Muhlenburg University

Newsletter Issue #155  November, 2018

Newsletter Email version of the current newsletter (includes contact emails for chapter advisors.)


Chapter News


CA-IOTA(0509) [Westmont College; advisor, Jim Taylor] Officers: Matthew Coffman, Lucas Vieira, Austin Nachbur, Hana Iskandar.

CA-PI(0516) [Chapman University, Orange; advisor, Michael Robinson] NEW ADVISOR.

CO-GAMMA(0603) [Fort Lewis College; advisor, Justin P. McBrayer] All of our members graduated last year. We have inductions planned for the fall, and Adam Hamilton and Sophie Schwartz are presumed officers at this point.

FL-ETA(1007) [Florida International University; advisor, Elizabeth Scarbrough] President: Ana Trelles, Vice-president: Leonardo Garza.

FL-THETA(1008) [Florida Southern College; advisor, H. A. Nethery, IV] At our first meeting, we worked out a nominating process for officers, discussed frequency of meetings, event types for the chapter, and how we might reach out to other campus clubs for co-hosted events. We decided that we would meet twice each month, once for a discussion and once for a movie night. Movie nights would be good candidates for co-hosted events, for example, with the computer science group. We also considered meetings centered around paradoxes and difficult thought experiments. We also considered a GroupMe account for people interested in the club who cannot make other meetings. For meeting types, we considered debates, support of speakers at other campuses, charity events, music listening groups, and discussions of various topics.

At our first October meeting, we had a presentation of "Waterborne." We asked, "What is scary?" Why are zombies scary? This led into a general discussion of fear, the fear of change, the fear of lack of control, physical and psychological fear, and other types of fear. This led into a discussion of rational and irrational fears and the consequences of fear. At our second October meeting, we discussed the purposes of masks in social media and pop culture. We considered masks (e.g., plastic surgery) to hide physical appearance, just to hide, and to appear better than we are. Also, we considered masks as an obligation to people, to parents, friends, or strangers.

GA-ALPHA(1101) [University of Georgia; advisor, Sarah Wright] President: Valerie King, Vice- president: Riley Findley, Secretary: Brenton Lee Brown, Treasurer: Miles Morgan.

GA-THETA(1108) [Valdosta State University; advisor, Christine James] President: Drew Campbell, Vice-president: Nora Brown, Secretary: Lauren Corley, Treasurer: Connor McCarthy. On October 16, Dr. Alan Godlas from the University of Georgia held a guest talk for our Philosophy and Religious Studies club.

GA-IOTA(1109) [University of West Georgia; advisor, Rosemary Kellison] President: Madison Reed, Vice-president: Baily Johnston, Secretary/Treasurer: Alexandra Pelaez.

IL-IOTA(1407) [Lake Forest College; advisor, Jennifer Jhun] NEW ADVISOR.

IL-TAU(1419) [DePaul University; advisor, Maria Acosta Lopez] NEW ADVISOR.

IA-GAMMA(1603) [Iowa State University; advisor, Ranpal Dosanjh] Officer: Emily E. Dietzenbach.

KY-ALPHA(1801) [Bellarmine University; advisor, Katherine Johnson] NEW ADVISOR.

LA-GAMMA(1903) [Xavier University of New Orleans; advisor, Thora Bayer] In September, the Xavier University of Louisiana inducted two new members, gave each a packet of information about Phi Sigma Tau, and discussed their philosophy courses and future plans.

MD-ZETA(2106) [Salisbury University; advisor, Joerg Tuske] Officers: Bridget Berdit, Jackson Malkus, Wesley Rubbin, and Kristen Ruth Wilson.

MI-KAPPA(2310) [Hillsdale College; advisor, Lee Cole] President: Matthew Nolan, Vice-president: Gill West, Secretary: Caitlin Weighner, Treasurer: Sarah Becker

MN-BETA(2402) [St. Olaf College; advisor, Danny Muñoz-Hutchinson] Officers: Alexander Cavender, William Rosschaert, Elijah Sparrow. Our next colloquium will be on November 29 with associate member Matthew Erickson presenting his Ringstad paper from last term. We discussed the possibility of a future, casual philosophical movie night and discussion event with pizza and beverages. The event will have to be funded by World Philosophy Day button sales and the PST budget. We also discussed a peer editing session for December where students in upper-level philosophy classes and members might gather, read some of each other’s papers, and offer feedback. This event should also have pizza since it is not possible to have too much pizza. Finally, we considered inviting an off-campus speaker for the Spring semester as well as possibly holding a faculty colloquium. We will consider later people we might invite.

