Breakout Sessions

  1. Breakout Session 1

    10:00 am

  2. Breakout Session 2

    11:00 am

  3. Breakout Session 3

    1:00 pm

  • Problems in Metaphysics

    with Connor Dull and Dan Chepkwony

    Do you ever find yourself wondering why there is something rather than nothing? Whether being is one or manifold? No? Well, not all metaphysical questions are so esoteric, but they do deal with what the world and humans really are, at bottom. Join us to discuss some key metaphysical issues, including whether human beings have souls, if free will exists, and what it means to “be yourself.”

    Connor Dull and Dan Chepkwony

  • Feminist Theory

    with Rachel Johnson and Taylor Bowen

    What roles are people expected to fill according to their gender identities? Are these expectations ever harmful? In this session we will explore feminist philosophy and the role gender plays in our society. We will consider various approaches to feminist philosophy, including intersectionality, which investigates how our various identity factors intersect to create different types of oppression.

    Rachel Johnson and Taylor Bowen

  • Ethics

    with Dr. David Concepión

    How do we know what the right thing to do is? Is it better to maximize happiness for a lot of people even if it means cheating or stealing? How do you become a good person? Is morality relative or objective or something else entirely?

    In this session, you will explore these and other questions, examining the branch of philosophy called Ethics.

    Dr. David Concepión

  • Political Philosophy

    with Joey Glover and Isaach Watkins

    Who should rule our societies? What does it mean to be free? What responsibilities do we have to one another or to the state? Political philosophy interrogates what it means to live in community. It asks questions about political discourse, justice and liberty, rights and freedoms, property, and the legitimacy of authority. It also examines how these questions relate to factors of our identity, including factors such as sex, gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class. Join us for a session about various approaches to these questions.

    Joey Glover and Isaach Watkins

  • Existentialism

    with Dr. Sarah Vitale

    What does it mean to be human? If I didn’t ask to be born, what responsibility do I have with my life? Is there anything I am meant to do?

    In this session, you will learn about Existentialism, which focuses on what our emotions, such as anxiety or dread, tell us about our lives or what it means to be human. We will also consider what it means to be free and what it means to live an authentic life.

    Dr. Sarah Vitale

  • Art and Social Justice

    with Dr. Kate Thorson, Connor Dull, and Abby Eads

    What better way to explore how art functions as social criticism than by taking a guided tour of the David Owsley Museum of Art? Students will be accompanied by POP facilitators and DOMA staff as we discuss the intersection of art and philosophy, famous philosophers in the field of aesthetics, and different definitions of art while analyzing and appreciating accompanying artwork and objects. The David Owsley Museum of Art houses over 11,000 works of art, with over 1000 on display at any given time and is one of four encyclopedic collections in Indiana containing objects from North America, South America, Africa/Oceania, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

    Dr. Kate Thorson, Connor Dull, and Abby Eads

  • What is Religion?

    with Dr. Matthew Hotham

    If someone asked you to define religion, you might start by listing examples of major world religions. Or, you might describe central elements of your own religious tradition. But, what if you encountered a community, practice, object, or text “in the wild” and had to determine whether it was religious or not? How would you do so? In this session we will try to answer the question “what is religion, anyway?” through examining popular definitions of religion and applying them to complex and borderline cases like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We may not come to a firm definition by the end of the session, but we will gain some insight into how others have tried to answer this question and learn to identify what makes some definitions more useful than others.

    Dr. Matthew Hotham

  • One Small Step for Man, One Giant Ethical Problem for Mankind

    with Cecilia Becker and Kegan Kuklenski

    Humanity has always reached for the stars, and in recent history, we have even touched them. But how close is too close? What right do we have to inhabit outer space? In this session, participants will take an in-depth look at the night sky in the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, Ball State’s full-dome planetarium. We will then discuss the ethics of space exploration. Is planetary colonization morally acceptable? How can we ethically explore the universe?

