Recent News

On Taking Children at Their Word: Agency, Responsibility, and Epistemic Harm

Children in the Civil Rights Movement

Michael D. Burroughs, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Director Kegley Institute of Ethics

Friday, February 9th, 3:00pm ~ Humanities Complex, HUM 1109

Recent discussions of epistemic injustice have increasingly highlighted ways in which children, alongside other social groups, are subjected to forms of epistemic prejudice and related harms. As important as these discussions are, a problem arises when we take seriously the implications of these authors’ claims, namely, that children are credible epistemic agents. Recognizing agency in children supports our listening to them as testimonial agents and their greater inclusion as members of an epistemic community. But this inclusion and attribution of agency ostensibly commits us to attributing responsibility to children for their speech and related acts, whether virtuous or vicious, good or bad. The problematic aspects of this commitment become clear, for example, when we are facing a young child who authors ignorant, disturbing, and even violent, hate speech that does harm to others. In this and related cases, we are left with a quandary: on the one hand, we want to respect the epistemic agency that children possess; on the other hand, extending this respect also leaves us in the uncomfortable and, at least in some cases, counterintuitive position of holding young, developing children, responsible for actions that they do not fully understand, or for consequences that they do not appreciate. In this talk, I will survey current attempts to address child-centered epistemic harms, while also presenting the complexity at hand in respecting and taking children at their word. I argue that children present a special case for us in our considerations of epistemic injustice – they both merit respect as persons possessing epistemic agency and, at the same time, can be harmed by related attributions of epistemic responsibility. We need a better, more nuanced understanding of child epistemic agency that will help us to make sense of this tension, and that will have implications for our understanding of other domains of child agency (e.g. moral and political agency).

Check Out Dr. Jacquelyn Kegley's Wonderful Profile on the CSU website:

Congratulations to Dr. Jacquelyn A. Kegley

for Receiving CSUB's 40+ Year Service Award on April 26, 2017!

Picture of Dr. Kegley with Award

Congratulations to Dr. Paul Newberry & Dr. Christopher Meyers, for Receiving CSUB's 30+ Year Service Award

Congratulations to Dr. Senem Saner for Receiving CSUB's 10 Year Service Award

Thanks to all faculty members for their time and service to this department

Congratulations to Dr. Kegley & the Kegley Center for Student Success' Grand Re-Opening!

Picture of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

CSUB Ethics Bowl at CSU Chico!

Ethic Bowl 2016

Fall 2016

The CSUB Ethics Bowl team participated in the California Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition on December 3, 2016 at CSU, Chico, along with 17 other teams from 10 colleges and universities.  In three rounds of competition against teams from Chapman University, CSU Chico, and Cabrillo College, the team insightfully discussed a wide range of ethical issues, including political correctness, abortion, and 3D-printed guns.  The six members of the team, David Baker, Stephanie Borges, Jennifer Fair, Francisco Holguin, Russell Ming, and Cristal Ronquillo, were coached by Dr. Nate Olson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy.  The competition was the culmination of the team members’ semester-long work in Philosophy 4620: Internship in Practical Philosophy (which is offered each fall).

Support for the Ethics Bowl team was provided by the CSUB Teaching and Learning Center (through a Teaching Innovation Grant), the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, the Kegley Institute of Ethics, and Gene Voiland, a board member of the Kegley Institute.

Dr. Kegley's two new publications!

Fall 2016

Lost Individuals and Lost Communities: How Do We Restore Relationships? Insight from Josiah Royce. The PluralistThe Journal of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, II(3), 26-41.

Spring 2016

Josiah Royce and C.I. Lewis: Teacher and Student with Many Shared Affinities. Transactions of the Charles S. Pierce Society, A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy, 52(2), 220-238.

Another new publication from Dr. Jackson!

Winter 2016

Throwing Like a Slayer: A Phenomenology of Gender Hybridity and Female Resilience in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, 14.1(43).

Publication from Dr. Debra Jackson!

Winter 2016

Answering the Call: Crisis Intervention and Rape Survivor Advocacy as Witnessing Trauma. Critical Trauma Studies: Understanding Violence, Conflict and Memory in Everyday Life.

In Previous Years

CSUB Ethics Team represents well! 

Ethics Bowl Finals

Should states mandate or prohibit insurance companies from providing expensive assisted reproductive technologies? Should the water-intensive California almond industry be abolished or subsidized? Does the presence of military psychologists during interrogations of prisoners hinder or encourage torture? Should we praise or condone President Obama for using the word "thug" to describe rioters in Baltimore last year? These were just a few of the many timely questions considered during the Twentieth Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) National Championship.