MO-EPSILON(2605) [Evangel University; advisor, Brandon Schmidly] President: Samuel West, Vice- president: Michael Tofte.

NE-BETA(2802) [Creighton University; advisors, Jacob Rump and Marc Johansen] NEW ADVISOR. President: Alyssa Ellerbusch, Vice-president: MC Raterman, Secretary: Emery Staton, Treasurer: Bailey Nelson.

NJ-DELTA(3104) [Rider University; advisor, Joel Feldman] President: Nick Wrig, Vice-president: Dana Reilly, Secretary: Josh Lewis.

NJ-LAMBDA(3111) [Rowan University; advisor, Nathan Bauer] Our last year was quite successful; our Philosophy Club met twelve times, and sessions were very well attended. We discussed a variety of topics, including the NFL protests, death and the emotions, tranformative experiences, and the concept of authenticity. On February 26, we held a ceremony, inducting 26 new members into our chapter. In addition, we have achieved full Student Government Association status, and this will give us a budget to host additional (and fancier) events this year.

NM-ALPHA(3201) [University of New Mexico; advisor, Pierre-Julien Harter] President: Patrick Cooper, Vice-president: Ian Lubkin, Secretary: Israel Benitez, Treasurer: Taylor Willis. These officers were nominated and elected at our first meeting. Our advisor, Professor Harter, proposed open meetings be held, and a group discussion refined this idea into themed public events with a professional from another field invited to assist in hosting. We planned to hold weekly meetings, and Israel proposed a reading list to help facilitate discussions at meetings. Sean Williams advised contemporary papers to be read by the members. We also considered attending a conference as a potential activity for members. At an October meeting, the University of New Mexico chapter considered a film event with a focus on bringing non- philosophers into the discussions. We also considered alternating movie nights between private and public. And Jacob suggested exploring philosophy and recent issues of sexual harassment, possibly inviting faculty from gender theory to participate.

Members discussed planning a trip to the Pacific University Undergrad Philosophy Conference. UNM may reimburse travel costs if at least three members go to the conference. Sean met with the computer science expert who works on scientific simulations. Two other members will look over two of his papers to settle on themes for discussion, particularly problems with supercomputing and how supercomputers are beginning to outpace storage methods. This raises questions of what data to keep and how to decide.

NY-EPSILON(3305) [Molloy College; advisor, Kimberly Engels] NEW ADVISOR.

NY-THETA(3308) [Nazareth College; advisor, Adrian Arellano] President: Tatiana Avangelista, Vice- president: Walter Schraeder, Secretary: Marissa  Saporito,  Treasurer:  Zacaria  Manning.   With all members present, we  discussed T-shirt design, a  Memorial  Art  Gallery  ‘field trip,’ and a Ted Talk as the topic for a  future meeting.

OH-TAU(3619) [Walsh University; advisor, Joe Vincenzo] President: Noah LaVictoire, Vice-Secretary: Phillip Pillin. Our chapter voted that we not revoke the chapter at Rhodes College and recommended the department look for another advisor. Our activities may include a movie night with a corresponding philosophical discussion, collaboration with the Walsh University Philosophy Club for appropriate philosophy events, and possible submissions for the Phi Sigma Tau Journal, Dialogue.

OR-DELTA(3804) [Western Oregon University; advisor, Ryan Hickerson] Officers: Erik Morgan, Jon Naylor, Nathan Soltz.

PA-MU(3912) [Villanova University; advisor, Sally Scholz] President: Libby O’Brien, Vice-president: James Benecke, Secretary: Allison Garippa, Treasurer: John D’Augelli, Archivist: Jon Mack.

PA-XI(3914) [Bucknell University; advisor, Maria Balcells] President: Alex Suss, Vice-president: Nicole Vacas, Secretary: Gigi Vaccari. At our first meeting on August 22, we scheduled rooms for our Food for Thought series. At the first meeting, September 6, we considered Why Philosophy? Phi Sigma Tau officers will lead a discussion of the question; all who are interested in philosophy are invited. Other Food for Thought events are still to be determined.

TN-ZETA(4306) [University of Tennessee at Martin; advisor, Matthew Braddock] NEW CHAPTER.

TX-MU(4412) [University of Texas at Arlington; advisor, Kenneth Williford] President: Jeremy Averyt, Vice-president: James Yerby, Secretary: Kason Starks, Treasurer: Michelle Cheeney. The University of Texas, Arlington, chapter scheduled several events for the term. The first event will consider shelter dogs and therapy dogs. The second event is a movie night. In late October we planned a Buddhist speaker, and the first week of November will be a debate with possible topics of Libertarian leaning versus Progressive leaning, Why entrepreneurship won’t save us, Capitalism and higher education, Mill’s On Liberty, and Nozick and Rawls. The November 8 speaker will deal with a German philosopher.

