffel : "Relativism vs. Contextualism " (February 29th, 2008)
  • Brian Bowman: "Varieties of Semantic Competence" (February 22nd, 2008)
  • Lewis Powell: "The Paradox of Non-Compliance" (February 8th, 2008)
  • Geoff Georgi: "Contexts, Demonstratives, and Validity" (October 26th, 2007)
  • Brian Talbot: "Psychology and Philosophical Intuitions: Part I" (October 5th, 2007)


  • Geoff Georgi: "Where Grice and Socrates Agree"
  • Nathan Gadd: "The Justificatory Structure of Moore's Argument"
  • Brandon Johns: "Locke on Freedom, Refraining, and Free Refraining"
  • Lewis Powell, "Obligation, Ability, and Excuse"
  • Shlomo Sher, "How Moral Disagreement Motivates 'Core' Moral Objectivism"
  • Robert Shanklin, "Depicting Logical Impossibility"
  • Brian Glenney, "Gareth Evans on How Infants Perceive the World"
  • Brian Talbot, "Causation by Omission and Availability" and "The Unreliability of Philosophers' Intuitions about Causation"
  • Jonathan Weil, "Parallels between Quantum and Cognitive Indeterminacy"
  • Shlomo Sher: "Impartial Morality and Supererogation"
"Socrates"  tile painting in the USC Hoose Library of Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy
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  • Mudd Hall of Philosophy, MHP 113