April 20, 2005

Sac State philosophers ponder some of life's nastier matters

Who says philosophical exploration should be limited to the lofty concerns of Plato, Kierkegaard and Kant? Some of the least savory facts of everyday life-sick humor, pornography, Faustian bargains, assassination-will be fodder for philosophers during two days of debate and discussion on April 26 and 27 in the University Union Forest Suite. The free event, with sessions from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. each day, is open to all.

"The Dirty Works" is the theme of this year's Nammour Symposium, hosted by Sacramento State's Department of Philosophy. Named in honor of the late emeritus Philosophy professor Jamil Nammour, the symposium opens on April 26 with "'Roid Rage: A Philosophical Slugfest on Steroids," in which two Philosophy professors debate the use of steroids by professional and collegiate athletes. Topics for "What's Brown and Sticky? A Discussion of Bad Taste," an afternoon panel discussion on April 26, are "Why is Sick Funny?," "Dirty Minds, Dirty Pictures...Violent Acts?," and "Just Plain Ugly." On Wednesday afternoon, April 27, the topics for a panel of faculty philosophers are "Dirty Tradeoffs: What is Your Life Worth?," "Assassination as Moral Problem Solving," and "Getting Used to Horror."

Student philosophers weigh in on April 27, 10 a.m. to noon, when three winners of a student essay competition will present papers on the philosophical implications of such enterprises as prostitution, the sale of human organs, and blackmail.

It's all in good fun and all part of the Philosophy department's effort to make philosophical discussion accessible to the world beyond academia.

More information about the symposium is available from the Department of Philosophy at (916) 278-6424. Media assistance is available from Sacramento State Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156.

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