Senem Saner

Assistant Professor

Director, Philosophy for Children Program

Senem Saner

Senem Saner, PhD

Philosophy Department, CSU Bakersfield

Phone: (661) 654-2547 Email: Office: Humanities Office Building 226


I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at CSU Bakersfield. I teach courses mainly in the history of philosophy and political philosophy, but I am also interested and active in public philosophy as I lead the Philosophy for Children program at CSUB, which offers public programs and events in Bakersfield. I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey, attended Boğaziçi University in Istanbul as an undergraduate, and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Physics. I received a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Purdue University. As a graduate student at Stony Brook University, I participated in a student exchange program Collegium Philosophiae Transatlanticum and spent three years at Wuppertal (Germany), studying Kant and Hegel. I received my doctorate from Stony Brook University with a dissertation on Hegel's concept of self-determination, titled "The Dialectic of Indifference and the Process of Self-determination in Hegel's Logic and the Philosophy of Right.


History of philosophy, especially 19th century philosophy, political philosophy, 20th century continental philosophy, critical theory, postcolonial theory, and philosophy for children

I am interested in questions of self-determination and freedom as well as personal and communal identity. I approach these questions through a framework informed by my work on Hegel's theory of self-determination, critical theory and post-colonial theory. These question are not merely theoretical but also practical questions for me, and they inform also the work I do in public philosophy, especially on Philosophy for Children.

Philosophy for Children Program

Philosophy for Children Program at CSUB

Philosophy for Children is a public service and community engagement program, aimed at 1) introducing philosophical discussion and critical thinking to children, and 2) providing a service learning and practical training opportunity for CSUB students. The program follows the precedent set by P4C programs across the country and around the world, using established methods of P4C scholarship and practice. Children, ages 7-11, participate in open-ended group discussions, in public settings, such as elementary school classrooms and public libraries, facilitated by CSUB philosophy faculty and students. The conversations are prompted by picture books, stories, or thought experiments, that address a broad range of philosophical questions, such as "what makes a thing what it is?" "is courage the same as fearlessness?" "how do we judge art?" or "is it always wrong to lie?"