This is the program for Nammour 2010. The program for Nammour 2011, April 26 and 27 will be available soon.
All events are in the University Union, Hinde Auditorium.
Tuesday, April 20th
Keynote Address: The Meaning of Success
Emrys Westacott, Alfred University
"Success" like "intelligence", is a blanket term that can cover many things. It becomes more interesting and useful if we specify: a) what we are applying it to, b) what criteria we are using, and c) what benchmark we have in mind. Doing this helps clarify how some kinds of success - those that are easily measured and involve public recognition - tend to dominate our notion of what it means to succeed. It also helps us bring into focus the question of whether this tendency should be welcomed or resisted
Tuesday, April 20th
10:30 - 12:30 AM
What is Success?
Rachel August, CSUS
Women's Career Success: Looking Through the Kaleidoscope
In this talk, I will explore career success as described by women. Traditionally, psychologists have described career success as involving advancement up the career ladder, the accumulation of wealth and/or financial security, and attaining work-related prestige. Recent research suggests that those elements of success do not fully capture women’s workplace experiences. Studies focused on women’s perceptions of career success indicate that women perceive success as being able to effectively balance three main parameters with regard to their careers: (1) authenticity, that is, being true to oneself and making decisions that suit the self above others, (2) balance, that is, making decisions so that the various aspects of one’s life, including work and non-work, form a coherent whole, and (3) challenge, that is, engaging in activities so that one can pursue autonomy, responsibility, and control while learning and growing. Research indicates that the three needs alternately move into the foreground and background of women’s lives, becoming more and less intense as orienting features of women’s careers with changes in life context and associated obligations and opportunities. Consequently, the equation for effectively balancing these parameters, and consequently achieving “success”, varies as women enter and pass through various life stages.
Mark Alfino, Gonzaga University
Wisdom and the Negotiation of Standards for Evaluating Success
In this short talk, I suggest that many problems that concern people about success have to do with the tension between internal and external standards for evaluating success. Internal standards of success are modeled and negotiated within a personal and interpersonal social environment. They are at least partly subjective and expressed in term of personal narrative of development. External standards of success are also socially conditioned, but model socially desirable achievement using an objective scale of human performance which makes objective and comparative judgments of performance possible. Recent research on wisdom suggests that it may be the sort of capacity that can help us understand the nature of our personal success by helping us negotiate these two frames of reference for the evaluation of success. I explore the usefulness of wisdom as a capacity for understanding success within this framework.
Jeremy Garrett, CSUS
The Myth of the Self-Made Man: The Significance of Luck, Privilege, and Community in Success and Failure
Frequently in political debates about property, taxation, and economic justice, one hears the following kind of claim: governments ought not interfere with the highly unequal results of market activity since these outcomes are proportional to the effort, achievement, and abilities of the individual actors within the market. Lying behind this claim is the classic ideal of the “self-made man” who, relying only on his own resources, receives from the market exactly what he “deserves” (whether much or little). In this presentation, I will argue that this picture of human agency and activity is seriously distorted. Humans do not operate in a vacuum removed from community and unaffected by luck and privilege; and socio-economic outcomes (both good and bad) in the (often fickle and unequal) marketplace do not adequately reflect the effort, achievement, and abilities of the individual actors who bear them. Using a more honest and accurate account of the factors influencing success and failure, and a more compelling vision of social cooperation, I draw out some important political philosophical implications for debates on economic justice.
Garrett Merriam, University of Southern Indiana
In Praise of Failure
Few outcomes in our society are as feared and reviled as that of failure. To commit ourselves to a project only to have our ambitions thwarted often leaves us feeling inadequate and pathetic, as though it were a condemnation not only of our actions and efforts but also our inner selves. I wish to argue that this view is deeply mistaken. Rather than being a source of shame, failure is a profound opportunity, a moment of truth that can be (and often is) the mark of a life well lived. When we fail, we learn more about ourselves than we ever do when we succeed, and no matter what is revealed we are better off than we were before... and better off than we would have been, had we succeeded.
Will Smith, Seattle University
Existential Success: Heidegger on Being a Self
In his magnum opus of 1927, Being and Time, Martin Heidegger gives us what might be called an “existential” account of success, an account that traces the meaning of success back to a notion of authentic selfhood. To succeed in this existential sense is to succeed at being a self. I will suggest in this talk that – if understood appropriately – this existential notion of success need not undermine or supplant our ordinary understanding what it means to lead a successful life; rather, it provides our ordinary understanding of success with an existential foundation. Indeed, this Heideggerian account selfhood offers us an answer (of sorts) to one of the most profound and poignant questions we experience in our everyday lives: what makes life worth living? Or put more simply: what’s the meaning of life?
Wednesday, April 21st
Alumni Panel: Reflecting on Success
John Peloquin, Rachael Lamkin, Chris Miguel and Lance Kennix
After high school, Lance attended community college and worked at the Sacramento Children’s Home. While a philosophy student at
Sacramento State, he taught at St. Hope Public Schools. Lance graduated in 2008 and is currently a law student at UC Hastings College of the Law.
is a former professional athlete, and a stage IV cancer survivor. Rachael is currently an Oakland-based trial attorney specializing in high-stakes complex litigation.
Rachael graduated from Sacramento State with a degree in philosophy in 2000. She
Chris Miguel grew up in a small migrant farm working community and was the first in his family to graduate high school. He was Sacramento State from 2004 to 2007, majoring in philosophy, and is currently a law student at UC Hastings College of the Law.
John attended Sacramento State until 2005, majoring in mathematics and minoring in philosophy, before transferring to UC Berkeley to complete his math degree. John is currently a web developer in San Jose. He dedicates his free time to juggling and criticizing Platonism.
Wednesday, April 21st
The Pursuit of Success
Russell DiSilvestro, CSUS
Wax on Wax Off: Indirect Success from Demosthenes to Peyton Manning
Sometimes the advice given to those wanting to be good, or good at something, is “just try harder.” But better approaches are often indirect, where we do what we can do to enable us to do what we cannot do directly. These approaches go by different names—some speak of “habit formation”, while others talk of “disciplines” or “training”. But the core idea is arguably the same: by a process of small, strategic steps, repeated over time, we can transform ourselves in ways that make it possible for us to do things that would have been impossible at the start of the process. This talk will explore what is valuable in such approaches, what distinguishes them from other common approaches, and what limits such approaches face.
Philip Robichaud, Rice University