    Cecilia Becker and Kegan Kuklenski

  • Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Adoption

    with Dr. Kevin Harrelson

    What is cultural appropriation? And what are some examples? Some use the term to name a kind of theft of culture. A common example is when white women wear traditionally Black hairstyles. The idea is that these people have stolen or profited from modes of expression that are not their property – they’re taking what doesn’t belong to them! But can anyone own cultural expressions like hairstyles or musical genres? In this session we will discuss white rappers, ethnic food, and other such issues, in order to pose the question of how we should think about the relationship between people and culture.

    Dr. Kevin Harrelson

  • The First Amendment

    with Dr. Darren Wheeler and the Honors College

    Visit a class in the Honors College!

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides some of the most fundamental rights in American society. Since its origin, the scope of these rights has been the subject of intense and passionate debate. In a nation that places a premium on freedom and liberty, how do we balance these concepts with the type of societal order that any country needs to function? This course uses court cases, essays, and other materials to explore the origins of these First Amendment rights, and how they have developed legally, politically, and socially over time.

    Dr. Darren Wheeler and the Honors College

  • Disability and Inclusion

    with Taylor Bowen and Dan Chepkwony

    Sometimes it is hard to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Despite one’s strengths and weaknesses, we all deserve support and equal opportunity. We will provide insight into the raw experiences of certain physical disabilities, discuss statistical prejudices, and review personal accounts and success stories. We aim to educate and raise questions on how you can contribute to making society more accessible for people with disabilities.

    Taylor Bowen and Dan Chepkwony

  • AI Chatbot Issues and Challenges

    with Justyce Walker and Kegan Kuklenski

    Whether you need step-by-step guidance on how to solve mathematical problems or help writing your last-minute paper for class, ChatGPT, the intelligent chatbot, can successfully generate these automated chat tasks and more. Bing Chat will answer any question you throw its way. DALL-E will make you an artwork to hang above your couch. All of these programs bring with them serious ethical issues. Is using AI to help with your homework cheating? Is art still a human expression? Might AI erode public trust through “deep fakes”? Join us to consider these questions and more.

    Justyce Walker and Kegan Kuklenski

  • Legislation and the LGBTQ+ Population

    with Abby Eads and Joey Glover

    During the last legislative session of the Indiana State House, there were several proposed bills regarding LGBTQIA+ issues. While the questions are certainly political, gender identity, sexual identity, and sexual orientation have to do with some of the most personal parts of our experiences. Reflect on your identities. What gender and sexuality expectations do you encounter? Which gender norms do you reject, and which do you accept? Who sets the norms for gender and sexuality? Join us in discussing these questions and more in this session as we explore the issues facing the LGBTQ+ population. 

    Abby Eads and Joey Glover


    with Cecilia Becker and Jackson Smith

    In a world steeped in a billion different ideas, stories, and opinions, it can be difficult to pick out the accurate ones. It becomes even more difficult online. How can we determine what is “true” in the media? We will be discussing things like echo chambers, media literacy, and disinformation in order to better understand how the “truth” can be found and established in a sea of information.

    Cecilia Becker and Jackson Smith

  • Critical Conversations in CRT

    with Rachel Johnson and Isaach Watkins

    In the recent past, conversations regarding race have focused on an academic theory called “Critical Race Theory” or CRT. Many argue that CRT should not be taught in schools, but it’s not clear that everyone knows what CRT even is. In this session, we will talk about the definition of CRT and consider how race and racism should be addressed in our schools and what role critical examination of our society should play in K-12 spaces.

    Rachel Johnson and Isaach Watkins

  • The Opioid Crisis

    with Dr. Sarah Vitale

    Almost 300 people die every day due to drug overdose in the United States. The majority of these deaths are due to opioids. Recently, fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, is contributing to many of these deaths. Indiana has been particularly hard hit. In fact, the state will be receiving $507 million of the $26 billion national settlement with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. In this session, we will consider how the opioid epidemic affects all of us and what our responsibilities are (if any) to respond.

    Dr. Sarah Vitale