Volume 8: Spring 2023

This virtual conference, which is supported by Washington and Lee University's Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, is the only open undergraduate conference in the country solely dedicated to the academic study of ethical issues. All accepted speakers will not only have the opportunity to present their papers at the conference, but also to have them published in the The Mudd Journal of Ethics.

The keynote speaker for the 2023 Mudd Center Undergraduate Ethics Conference will be C. Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. His lecture will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2023 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Lecture title: "Hostile Epistemology"

"We are limited beings who don't have enough time and energy to understand everything. We have to take risky shortcuts, and that leaves us vulnerable to exploitation. How can a hostile environment exploit our cognitive vulnerabilities?"

Professor Nguyen is interested in how social structures and technology shape what we care about and how we think and behave. He writes about a range of topics related to epistemology, aesthetics, and philosophy of games. He is particularly interested in how our rationality and agency is influenced by designed social structures such as games, echo chambers, and bureaucracies.
Professor Nguyen is a prolific scholar with a voice in public philosophy. His recent book entitled Games: Agency as Art explores games as an art form that shapes different forms of agency. It won the American Philosophical Associations 2021 Book Prize. Recent papers in epistemology include, among others, Transparency is Surveillance, How Twitter Gamifies Communication, and Trust as an Unquestioning Attitude (which earned the Honorable Mention in the 2019 Marc Sanders Prize in Epistemology). More information about Professor Nguyen's work, as well as article links, are available at objectionable.net.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Time Presenter Title

12:30-12:40 pm


12:40-1:00 pm

Esther Ma, UCLA ('23)

"From the Moral Legitimacy of the State to the Moral Legitimacy of Promising"

1:00-1:20 pm Response (JC Ward, W&L) and Discussion
1:20-1:30 pm Break
1:30-1:50 pm Dylan Santella, W&L ('25) "Gender and the Face: Expanding upon the Butlerian Model of Ethics"
1:50-2:10 pm Response (Sydney Smith, W&L) and Discussion
2:10-2:20 pm Break
2:20-2:40 pm Marina Sidlow, New College of Florida ('23) "The Non-Account of Gender Identity"
2:40-3:00 pm Response (Margaret Thompson, W&L) and Discussion
3:00-3:10 pm Break
3:10-4:10 pm Keynote: Professor C. Thi Nguyen "Hostile Epistemology"
4:10 pm Closing Remarks