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Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies

Public Life Committee


Marcos Bisticas-Cocoves, Chair of the Committee
Joanna Crosby
Joe Pettit
Harold Morales

Learn about our Center for the Study of Religion and the City at:

The Intersections Conference, hosted by WGST Coordinator, Dr. Anika Simpson is here.
2016-2017 Project: Reading the 2016 Department of Justice Report on the Baltimore Police.

"Philosophical practice is a public good and should therefore be practiced in and with various publics. It has the explicit aim of benefiting public life & should be liberatory. Public Philosophy should assist and empower those who are most vulnerable and suffer injustice, particularly through a critical analysis of power structures" (PPP 2010).

Dr. Bisticas-Cocoves has been chosen to serve as a member of the American Philosophical Association's Public Philosophy Committee

Check out an excellent philosophy podcast by Morgan State University alumna, Myisha Cherry here.

Philosophy for Black Lives

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Morgan State University, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Religion and the City, planned to host a joint conference to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Uprising in 2020. The persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a shift away from a traditional, in-person conference.  The planning committee opted to engage the original conference topic – philosophical reflections on contemporary racial justice work- through a novel, digital collaboration with Vanderbilt University’s (VU) Racial Justice Lab (RJL), housed in the Department of Philosophy.  

The RJL is a social ethics humanities lab. It is a collaborative, experimental, and problem-centered structure for exploring and applying ideas from the growing philosophical literature on racial justice. It is organized around four service-learning projects, each organized and run by a team of undergraduate students, graduate students, affiliate scholars, and postdoctoral fellows. The RJL is a lab not in the sense of a physical space dedicated to experimental work, but in the broader sense of an organization devoted to creating opportunities for active engagement with the world, informed by the insights derived from systematic inquiry. RJL participants seek to engage the social world, informed by philosophy and social theory, animated by a concern for the distressingly intractable problem of racial justice.

Dr. Anika Simpson, Associate Professor of Philosophy at MSU, served as an affiliate faculty member associated with the Philosophy for Black Lives (P4BL) service-learning project.  This project aims to gather and document a range of philosophical responses to the racially fraught controversies that came to a head in 2020.

The P4BL working group engaged with black activists, black writers, and black feminist philosophers from various parts of the U.S. to develop two recorded panel discussions on the intersection between philosophy, black womanhood, LGBTQ+ identity, and the carceral empire (specifically abolition). We encourage viewers to engage these recordings, available on the MSU and VU philosophy departmental webpages, as resources for teaching and public programming.

We would like to thank our project sponsors:

American Philosophical Association


Goucher College

Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Harold Morales, Director, Center for the Study of Religion and the City

Dr. Marcos Bisticas-Cocoves, Public Life Committee Chair

Recorded Panel Discussions

  1. Public Philosophy and Black Feminist Philosophy

Dr. Alisa Bierria, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside; 

Dr. Kristie Dotson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan.

  1. Abolition and the Carceral State 

Dr. Shatema Threadcraft, Associate Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science, Vanderbilt University; Ash Williams, Organizer, Black Lives Matter.

Moderator: Dr. Tempest Henning, Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University.

Group Blogs

  • The New APPS blog is a group blog that takes up a variety of issues and has many commentators from different departments.
  • The New York Times has a blog devoted to philosophy: The Stone.
  • The Guardian's How to Believe series takes different figures from the history of philosophy and asks experts to write an accessible review of her work.
  • Feminist Philosophers is a blog by and for feminist philosophers.
  • New Books Network The New Books Network is a consortium of author-interview podcast channels dedicated to raising the level of public discourse by introducing scholars and other serious writers to a wide public via new media. 
  • Crooked Timber is a group blog with philosophers and non-philosophers.
  • Philosophy TV! No kidding.

Single Author Blogs