Simpson hosts Society of Women in Philosophy conference

by Rachel Peterson, perspectives editor

This past weekend, philosophers and philosophy students gathered at Simpson College to listen to lectures and network within their field.

The 2014 annual meeting of the Midwest Society of Women in Philosophy (SWIP) co-hosted by the philosophy department, women and gender studies and humanities division brought over 70 people to Simpson for the weekend.

Allison Wolf, philosophy professor, has been an active participant in the organization since her years in graduate school.

“Because of that involvement, the group wanted to come to Simpson, even though the common practice is to go to other major universities in the Midwest, such as Michigan State, University of Minnesota or Northwestern,” she said.

Wolf presented at the conference along with other notable philosophers, Alison Bailey and Marilyn Frye. Both Bailey and Frye’s works are heavily read in the philosophy department.

“It is a rare chance to hear cutting edge work in feminist philosophy from those in the field,” Wolf said. “Students are not going to read what has already been published, they will hear what is happening right now.”

Presentations from accolade philosophers included titles such as, “Inclusiveness and the Pipeline Problem” and “White Talk as Epistemic Closure.”

Cody Waddell, a senior philosophy major, participated and assisted with the conference.

“There were a lot of very good speakers, but my favorite to hear from was obviously Dr. Wolf. She works with us one on one, helping us with our papers and talking about things that we are really interested in, and it was great to hear what she is working on and what she is passionate about in philosophy,” he said.

Philosophy students from Washington College in Maryland worked closely with students from Simpson. Part of Waddell’s duties during the conference was to show them around Des Moines and answer questions about Simpson’s philosophy department.

“I liked getting to compare and contrast their philosophy experiences with my own experiences at Simpson and getting to see all the unique things Dr. Wolf and Dr. Pauley do for us,” he said.

Wolf said this conference was a great opportunity for students to network with philosophers and see what professionals do in their day-to-day job.

“The most valuable thing I got from this weekend was being able to see the process philosophy professionals go through in writing their papers and trying to get them published. Being in senior seminar for philosophy, I’m currently in the process of writing my senior paper and it was awesome to see people that do philosophy for a living sit there and encourage each other and give helpful feedback,” Waddell said.