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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Society of Philosophers in America to Host Upcoming Symposium

The University of Mississippi will host the first Society of Philosophers in America symposium on Feb. 25-26.

The symposium will focus on disability, civic responsibility and community friendship.

The society is a non-profit organization with two primary goals.


The first is to promote education in the philosophy, practices and traditions of America and other world cultures. The second is to sponsor conferences and symposia to provide a forum for the philosophical exchange of ideas among scholars.

The symposium, like all SOPHIA events, is a conversational meeting that is meant to engage attendees and discuss philosophical issues.

Eric Weber, assistant professor for public policy leadership at UM, is the executive director of SOPHIA and a co-facilitator for the event.

Robin Wilkerson, director and professor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing, will also lead one of the conversational sessions of the symposium.

“We want to talk about living a good life with respect and equality for people with disabilities,” Weber said.

There will be four sessions of the event and also brief readings in order to spark conversation among the group. The readings will be fairly short and roughly two pages, so people that come late can easily catch up and join the conversation.


The first session will discuss what disability means in our lives.

“We want to get rid of the norm and push it away as our civic responsibility,” Weber said. “Instead of a person being defined by their disability, we want to know them as a person and not John Doe who has epilepsy.”

Weber also added that a person is not their disease, and society needs to recognize that.

The last session will feature Oxford attorney Hale Freeland, who participated and wrote a case study in the 2009 SOPHIA conference. He will be writing a case study called “I Ain’t Dead Yet! — Life and Lifestyle Decisions of Impaired Persons.”

The symposium will be held on Friday and Saturday in Bryant hall.