Undergraduate Philosophy Conference Success

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This year’s University of Sheffield Philosophy Undergraduate conference was held on 18-19 March 2017. The conference is arranged every year by the Department of Philosophy and is a great chance for undergraduates to experience presenting one of their own papers to an interested group of peers.

We welcomed undergraduate Philosophy students from around the world who spoke on topics from environmental ethics and philosophy of language, to metaethics and ethics, amongst others. We were also happy to welcome keynote speakers David Liggins from the University of Manchester speaking about ‘Nihilism about Truth’ and our own Yonatan Shemmer on ‘The Object of Truth’.

Beatriz Perez Garcia, one of the undergraduate organising committee, said "Organising the event was both great fun and a lot of effort. It goes without saying that we were happy the work was worth it!  After each talk there was always a debate, where everyone had something interesting with which contribute to the discussion. That is precisely, in my opinion, the best thing about the conference. Watching how everything unfolds after months of preparation is exciting, but meeting students passionate about their own interests, with unique points of view, is the highlight of organising this kind of event."

“Do Zombies Listen to Music and, If So, Do They Like It?”

On the first day of the conference we welcomed Samuel Boardman (University of Manchester) who discussed optimism about (non-aesthetic) artistic value in his talk “Meeting Lopes' Challenge”. Emilia Wilson joined us from University of St. Andrews to ask “Can Geometric Diminishing Value Theory Provide a Satisfactory Account of Population Value?”

Kane Baker (University of Exeter) spoke “In Defence of Causal Role Functions” and Alexander Elliott (University of Birmingham) asked “Do Zombies Listen to Music and, If So, Do They Like It?”

Katy Rome (University of York) asked “What Precisely is the Doctrine of Karma and What Work Is It Doing in Buddhist Ethics and Metaphysics?” and Grace Field (University of Toronto/St. Andrews) gave “A Defence of Associative Poincaréan Psychological Darwinism”

Korsgaard, Wittgenstein, Woollard and more

On the second day Victoria Skeie (University of St. Andrews) offered “A Critical Engagement with Korsgaard's ‘Aristotle's Function Argument’” and Bruno Russell (University of Southampton) spoke on “On Doing and Allowing Harm: Objecting to Woollard”.

Anne-Marie McCallion (University of Durham) spoke about “Wittgenstein, 'Freedom & Ideology'” and our own Michael Chilton (University of Sheffield) asked “Is There a Positive Case to Be Made for Tackling Climate Change from the Position of the Self-interested State: A Response to Green’s Nationally Self-interested Framework”

The last of the undergraduate speakers was Josefine Klingspor (University of Toronto) who spoke about "Moore v. The Naturalist".

I highly recommend participating in the event next year!

Beatriz Pereza Garcia

UG Conference organising committee


Philosophy undergraduates run their own undergraduate Philosophy journal, PhilonoUS which is currently published twice a year. Interviews with this year’s conference keynote speakers, David Liggins and Yonatan Shemmer will feature in the next issue of the journal.


We would like to thank the team of undergraduate students who worked with staff to arrange another successful conference: Beatriz Perez Garcia, Kamille Fijalkowski, Julia Kolecka, and Kate Marron. The speakers also congratulated the committee for an engaging and fun weekend.

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