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Regional philosophy conference moves online

May 11, 2020

Group of listeners on ZoomMandates to stay at home put the 23rd Annual Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference in jeopardy. Many students from numerous Florida universities had already submitted their philosophy projects for consideration to UNF’s Philosophy Department. Dr. Aaron Creller, assistant professor, who ran the conference last year, decided to transition the conference to a virtual platform rather than canceling, so that students at least had an opportunity to participate. Creller said the department received about 20 submissions and selected 11.


“These are usually final papers that students have written typically for philosophy classes,” Creller said. “As an example, one project discussed arguments about whether or not doctors should always tell the full truth to patients, even if that might cause the patient stress. This was one, but there were many different types of topics discussed.”

UNF’s Dr. Andrew Buchwalter, Presidential Professor, was one of the keynote speakers for the event, as well as UNF alum and philosophy major Kyle Hodge, who was invited to speak about his research.

Though no one knows what next year will bring, Creller said they at least know that a Zoom option can be successful, won’t affect the amount of participation and will save time and expense on travel. Yet personal interaction has its benefits as well. “In a face-to-face conference you have the opportunity to chat with people during breaks and over lunch, which is missed during an online format,” Creller said.