In keeping with the ancient tradition of our discipline as presented in Plato’s dialogue the Symposium, graduating majors are invited to participate in a departmental Symposium. Participation in the Symposium is a requirement for all seniors, but some advanced junior philosophy majors may also take part in it. The purpose is to allow students the opportunity to engage in a “full-out” dialogue and comprehensive discussion of their ideas. Students and faculty will share in the experience of libation, food, song, prose and dialogue. Truth will be served, singing is optional!
The format for our Symposium follows the same procedures as those in Plato’s dialogue. (If you have not read Plato’s Symposium, please do so.) Moving in a clock-wise manner each senior student delivers a five to ten minute speech of a main philosophical idea. In turn, each student responds to the previous presenter before elaborating on his or her own thoughts on the subject at hand. Themes and topics for discussion are established in advance by faculty and students. The themes previously explored: “The Good Life" (2009), "Chaos, Order, Harmony" (2010), “Truth, Illusion, and Reality” (2011), “Aesthetics” (2012), and “Self-knowledge” (2013). In addition to an oral presentation senior students are required to prepare a three page written synopsis of their positions with references and footnotes. Student presentations are evaluated on the basis of content, insight, and critical apparatus.
Our Symposium, traditionally sponsored by the Philosophy department and the Undergraduate Philosophy Society, takes place near the end of each spring semester. To prepare for the Symposium all graduating seniors need to enroll in Phil 515, Senior Symposium course in the spring Semester. If you have any questions please contact professor Giancola, 2014 Symposium Hostess at firstname.lastname@example.org.