"The Lives of Human Animals"
September 26-28, 2013
Fountain View Room, University Center
|The problem of personal identity is one of the most bewitching puzzles in all of philosophy.
Until very recently, most philosophers subscribed to the view first advocated by the
17th-century British philosopher, John Locke. Locke held that our fundamental nature
is given by our status as self-conscious, rational agents ("persons") and that the
conditions under which we persist through time and change are thus to be accounted
for in terms of psychological continuity. The main topic of the 32nd annual Spindel
Conference will be an anti-Lockean view that has recently gained support amongst philosophers.
According to this view, known as “animalism,” our fundamental nature is given not
by our psychological capacities, but by our biological constitution: we are primates
(Homo sapiens), and like all organisms, we persist just in case we continue living.
The overarching aim of this year's conference is to provide a forum in which metaphysicians
and philosophers of mind working on animalism are brought together with those who
are presently engaged in pertinent debates in other areas of philosophy—including
philosophy of biology, metaphysics, ethics, philosophical psychology, and philosophy
of religion. So, besides animalism in its own right, among the topics to be explored
are the nature of organic life, the metaphysics and ethics of death, issues in animal
cognition, the possibility of the afterlife, animal interests, etc.
For further information, please contact Stephan Blatti at blatti<at>memphis<dot>edu
|About the Spindel Conference
|A successful Memphis businessman, Murray Spindel was a dedicated philosopher who often
took courses at the University of Memphis. In 1981, Murray endowed the Spindel Fund
which supports both an annual philosophy conference and a dissertation fellowship.
Since his death in 1999, Murray’s wife, Chris, has continued the Spindel family’s
support of the department.
The Spindel Conference brings to campus each fall the highest caliber of philosophers
from around the world, and the proceedings are published annually as the Spindel Supplement to The Southern Journal of Philosophy. The conference has greatly enhanced the intellectual life of the campus by enabling
undergraduates to interact with the top scholars in philosophy and by inviting the
community to discuss provocative ideas. The Spindel Conference is both a scholarly
and social event and has come to define what is best about philosophy in Memphis and
what Murray Spindel loved most: the friendly, but lively and engaging pursuit of truth.
Information about recent Spindel Conferences can be found here.
* * *
Murray Spindel, who died of cancer on July 7, 1999, was a great friend to the University
of Memphis and to the faculty members and students in the Philosophy Department who
came to know him. In the fall of 1981, Murray gave an endowment to the University
of Memphis that has been used by the Philosophy Department to fund an annual conference
on varying philosophical topics. Directed by faculty, the conference is held each
fall (usually late September or early October); the proceedings are published as a
supplement to The Southern Journal of Philosophy. The Spindel Philosophy Conference has become an internationally renowned event,
and the Spindel Supplements offer timely and important contributions to philosophy.