Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 Speaker Series

We are pleased to host a series of speakers during the Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 acaemic year. Unless otherwise noted, these are free and open to the public, and each takes place at the Sacramento State Campus. Directions // Campus Map.

Event for April 18, 2018

Visiting Scholar Vikram Bhargava will be giving a public lecture, "Firm Responses to Mass Outrage: Social Media, Blame, and Termination"

1:30 PM to 3 PM, Terrace Suite (The WELL)


"This talk is about how businesses should respond to employee immoral conduct that occurs outside the workplace. In particular, I focus on cases that generate mass social media outrage. When an employee is the focus of this outrage, managers commonly respond by firing the employee. This, I argue, is often a mistake. The thesis I defend is that firing an employee in response to outside-of-work immoral (or allegedly immoral) conduct that gives rise to mass social media outrage constitutes an inappropriate form of blame."


Vikram Bhargava is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Prior to joining Santa Clara, he completed a joint-PhD in Ethics and Legal Studies (The Wharton School) and Philosophy (University of Pennsylvania). 

Event for November 2, 2017

Visiting Scholar Peter Jaworski will be giving a public lecture, "Blood on Our Hands: Markets in blood plasma and the moral arguments against them."

10:30 AM to 12 PM, Terrace Suite (The WELL)


May you sell your blood plasma? While it’s legal in the U.S., many still shudder at the thought. To put some goods and services up for sale offends human dignity. If everything is commodified, then nothing is sacred. The market corrodes our character. Or so many people say. In his talk, Peter Jaworski seeks to undermine all of these objections. If you may do it for free, then you may do it for money, he argues. A market in blood plasma would not corrupt our character, would not commodify any persons (nor parts of them), would not result in people having the wrong attitudes. And at any rate, what morally matters most is that we save as many lives as possible. Markets in blood plasma would do that. We are morally obligated to permit them.


Peter Jaworski is an Assistant Teaching Professor teaching business ethics in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Along with Jason Brennan, he is the author of Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests published in 2016.

Link to YouTube video.

Event for October 25, 2017

Visiting Scholar Tamler Sommers will be giving a public lecture, "Honor and Revenge."

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Hinde Auditorium (University Union)


Honor cultures are sometimes referred to as “revenge cultures,” because of their enthusiasm for the practice. Critics of honor point to this association as another reason to reject honor in favor of dignity. But revenge has many virtues, and the source of these virtues lies in the very features that moralists condemn about it: revenge is costly, revenge is risky, revenge is personal. Because of these features, the act of revenge can demonstrate personal qualities like courage, self-respect, loyalty, and even love. Revenge has a dark side, however, and is often difficult to contain. I’ll examine some ways to harness what’s good about revenge without suffering unacceptable costs.

Bio: Tamler Sommers is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston. He teaches primarily in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law, specializing in issues relating to free will, moral responsibility, punishment, and revenge. He also hosts the Very Bad Wizards Podcast with the psychologist David Pizarro, featuring discussions about ethics, free will, revenge, neuroscience, psychopaths, relativism, pop culture, and lots more.

Link to YouTube video.

Event for September 18, 2017

Visiting Scholar Rebecca Mason will be giving a public lecture, "On the Reality of Social Kinds."

11 AM to 12:30 PM, Orchard Suite (University Union)


The idea that social kinds (e.g., money, migrant, marriage) are mind-dependent is pervasive in the social ontology literature. So too is the thesis that social kinds are not real. Indeed, it is frequently asserted that social kinds are unreal in virtue of being mind-dependent. Thus, the thesis that social kinds depend on our mental states is thought to entail anti-realism with respect to them. Call this view Social Kind Anti-Realism. Despite the widespread acceptance of Social Kind Anti-Realism, I will argue that it is false. To the contrary, social kinds are as real as many mind-independent kinds.

Bio: Rebecca Mason is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco. She specializes in metaphysics (especially social ontology), and feminist philosophy. She also have interests in epistemology and philosophy of language. ​

Link to YouTube video.


Charles Koch Foundation; Institute for Humane Studies; Academic Technology and Creative Services; Event Services Office (University Union); Visiting Scholars Program (Center for Teaching and Learning) Sacramento State