TX-NU(4413) [University of Houston—Downtown; advisor, Joseph Westfall] President Justin Hill, Vice-president: Idana Morgan, Secretary/Treasurer: Julio Enriquez.

TX-OMICRON(4415) [University of Dallas; advisor, Cynthia Nielsen] President: Jean-Paul Juge, Vice- president: Christine Newman, Secretary: Andrew Collart, Treasurer: Katie Johnson. These officers were elected or confirmed in a brief meeting.

VA-GAMMA(4703) [James Madison University; advisor, Anne van Leeuwen] NEW ADVISOR.

VA-ZETA(4706) [Liberty University; advisor, Michael S. Jones] President: Gabriel O’Dea.

VA-MU(4712) [Washington and Lee University; advisor, Nathaniel Goldberg] Co-presidents: Alex Farley and Michael Barro; Secretary/Treasurer Brittany Smith.

VA-XI(4714) [Southern Virginia University; advisor, Shantia Rahimian] President: Zachary Bowers, Vice-president: Travis Chisholm, Treasurer: Philip Soelberg.


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Our October issue is at Mennonite Press now, and approval has been given for printing. I expect printing and distribution to occur soon. We will be printing 13 articles in this issue, the most we have ever printed in a single issue. We can be proud of the work of philosophy students throughout the world; as you may recall, in the past we have printed articles from students in India, Iran, England, and other non-US countries. Occasionally, questions do arise about our policies on acceptance of papers. We only publish student papers, not the papers of professional philosophers. But we do publish papers of both undergraduate and graduate students. We do not require students to be enrolled in philosophy programs, nor must contributors be Phi Sigma Tau members. And we do construe ‘‘student’’ broadly. While we cannot accept papers from those who have completed doctorate degrees, we do consider the submission of a senior project is acceptable even after the author has graduated from his or her institution. In fact, we encourage advisors to urge students who have written superior senior projects in philosophy to submit their work to our editor, Dr. Steve Barbone. Papers may be submitted to Dr. Barbone by email attachment at [email protected]. Authors of accepted papers will receive ten copies of the issue in which their paper is published.

We also encourage students to consider writing book reviews. In the past we have had an ample book review section in each issue, but only a few reviews have been submitted for the past several issues. A list of books is contained in each issue of the journal, and you can request a book (first-come, first-served) from the editor. We do ask that you be prompt in writing your review and expect that you will in fact write and submit a review for the book you receive. The book is yours to keep after you have completed and submitted your review. Authors of accepted reviews will receive five copies of the issue in which their review is published.


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Graduation Regalia

During the school year, I am often asked about graduation regalia, and during the very busy graduation season, it is difficult to find time to answer individual questions. If you or your students are interested in regalia, the following information will be helpful; advisors, please be sure that students are aware of this information. This information will now be included in membership packets; please keep the information available if you want honor society stoles, cords, or other items.

The National Office of Phi Sigma Tau does not stock or sell any graduation regalia. However, we do have arrangements with two firms that will provide regalia and some other items for Phi Sigma Tau members. Please note that Phi Sigma Tau does not profit from any transactions between members and the companies; the transactions are simply between the companies and the members or advisors. In each case, however, pooling any orders will save on shipping and handling.

ERFFMEYER & SON CO., INC (same as ESCO). This company has served our students for years.

You can go to our special site at ESCO by going to

where you can see images of items and order.

Oak Hall Industries will provide honor cords for Phi Sigma Tau. If you call them, be sure to let them know you are ordering for Phi Sigma Tau and that the colors are purple and white. You will need to call. The number is 800-456-7623. Oak Hall’s cords have been less expensive than Erffmeyer’s, but I have no way to compare quality.


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From the Executive Council of Phi Sigma Tau


Though the school year is not half over, many schools in the United States have faced a number of disasters, both natural and human. We sympathize with all who are affected by the shootings, the hurricanes, the tornados, the floods, the fires, and other catastrophes. We sympathize with all the students and faculty who are affected as well as with all those who have lost homes, livelihoods, and especially with those who have lost loved ones.




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 International Honor Society in Philosophy

 Dr. David E. Gibson, Humanities Division

Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy

 Malibu, CA 90263-4225

[email protected]




Newsletter A listing of email addresses for chapter advisors is available in the email version of the current newsletter.