Getting Involved

Philosophy Department Graduate Student Organization

The Philosophy Department Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is a group devoted to voicing the concerns of graduate students in the department, providing a forum for graduate students to make decisions democratically, and communicating information about department affairs to graduate students.

The GSO holds monthly meetings at which topics typically include news from faculty meetings (communicated by the two graduate representatives to the faculty), teaching allocation, professional development, health care, and anything else on graduate students' minds.

All Philosophy Department graduate students are encouraged to participate in the GSO, though any graduate student is free to opt out of participating. The group aims to be the center of the graduate community in the Philosophy Department.

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Through its faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars, the department provides numerous opportunities for graduate students to socialize and to further their intellectual engagement.

Colloquia and Lecture Series

Department Colloquia

Every semester, several philosophers from around the country or from abroad are invited by the department to give talks. A reception in Robbins Library follows.

Talks usually take place on Thursdays at 4 PM.  A full list of departmental colloquia is available on our Event Schedule page.

Logic Seminar and Colloquium

The department has a long history of interest in and contribution to the field of logic. Students interested in logic are invited to attend the Logic Colloquium, which meets roughly once a month and features a major figure in logic, speaking on a broad area of general interest. On occasion, there is a closely associated seminar talk, which meets during the preceding weeks and consists of presentations (by local students and faculty) on the background material for the upcoming colloquium.

Talks are held in the Harvard University Logic Center (2 Arrow Street, Room 420) at 4:00pm, unless otherwise noted. A full list for the Logic Colloquium is available on our Event Schedule page.

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Reading Groups

Members of the department (both faculty and graduate students) run several reading groups that meet throughout the year. Interested students are encouraged to contact the group's coordinator for information about meeting times.

Greek Reading Group

The Greek Reading Group meets regularly to read and discuss philosophical texts in Greek.

The group consists of faculty and students not only from several departments at Harvard but also from other local universities. All readers of Greek, at all levels, are welcome. Those interested in attending should contact Rusty Jones to be added to the email list notifying attendees of any schedule changes.

Meeting time:  Fridays, 2-4pm in the Tanner Room, Emerson Hall 3rd Floor.  (All are welcome, but people should check in with me if they want to come, so that they can get on my email list and know of any schedule changes.)

Contact: Rusty Jones

History of Philosophy Lunch Group

A work-in-progress group for students working in the history of philosophy (all periods). We hold bi-weekly one hour lunchtime meetings where one student informally presents work to the group.

Contact: Lauren Kopajtic

Kant Reading Group (on hiatus 2014-2015)

An ongoing bi-weekly reading group that meets to discuss interesting recent scholarship on or inspired by Kant. Each semester, the group studies the work of one or two contemporary scholars working on Kantian topics, reading a substantial body of work by a given author, and then bringing that person to Harvard to discuss the questions his or her work has provoked. Our focus to date has mainly been on Kant’s theoretical philosophy and its relevance to issues in the philosophy of mind and epistemology, but our agenda can vary in response to the interests of participants. Recent visitors to the group have included: Stephen Engstrom, Hannah Ginsborg, Béatrice Longuenesse, Christopher Peacocke, Houston Smit, and Daniel Sutherland.

The group is open to all serious students of Kant’s work.

Contact:

Philosophy and Literature Reading Group

The Philosophy and Literature reading group is a place for graduate students from different departments in the University to gather and discuss texts that are of interest to people in philosophy, in literary studies, and in other interested departments.  Richard Moran (Philosophy) convened the group in 2009, along with Philip Fisher and Elaine Scarry from the English Department, and we meet more or less every third week of the semester, in the Bechtel Room in Emerson Hall.  Discussions are led off each time by one of the graduate students attending.  Some of the texts we have read together include Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Pascal’s Pensées, Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death, Rousseau’s Emile, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and Rilke’s Duino Elegies.  All graduate students are welcome.

Contact: Richard Moran

Stoics Reading Group

A reading group covering some classics of Stoic philosophy (we have read Cicero's Tusculan Disputations and plan to read Epictetus' Discourses, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, and other texts). We meet bi-weekly in an informal setting for two hours.

Contact: Lauren Kopajtic

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Workshops

Workshops offer graduates students an opportunity to share work with colleagues working in the same area.

Workshop in Metaphysics & Epistemology (M&E)

Open to advanced graduate students working in the area of metaphysics and/or epistemology, this workshop meets regularly to discuss the work of the student members and sponsors two public lectures by invited speakers from outside the department each year.

Workshop in Moral & Political Philosophy (M&P)

Open to advanced graduate students working in the area of moral and/or political philosophy, this workshop meets regularly to discuss the work of the student members and sponsors two public lectures by invited speakers from outside the department each year.

Talk-Shop

The Talk-Shop is an informal version of the Workshops that is open to everyone, from G1 to emeritus. It's an opportunity for speakers to try out new lines of thinking in a relaxed, conversational setting, and for those attending to contribute to the development of work-in-progress while learning what their peers are up to.

Contact: Olivia Bailey

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Organizations

Organizations presents graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to connect with students and faculty both within and beyond Harvard.

Minorities and Philosophy (MAP)

MAP is a collection of students in English-speaking philosophy departments that aims to examine and address issues of minority participation in academic philosophy. Though primarily led by graduate students, MAP also relies on faculty support and encourages undergraduate participation.

Harvard's MAP chapter has organized meetings between faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to discuss climate issues and has sponsored talks by Sheila Heen, Nancy Bauer, and Sally Haslanger.

Contact: Patricia Marechal

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Other Activities

Philosophy Film Series

Three to four times each semester the department sponsors screenings of films with a variety of philosophical themes. 

A list of the films and the dates on which they will be shown appears on our Event Schedule page.

Poetry Reading

Several times each semester, the department's library plays host to poetry readings organized by two of our doctoral students, Aleksy Tarasenco-Struc and Oded Na'aman. This lively event brings together faculty, doctoral students, undergraduate concentrators, and scholars from area universities to share favorite poems and, on occasion, to present new work.

A list of dates for these readings appears on our Event Schedule page.

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