Philosophy Department To Publish Journal

Alexandria Smith, Reporter

The philosophy department aims to help students publish research before they graduate.

A facet of the Living Philosophy Project, the primary goal of the department’s new undergraduate journal titled “The Journal of Living Philosophy,” is to help students grow their scholarly accomplishments before they graduate or move on to graduate school.

According to philosophy professor Mark Painter, achieving publication as an undergraduate can determine whether students are  accepted into graduate programs.

“It’s getting more and more difficult for students to get into graduate schools, in part, because in philosophy, some of these become more selective. They’re taking in fewer students, and so students need more of an edge to get in, and having a publication before you graduate with your B.A. is one of those edges, so this helps them do that,” said Painter.  “What they [institutions] are looking for is something that catches their eye and Misericordia doesn’t have, in terms of philosophy, the national recognition that other schools have. So we want something else that will allow for our students to stand out,” said Painter.

Painter said the journal will offer students an outlet through which they can connect their research in philosophy to other areas and disciplines, like art, history, music, and medicine.

“The intention [of the journal] is for students who are looking for those kind of pieces – that integrate philosophy with these other kinds of interests – so that we get a body of work that shows how students are thinking philosophically, not just writing in a strictly academic, isolated kind of environment but using philosophy in their lives in a kind of engagement with other disciplines, philosophically,” said Painter.

According to Painter, the primary subjects that will be of most interest to the department and the editorial review board for the online publication include environmental philosophy, existentialism, philosophy of literature, and phenomenology. He said these subjects “bring to bear philosophical concerns in a very personally transformative way,” which will foster a new, yet ancient, way of looking at the subjects.

Painter said the journal will also keep the flame of philosophical thought alive because essential aspects of philosophy are often lost due to the focus by professional philosophers in special problem areas, such as or ethics or epistemology. As a result, he believes that philosophy, as a field of study, must remain open.

“Young people are coming into the discipline and are seeing how to do it [think philosophically] in a way that we have never thought about… and would not have thought about. So we can’t anticipate what that’s going to be. You have to be open for it to happen, so it could occur. So, the journal, in that sense, is designed to be taught by the kinds of submissions that are presented to it, rather than to box out things for a particular reason. It’s really an exploration of where philosophy is going because you don’t always know,” said Painter.

Jennifer Luksa, Director of Library Services,  who is assisting with the project, believes that the journal will encourage other departments to have their own journals.

“I think that once Dr. Painter gets the first issue published and it’s out there, other departments and majors from Misericordia might consider doing this,” said Luksa.

According to the official announcement on e-MU, The Journal of Living Philosophy will be “an online, open source, undergraduate journal hosted by Scholarly Exchange at the University of Pittsburgh.” Additionally, since the journal will be a national project, students at any college or university in the U.S. may submit their research. All submissions will be blind reviewed and accepted on the basis of their scholarly merit, originality and contribution to the ongoing exploration of philosophy.

The first issue will go live next fall.

For more information, contact Luksa or Painter.