Our First Online Graduate Conference

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Our First Online Graduate Conference

The department had its first online graduate conference on Thursday 2 July and Thursday 9 July. The event was a great success with most people thinking that it went better than they expected. With the usual graduate conference cancelled due to coronavirus, several postgrads were disappointed not to deliver a paper, so a call was made to trial an online event using Microsoft Teams.  

Jack Symes has the honour of being the department’s first-ever virtual conference speaker with an engaging talk about the evil god challenge in the philosophy of religion. This came before two fascinating presentations on Wittgenstein.  Adam Russell presented some thoughts about different interpretations of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, which was followed by Tom Brown’s discussion of Wittgenstein on false propositions. All three presentations provoked a lively exchange. Moral Philosophy was the topic for the second week. Andy Holland started the proceedings with a talk about climate change, happiness and psychology. His presentation preceded Ian Dunbar’s ambitious talk entitled 'The Moral Law.' The conference ended on a high note with Casey Lough’s engaging talk on objectification and feminist aesthetics.

The conference was organised with breaks between each speaker as concentration was likely to be more difficult in an online event. During the breaks, people could write questions or comments in the conference software’s chatroom. Although the online format is never the same as a face-to-face meeting, the availability of the chat facility was an advantage of the online setup. The chatroom allowed people who lacked the confidence to raise a hand in a traditional conference to get involved. It also allowed the host and speaker to group questions where necessary.  The success of the day makes one wonder about how video conferencing could be used post-lockdown, for example, to hear from a speaker that cannot make it to Liverpool.

The speakers would like to thank all the students and staff who attended the conference and contributed to making it such a success.