A few weeks ago, I presented one of my papers at the 2017 Northern New England Philosophical Association (NNEPA) conference. I originally wrote this paper on the problem of unconceived alternatives for a directed study on the philosophy of science with Professor Rory Smead. Inspired by one of the readings he had assigned, I explored scientific antirealism further and set out to determine whether such a view could be formalized under Bayesian conditionalization. My research led me to believe that the two schools of thought are incompatible. Presenting on this topic to a large audience allowed me to improve my work and consider other possible ways to further explore this topic.
Two other philosophy majors and good friends of mine, Aja Watkins and Devin Lane, also presented at this conference. Aja’s talk considered “Behavioral Limitations to School Choice”, and Devin’s discussed the “Taxonomy of Moral Autonomy”. I was happy to learn about their philosophical interests and where their research has brought them. The conference was, however, not limited to undergraduate presentations. Some graduate students presented their Masters or Ph.D. level work. A few professors discussed their current work. Lauren Ashwell’s talk called “Slurs and Groups” was particularly interesting. The talk itself was quite fascinating, and I could tell she had prepared a lot in advance. What struck me the most, however, was the professor’s composure during the Q&A session. She respected everyone’s questions and remarks despite the insensitivity that tinged some of them. Although I’ve often presented on topics that I care about deeply, I can only imagine what it must be like to give a presentation that is so deeply connected to everyone else in the room as well. Seeing Lauren Ashwell present on such an emotionally charged issue taught me that with enough preparation and respect any presentation can be a success.
There were a great variety of topics at the NNEPA conference, so I had the great opportunity of learning about things I haven’t encountered in the classroom. Presenting at the NNEPA was a wonderful experience overall. It gave me the opportunity to meet students and professors in philosophy from other institutions with similar interests while giving me the chance to get feedback on my own work.