Philosophy students take their insights to the next level
Two CMC students got the chance to advance their academic work by presenting papers at a recent philosophy conference, a rare accomplishment for undergraduates.
Prof. Amy Kind was so impressed by Laura Mora ’22 and Julia Garbee ’22 when they were students in her “Special Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology” course last fall, that she encouraged both of them to submit papers to the Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, held in April.
“On a consistent basis their written work proved to be interesting, insightful, and of very high quality,” said Kind, who is director of the Gould Center of Humanistic Studies at CMC. “When I saw this philosophy conference opportunity, they were the first two students I thought of. They are both excellent writers and excellent philosophers.”
Mora and Garbee earned spots at the annual two-day conference, which is held each spring.
Attending the conference, albeit virtually, provided them both with a valuable means to practice their skills.
“Presenting at a conference gives students a great opportunity to get some public speaking experience, to present complicated ideas, to meet other philosophy majors from across the country, to get more practice answering questions on their work, and to get some feedback on their ideas,” Kind said.
“I was grateful to be part of a larger group of students who are all interested in philosophy,” said Garbee, who is a philosophy-economics major. “Usually you write a paper, submit it to your professor and that’s the end of it. So it was a rewarding experience to return to my own paper, and present it to a group and receive comments on it. Having that dialogue was very meaningful for me.”
She presented “The Transformative Power of a Pandemic” while Mora presented “Morality and Happiness: The Fundamental Components of a Good Human Life.”
For Mora, the most interesting aspect of the conference, “was hearing what other people had to say. We have philosophical debates in the classroom, but they never encompass such a wide range of topics. At the conference, I was able to hear people discussing issues from Aristotle to Heidegger, and I found that really exciting. I felt lucky to engage in those conversations with other students."
In addition, Mora, who is majoring in international relations and philosophy, got a motivational boost by the experience. “I was considering graduate school to further pursue philosophy before attending the conference, so it was encouraging to me when Prof. Kind suggested I submit my paper. I felt like grad school was now an actual possibility and I’m excited about it, and applying to grad schools in the fall.”
“It's just a cool thing to have one's work taken seriously in this way!” Kind said. “For those who might go on to grad school, this also provides a very direct introduction to what life in academia will be like, but it's a great experience no matter what one's future career path will be.”