Philosopher’s Conference

Andrea Gladney, Commentary Editor

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This past Friday the 2012 Student Philosopher’s Conference took place in the lower level of the Southwest Minnesota State University conference center at 1:15 p.m. The event, which was funded by the SAFAC, was free and open to the public.
The student panel ran from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m., in which three students presented their papers and answered questions afterward.
Joshua Straub presented “Wheelchair Warriors,” a paper about how the disabled community can benefit from multiplayer online video games. Tanner Barrington presented “Machiavellian Love and Fear,” a paper challenging Machiavelli’s contention that rulers should rule with fear rather than love. Lastly, Theresa Klingbile presented her paper, “The Unsung Heroes: Proletariats and the Occupiers,” which compared the Communist Manifesto and the Occupy Wall Street protests and argues that the protests are similar to the movement Marx and Engels were calling for between the proletariats and the bourgeoisie in the Communist Manifesto.
Dr. Emily Esch was invited as the keynote speaker of the conference. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., she presented her talk “Knowing Thyself,” in which she discussed the relationship between a person’s concept of self and the accuracy of her beliefs about herself.
“While much of ‘Knowing Thyself’ was informative, I was arguing for a position,” said Dr. Esch. “I tried to argue that our old ways of understanding the self should be abandoned for a new model that better reflects what what we are learning from the sciences,” she said.
Dr. Esch made her visit to SMSU worthwhile. Before presenting her talk she watched Straub, Barrington, and Klingbile present their papers.
“I enjoyed all three of the talks. I thought Josh, Tanner, and Theresa all did a great job. It can be scary to get up in front of people and share your work,” said Dr. Esch. “Everyone was very welcoming and I enjoyed spending some time with students. Brett Gaul, in particular, made sure that the visit went smoothly,” she said.
The turnout at the conference was great, and there was ample interaction between the audience and presenters.