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Freiburg - Penn State Collaboration Development Program 2018

The Philosophy in the Age of the New Wars event being hosted as a collaboration between the Penn State philosophy department and the University of Freiburg philosophy department, has received a grant from the PSU Global Programs in the framework of the Freiburg-Penn State Collaboration Development Seed Funding Program 2018.


Ever since Plato, the development of philosophical thought reveals a rich tradition of confronting fundamental questions related to war, peace, and the human condition. However, it is arguably with the advent of a modern conception and experience of warfare that war and, more generally, violent strife in its various forms (as struggle for recognition, as power of negativity, etc.), has firmly become entrenched as a fundamental philosophical concern. Since the 20th -century, transformations in military technology, social forms of organization, cultural modes of perception, and the practice of warfare itself have accelerated and amplified the centrality as well as urgency of the philosophical significance of war. Yet, as many military historians and theorists of conflict have recently argued, over the past 20 years we have been witnessing another stage of radical transformation in the history of warfare under the heading of "the New Wars." Advances in robotic and drone technology, cyber-warfare, and the sprawling fragmentation of conflict have substantially altered both how we think about war and how war is pursued. What, however, are the philosophical consequences and implications of this phenomenon of "the New Wars"? How have transformations in warfare, technology, and the culture of war changed philosophical thinking? How might philosophical thinking come to terms with such transformations?

The aim of this research project between the philosophy departments at Penn State and Freiburg is to explore these questions through an approach combining various philosophical methods of analysis and argumentation in conjunction with an inter-disciplinary outreach to other related fields of study (history, cultural studies, security studies, etc.). The aim of this project to develop a novel field of philosophical research by drawing on and challenging established frameworks for the conceptualization of warfare, violence, and the human condition. 

This project will focus three mutually orthogonal theme of research: War and Technology, War and Subjectivities, War and Institutions. 

Faculty Member Awarded Distinction in the Humanities Award

Robert Bernasconi, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, has been awarded the Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award by the College of the Liberal Arts. This award goes to a faculty member who, by his or her outstanding work in the field of humanities, has provided an inspiration in that field.

The award will be presented at the New Emeritus faculty luncheon on Wednesday, April 4th at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Congratulations Robert!


TV Interview on WPSU ft. Paul Taylor

Turn your TVs to WPSU on February 11th at 11:30 a.m. to see Penn State President Eric Barron conduct an interview with Paul Taylor, Professor of Philosophy and Michael Kulikowski, Head of History about the College of Liberal Arts course on 1968.



Professor Awarded the 2017 Monograph Prize from the ASA

Professor Paul C. Taylor's book Black is Beautiful was awarded the 2017 Monograph Prize from the American Society for Aesthetics.  To view the full announcement please click here.

To view Paul C. Taylor's interview with the African American Intellectual History Society, please click here.


Congratulations Paul!

Professor Awarded the Fernando Gil International Prize

The Department of Philosophy would like to congratulate Professor Emily Grosholz who has been awarded the Fernando Gil International Prize in the Philosophy of Science for her 2016 book, Starry Reckoning: Reference and Analysis in Mathematics and Cosmology.

Quoted from the Fernando Gil International Prize website: "In this book Emily Grosholz adopts the approach of history and philosophy of science and mathematics, and indeed defends this approach in the course of the book. On the philosophical side, Emily Grosholz develops a clear and original point of view. This is that mathematics and science require both discourses of analysis and discourses of reference. Here ‘analysis’ does not mean ‘logical analysis’, but has a sense which Emily Grosholz takes from Leibniz, namely: ‘the search for conditions of intelligibility’. Her views therefore are a development of some Leibnizian notions, and her work gives an interesting new interpretation of Leibniz. Her philosophical thesis is illustrated by a great variety of historical case studies, which include cases from the early modern period, the 19th century, and recent research. There are also examples from both mathematics and physics (cosmology). The successful application of the underlying philosophical thesis to so many examples shows that it is both plausible and fruitful, and the case studies themselves are very interesting. The jury was particularly impressed by Emily Grosholz’ study of Wiles recent proof of Fermat’s last theorem. They regarded it as admirable that a philosopher of mathematics should reflect on a recent and technically very difficult proof. Such a strategy can produce an ‘immanent’ philosophy. A further study of McIntyre’s logical investigation of Wiles’ proof leads Emily Grosholz to suggest a new attitude to mathematical logic as a discipline. In her own words ( “ … mathematical logic … is not an over-discourse that should supplant others … but one of many, which can be integrated with other mathematical discourses in a variety of fruitful ways.” Given all these impressive features of Emily Grosholz’ book, the jury judged it to be a worthy winner of the Fernando Gil prize for 2017."

To read more please visit:

or see the announcement on Penn State News here:


Congratulations Emily!