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Working groups provide a casual, semi-structured space to work with faculty in an extracurricular setting.

The Philosophy as a Way of Life Group provides faculty and students from all disciplines the opportunity to investigate what it is to adopt philosophy as a way of life. Topics and readings are decided by members of the group at the start of each semester. Examples of topics include virtue, friendship, love, attention, how best to relate to one’s emotions, what it is to value or care about something, and what is required to live a meaningful or valuable life. Members of the group discuss the readings and then devise experiments in living to try out or test the ideas from them. The group also aims to develop research projects on topics related to living philosophically. If you are interested in joining this group, or have any questions about it, please contact Jacob Stump, Assistant Teaching Professor of Philosophy.

The Urban Studies Group will explore how urban spaces are produced, reproduced, transformed, and deconstructed.  Bringing together scholars from across the humanities and looking to build ties with engineers and lawyers, this group engages questions around the interaction between formal processes governing the production of urban spaces, and the material used to build these spaces, questions around which scales of political organization and intervention are best for governing the re/production of the urban, questions about how heterogeneous processes of empire and decolonialization intersect with the re/production, transformation, and deconstruction of the urban, and finally how, the financialization of those urban spaces affects their production and transformation.  The group plans to bring researchers and practitioners to campus to present their work and lead discussions.  We will also read each other’s work, with an eye towards producing interdisciplinary research methodologies. If you are interested in joining this group, or have any questions about it, inquiries should be directed to Matthew Smith, Associate Professor of Philosophy.

2021-2022 Research Project: Will ranked-choice voting produce better results than our current systems? How can we determine whether one voting method is “better” than another? What voting methods are best at satisfying the preferences of voters? We will develop agent-based computers simulations in combination with social choice theory to answer these questions. The results will inform contemporary debates over how voting should be done. The student research team will involve students from many disciplines including, but not limited to, philosophy, computer science, economics, and political science.
About: The Democracy and Social Choice Group studies issues at the intersection of social choice theory and democratic practice. The focus of the group is the way in which democratic processes aggregate citizen preferences to reach decisions in elections and referendum. The group reads fundamental research on social choice and democratic theory, it studies actual cases and systems of democratic decision-making, and it explores alternative social choice mechanisms by developing and implementing different preference solicitation and aggregation approaches. More information about the group can be found here –
Fall 2021 Project: We will be exploring the scientific foundations of utilitarianism. Is it possible to measure happiness or welfare in a meaningful way? And, if so, what does it mean for our ethical theories? To explore these questions, we will be working through some recent research on this topic as well as how it relates to classic philosophical views.
About: The Rossetti Research Group was founded in Spring 2018 as part of the Rossetti Family Program for the Advancement of the Humanities. This group provides students from all disciplines the opportunity to work closely with faculty in studying topics within the humanities and social sciences. The aim of this group is to facilitate in-depth student projects on ideas and influential thinkers that they may not be exposed to otherwise. Each term the Rossetti Research Group selects a new topic to provide the focus for reading group meetings, student research projects and discussion groups. Research topics will be of interest to students in many disciplines ranging from philosophy to economics to mathematics and the natural sciences. Students from any discipline are encouraged to join the group. If you are interested in joining this group, or have any questions about it, inquiries should be directed to Rory Smead, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Rossetti Professor for the Humanities.

The AI and Data Ethics Group provides faculty and students from all disciplines the opportunity to study and discuss emerging issues and current research related to information, data, computing and AI ethics. Topics, readings and speakers are decided upon by members of the group on an ongoing basis. Examples of topics include justice and fairness in machine learning, the form and extent of rights to information and technology access, the appropriate roles of institutions to prevent dissemination of misinformation, the responsible collection and sharing of data, AI research oversight models, and the moral status of artificial intelligences. The group also aims to encourage and develop information ethics research projects and collaborations by its members. Students and faculty from any discipline are encouraged to join. If you are interested in joining this group, or have any questions about it, inquiries should be directed to John Basl, Associate Professor of Philosophy.