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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Symposia and Colloquia

Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference

The Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference annually brings dozens of philosophers from around the nation and the world to Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Recent keynote speakers include Nancy Cartwright, Joshua Cohen, Keith Lehrer, Stephen Schiffer, and Michael Bratman.

The Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference is sponsored jointly with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Idaho, 8 miles away. It is an annual topic-focused conference held in the spring and attracts leading philosophers from all over the world.

The conference is designed to encourage interdisciplinary cooperation and communication on philosophical topics that relate to research in a variety of domains.

Participants at previous INPCs include Laurence Bonjour, Robert Brandon, Nancy Cartwright, David Chalmers, Josh Cohen, Jules Coleman, Rob Cummins, Michael Devitt, Fred Dretske, John Earman, John Martin Fischer, Carl Ginet, Clark Glymour, Peter Godfrey-Smith, John Hawthorne, Ted Honderich, Robert Kane, Marc Lange, Keith Lehrer, Ernie Lepore, John Perry, John Pollock, Sahotra Sarkar, Jonathan Schaffer, Stephen Schiffer, Ted Sider, Brian Skyrms, Roy Sorensen, Ernest Sosa, Pat Suppes, Nathan Salmon, Kristen Schrader Frechette, Peter van Inwagen, and Howard Wettstein, to name a few. For complete lists, please consult the INPC website.

Special student sessions are held each year, giving students the opportunity to present their research to an audience that includes their peers as well as professional philosophers working on that topic.

Also held in conjunction with the conference is a public forum, aimed at making current philosophical thinking accessible to a broader university audience.

Northwest Philosophy Conference

69th Annual Northwest Philosophy Conference


Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Co-sponsored by the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy & Public Service

The Northwest Philosophy Conference is held each fall, attracting philosophers from across the United States and abroad. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for philosophical work.

Papers on any philosophical topic are welcome. Papers should be suitable for a 20-minute presentation (about 3,000 words, not including material that will not be presented, such as abstract, bibliography, and any footnotes or endnotes). Submissions should be formatted for blind review (only title at top of Page 1) and sent as a PDF document to:

To facilitate and encourage discussion, paper sessions will have session chairs rather than commentators for individual papers. If you wish to chair, please send an email to noting your areas of interest.

Conference Directors:

  • Joe Campbell, Washington State University
  • Russ Payne, Bellevue College

Joseph Kruzel Memorial Foreign and Defense Policy Luncheon Series

Since 1997, the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU has sponsored a unique and bridge-building series involving faculty, military officers, and graduate students from across the WSU, University of Idaho, and Lewis-Clark State College campus communities.

Since 1997, the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU has been kind enough to sponsor a truly unique and bridge-building series of luncheon luncheskruzelinvolving faculty, military officers, and graduate students from across the WSU, University of Idaho, and Lewis–Clark State College campus communities. The series has also received support from The Institute for the Study of Inter-communal Conflict at WSU.

The Joseph Kruzel Memorial Foreign and Defense Policy Luncheon Series is named after the U.S. diplomat and assistant secretary of defense who was killed during a peace mission to Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1995 and was established to carry on a tradition he began at the Mershon Center of The Ohio State University prior to his government service.

Recognizing that there were no real forums for scholars, graduate students, and military practitioners from across scattered campus communities to interact with one another under normal circumstances, Kruzel established informal, monthly luncheon sessions in which presentations would be given on various foreign and defense policy topics, followed by meaningful discussions and interactions among the assembled specialists in these fields.

Since its inception in 1996, the WSU luncheon series has helped to build collegial relationships across disciplines and universities, hosting presentations by both academics and military officers. It has provided a rich environment for cross-fertilization and feedback, which participants have been able to apply in their own research or professional roles. Further, it has provided a wonderful opportunity for graduate students to hear presentations relating to their own areas of interest and participate in discussions with a range of experts and practitioners from across the foreign and defense policy realms.

Among the topics that have been presented during the past several years: U.S. Policy Towards North Korea; Future Security Relationships in a World of Biological Weapons; Challenges for U.S. Homeland Security; The Role of U.S. Special Forces and the Global War on Terror; The Threat of Bio-terrorism; Asymmetrical Threats and Adaptive Enemies; Reflections of a Former Bioweapons Inspector in Iraq; The Problem of U.S. Border Security; U.S. Military Policy and the Invasion of Iraq; International Policing; Posse Comitatus; Homeland Security and the Problem of Organizational Design; What You Don’t Hear in the Media: Reflections on Idaho National Guard’s Recent Iraq Deployment; and Assessing Foreign Leaders-at-a-Distance to Assist Policy Makers: Or How We Profile People We Haven’t Met and Try to Predict What They Will Do.

All luncheon sessions have traditionally been strictly non-attribution in nature and have not been held as public forums or open to the press for reporting. This secure environment was intended to allow more frank and open discussions among group members who may not wish their comments to be part of the public record (which is especially important for the military officers in the group).

For more information about this series, contact Dr. Thomas Preston at

Research and Methods Symposia

The Research and Methods Symposium is a venue for faculty and graduate students to present their research, with a particular focus on methodological issues, both quantitative and qualitative. It provides an opportunity for researchers to get feedback on their work from a friendly audience and offers department members an opportunity to learn what their colleagues are doing and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in social science methodology. Since its inception in the fall of 2003, the symposium has sponsored dozens of talks by faculty, graduate students, and guests from other universities.

Johnson Tower 807, PPPA Conference Room

>>Previous PPPA symposia

Frank Fraser Potter Memorial Lecture

The Potter Lecture brings an internationally known philosopher to Washington State University each year, usually in the fall semester. Recent Potter lecturers have included Noam Chomsky, Bernard Rollin, and Daniel C. Dennett.

Frank Fraser Potter (1879–1959)

potterFrank Potter earned his doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Michigan and taught in New York and Kentucky before coming in 1912 to what was then Washington State College. At WSC, he taught Latin, Greek, and Italian, as well as philosophy. In 1949, shortly before his retirement, he was instrumental in the founding of the college’s Department of Philosophy.

Frank Potter is especially remembered for his concern for students. The home of Frank and Irene Potter was the gathering place for groups of students and faculty who met to discuss issues and ideas, listen to music, and share their experience of the liberal arts.

Particularly notable was Professor Potter’s preparation of students applying for Rhodes Scholarships. Ten of his students won that most prestigious award, a unique achievement for which the International Rhodes Scholarship Office cited the Potters.

Professor Potter stood firmly in the Greek tradition in his conviction that logical analysis and clear thinking are the tools of wisdom, in his tracking of an idea to its ultimate presuppositions, in his conception of reality as a stately edifice of timely essences, in his moral seriousness tempered with irony, in his opposition to whatever is fragmentary and provincial in thought, and in his insistence that life should form a unified whole.

You can support the Potter Lecture by giving to the Frank Fraser and Irene Potter Memorial Lectureship Fund.

You can also support philosophy students at WSU through the Frank Fraser and Irene Potter Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The Lectureship

The Frank Fraser Potter Memorial Lectureship was initiated shortly after his death in 1959 by an anonymous gift from a former student.

This generous donation supported the initial lecture, given in 1961 by Antony Flew of Oxford University, as well as several succeeding addresses by equally outstanding philosophers.

The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, forerunner to the College of Liberal Arts (now the College of Arts and Sciences), lent support on several occasions, and the lectureship is currently sustained by an endowment accumulated over the years with donations by the friends and colleagues of the Potters.

View the complete list of past Potter lecturers here

Philosophy Colloquium Series

WSU’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs and the philosophy department of the University of Idaho hold a joint colloquium series each year in which faculty members present current research.