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La Salle News

February 28, 2012

La Salle University to Host Greater Philadelphia Philosophical Consortium’s Undergraduate Conference

La Salle University’s Philosophy Club is sponsoring this year’s Greater Philadelphia Philosophical Consortium’s Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on Saturday, March 3. The theme for the program is moral relativism. Presenters will include students from as far away as Florida and Colorado.

The University won the right to host the conference by winning a lottery against other colleges in the region. It also received a grant from the Consortium.

The conference will start with a presentation of the top three student submissions, which La Salle’s Philosophy Club selected. The students are: John Kane, The College of New Jersey, who will present “Folk Understandings of the Relationship between Blame and Responsibility”; Omar Quinonez of the University of Colorado at Denver, who will present “Father Why Have You Forsaken Us?”; and Ryan Lambert, of Rollins College in Florida, who will present “Brutality and Mirror Neurons.”

Next, La Salle University Philosophy Professor Dr. Joel Garver and Byrn Mawr College Philosophy Professor Dr. Morgan Wallhagen will square off, debating moral relativism. (Essentially, moral relativism says that anything goes, because life is ultimately without meaning. Words like “ought” and “should” are rendered meaningless.)

Then it will be the students’ turn to philosophize with a “Philosophy Slam” on morality – what is it good for, or is it good for anything? A philosophy slam is a forum where people can express their philosophies and ideas on certain ideologies in an open discussion, and often there is one person who heads the forum.

“Philosophy slams are becoming more popular; they are usually held in a public place, such as a coffee shop, and present an opportunity for people to have an open discussion on a certain philosophy topic,” says Nathaniel Tarnoviski, a La Salle senior and Philosophy Club president.

Moral relativism has been defined as the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person’s individual choice. A person can decide what is right for themselves, such as you decide what’s right for you, and I’ll decide what’s right for me. Moral relativism says that if it’s true for me, then I believe it.

The conference is free and open to students and the public. For information, contact Tarnoviski at, or La Salle Philosophy Department Chairman Dr. Marc Moreau at Also you can visit the club’s Facebook page at

Katherine Blessing