News & Events

Philosophy Conference

Artificially intelligent computers have already defeated humans in Jeopardy, chess, and Go. They are packaging and shipping our purchases from Amazon. They have been assembling and will soon be driving our cars. And they are starting to do things once thought untouchable by automation like journalism, music composition, and scientific research. Intelligent machines can identify people's faces, beat video games, and make medical diagnoses. And the technology is still in its infancy.

The prospects of AI, both good and bad, are staggering. While many are excited by the possibility of improved productivity and convenience, some experts anticipate industry disruption unlike any we have seen in human history. Others, like Elon Musk, worry that we may be ushering in a robot apocolypse like we see in popular dystopian novels and movies. What is clear is that teenagers, who will be entering a very different workforce than their parents did, need to be thinking about what is possible and what is desirable when it comes to AI, and we believe the best way to do that is to employ the tools of philosophical investigation.

This conference is for any high school student who is interested in learning more about philosophical and ethical issues related to artificial intelligence. You can come to give a presentation, or you can just come to learn and meet people from other schools who are interested in the topic. You won't be disappointed. Many students who have attended the conference have not wanted to leave when it was over.

This Year's Visiting Philosophers

We are thrilled to have Dr. David Alexander as our keynote speaker this year. Dr. Alexander holds a PhD in philosophy from Baylor University. He serves as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Huntington University, where he was named Professor of the Year in 2011. Dr. Alexander regularly teaches in China, and he travels to India each year to serve the poor and help free young girls from sex slavery. Specializing in ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, medieval philosophy, and philosophy of religion, Dr. Alexander will bring his expertise to bear on questions of artificial intelligence and consciousness. 

Dr. Gary Mar, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, will also join us. Dr. Mar specializes in Logic, Philosophy of Mathematics, contemporary analytic philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Asian American philosophy, Logic and Linguistics. You can usually find Dr. Mar playing chess or solving logic puzzles with students in the Philosophy Department Logic Lab, which he founded. Dr. Mar also founded the Asian American Center at SBU, which served as the foundation for what is now the Wang Center. Dr. Mar travels the world to give presentations on logic, linguistics, and philosophy of mathematics. He will share how his work in these areas bears on questions of artificial intelligence. Dr. Mar has received numerous awards, including a Pew Scholar Fellowship, the President’s and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and an Outstanding Professor Award from the Stony Brook University Alumni Association. He currently serves as Vice-Chair for the community Advisory Board for Public television WNET/WLIW and as a member of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. He has also received several community awards including awards from the Organization of Chinese Americans, the New York City Council, and the Council for Prejudice Reduction.

Photo and information from https://www.huntington.edu/human-resources/personnel-directory/david-alexander and http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/philosophy/people/faculty_pages/mar.html

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  • Call for Presentations

    The Fourth Annual Long Island High School Philosophy Conference will take place on November 11 from 9:30-3:30. Proposals are now being accepted for papers to be presented at the conference. The theme of the conference is “Philosophy of Mind: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Consciousness.” The keynote address and other aspects of the conference will focus on metaphysical, ethical, and political questions connected with artificial intelligence. Student presentations on the conference theme will be given preference, but proposals from all branches of philosophy are welcome. Group presentations are also welcome, as are creative projects such as films, posters, debates, and dramatic performances.

    Please submit an abstract of your proposed paper or project, no longer than 200 words, to a teacher at your school attending the conference. Your teacher will submit accepted abstracts to luke.trouwborst@stonybrookschool.org by October 30th. If no teacher at your school is attending the conference, feel free to submit your abstract directly to luke.trouwborst@stonybrookschool.org. Submissions will only be accepted from high school students in grades 9-12.

    Papers should be tailored for a 20-minute presentation and should be a maximum of 8-10 pages double-spaced.  

Photos from Last Year's Conference

Event Details

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  • 9:30 Welcome

    Opening remarks by Roberta Israeloff and Dr. Sean Riley, followed by a short video and ice-breaker discussion with students from other schools.
  • 10:00 Keynote Address

  • 11:15 Brunch Discussions

    Enjoy a delicious buffet brunch and discuss the keynote address with students from other schools.
  • 12:00 Presentations

    Students and teachers will present papers and field questions in several different classrooms. Choose the one that most interests you.
  • 1:00 Presentations

    Students and teachers will present papers and field questions in several different classrooms. Choose the one that most interests you.
  • 2:00 Presentations

    Students and teachers will present papers and field questions in several different classrooms. Choose the one that most interests you.
  • 3:00 Closing Address

    Say goodbye to your new friends and reflect on all the things you learned during the day at the closing address.

The Stony Brook School

1 Chapman Parkway, Stony Brook, NY 11790 | 631-751-1800
A Christian, co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for 7-12th grade students