UM-Flint Philosophy Students, Professors Host International Conference on Free Will

The Philosophy Department of UM-Flint is partnering with the Insight Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience (IINN) to present a professional conference by the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics (CCN). The interdisciplinary conference, focusing on Free Will, will be held October 10th and 11th at the IINN in Flint, MI. Presentations will be made by over sixty scholars from Africa, Asia, West Asia, South America, and North America, including 22 separate states.

This second annual event has been coordinated by UM-Flint Philosophy Department faculty member Dr. Jami Anderson and will be realized through generous support from UM-Flint and IINN. Says Anderson, “This year, we had a donor sponsor the Kane-Dennett award to the top two papers that address the classic philosophical puzzles in area of free which concerned Robert Kane and Daniel Dennett, both philosophers who wrote some of the most important works addressing philosophical puzzles concerning free will.”

Dr. Anderson will not be the only representative of UM-Flint present at the event. As part of his capstone experience, Philosophy major Dustin Scruggs will also be there. Scruggs will gain hands-on experience that will later be implemented as he works at the 2015 Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, hosted by his department.

Thomas Mann, Philosophy Club president and dual-major in History and Philosophy, had the same experience during his capstone class in 2013. Mann found value both in learning the practical side of how a conference runs and the opportunity to “find someone who works professionally in the topics you are interested in pursuing. Next thing you know, you’re having an invaluable one-on-one conversation with someone you probably would have never met without the conference. Even beyond that, it provides an opportunity to meet with graduate students from across the United States and talk about their experiences–experiences that I will (hopefully) be having beginning next year!” He was able to apply what he learned by observing the CCN conference to running the Undergraduate Philosophy Conference later on, “I had an advantage especially last year (my first conference) because I already had an expectation of how things should go.”

Participants in the CCN Free Will conference will have the opportunity to turn their talks into full papers and then submit them for consideration for publication in the Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics.

For more information on the Free Will conference, and to see the program, please visit them online or email Dr. Jami Anderson at

To learn more about the Philosophy Department of UM-Flint, please visit their website.