After winning the California Regional IEB competition on December 5, 2015, CSUB’s ethics bowl team--Erin Baker (senior, Philosophy), Josh Lofy (senior, Physics), Pedro Naveiras (senior, Philosophy and Political Science), and Travis Rosenlieb (senior, Philosophy)--qualified to compete in the National Championship. Thirty-six teams from across the United States and Canada competed in the day-long tournament held on February 21, 2016, in Reston, VA. CSUB’s team performed well during the competition, making it to the quarterfinals (top 8). The team was also a finalist (out of five) for the Landenson Award, given to the team that best exemplified the event’s overarching spirit of engaged rational exploration of complex issues through civil discussion. The team prepared for nearly six months under the supervision of Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Debra Jackson.

Support for the CSUB Ethics Team was provided by the Kegley Institute of Ethics, the Office of the Vice-President of Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President.


CONGRATULATIONS are in order!  CSUB Ethics Team wins the California Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl

After a long day of competition involving 20 teams from around the West Coast, the CSUB Ethics Bowl team won the California Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition held at San Jose State University on Dec. 5, 2015!  With its win, the team qualified for the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, which will be held on Feb. 21 just outside of Washington, DC in Reston, Virginia. 

In the first round in San Jose, the four members of the team, Erin Barker (Philosophy), Josh Lofy (Physica/Mathematics), Pedro Naveiras (Philosophy/Political Science), and Travis Rosenlieb (Philosophy), posted wins over UC-Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara City College and tied Cal Poly Pomona.  The team then secured the title with wins over UC-Santa Barbara in the semifinals and their hosts, San Jose State, in the finals.  Dr. Debra Jackson (Associate Professor of Philosophy) directed the team to victory.

Funding for this opportunity was provided by the Kegley Institute of Ethics, the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and an Instructional Innovation grant from the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center.

Alumni News

Alumni attorneys 11-2016

CSUB alumni James Harvey (B.A. in Philosophy 2007), Max Gradowitz (B.A. in Philosophy 2012), and James Brannen (B.A. in Philosophy 2008) recently visiited CSUB to speak to Dr. Jackson's Philosophy of Law students about preparing for and succeeding in law school. James Harvey completed his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law and now works as an attorney at Klein, DeNatale, Goldner in Bakersfield, CA. Max Gradowitz recently completed his J.D. from California Western School of Law, and is eagerly awaiting his Bar Exam results. James Brannen completed his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law and now serves as the Deputy County Counsel in Bakersfield, CA.

CSUB Professor Tim Vivian Awarded Nelson R. Burr Prize

California State University, Bakersfield’s (CSUB) Dr. Tim Vivian, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, is the recipient of the 2015 Nelson R. Burr Prize. He was awarded this prize by the Historical Society of the Episcopal Churches (HSEC) for his article “Wake the Devil from His Dream: Thomas Dudley, Quincy Ewing, Religion, and the ‘Race Problem’ in the Jim Crow South.” The article was published in the December 2014 issue of Anglican and Episcopal History.

The selection committee noted that the article “makes excellent use of primary and secondary sources to create two portraits in a landscape of racial division that we, sadly, still recognize today.”

Originally founded in Philadelphia in 1910 as the Church Historical Society before a name change in 1974, HSEC members include scholars, writers, teachers, ministers, and others with an interest in the objectives and activities of the Historical Society. The HSEC has been dedicated to preserving and disseminating information about the history of the Episcopal Church for more than a century.

The Burr prize honors the renowned scholar Nelson R. Burr, whose two-volume A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America and other works constitute landmark publications in the field of religious historiography. Each year, a committee of the Society selects the author of the most outstanding article in the Society’s journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, as the award’s recipient. The award also honors that work which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history. 

Dr. Vivian received a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in Comparative Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), a master of arts in American Literature at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an interdisciplinary doctorate (Classics, History, and Religious Studies) at UCSB. Vivian is a dedicated scholar in the field of early Christianity, with an emphasis in Coptic Studies and early Christian Monasticism. He has taught at CSUB in a variety of capacities since 1990.

Serving as Priest-in-Charge at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bakersfield, he received his master of divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He has also been a Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale Divinity School.

Vivian has published 13 books, over 50 articles, and over 100 book reviews in a wide variety of scholarly publications. His scholarship is also based on substantial archeological fieldwork. He has participated in two excavations in Egypt, serving as a director and faculty member at the excavation of the monastery of John Kolobos. He serves as project historian for the team restoration and study of the 13th century wall paintings at the monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt. 

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We are so proud of you....

  • Outstanding Student - Philosophy

Barry Ramirez

  • Kegley Award

Felicia Lynn Bartlett


Congratulations to PHIL major, Pedro Naveiras, who just received word that he's been accepted to the UCLA Law Fellows Program - Central Valley.  This program provides paid Academies at UC Merced, and are designed to help prepare participants gain admission to, and succeed in, law school.  Wonderful news, Pedro!  

See what our faculty and students are doing!

Listed on this page you will find examples of what our students and faculty are doing.  For students, this might include student research conferences, prep programs, poster contests, summer internships, etc.  For faculty, this might include conferences, invited lectures, publications, mentoring activities, etc. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR STUDENT AND FACULTY SCHOLARS!!