36th Annual Asilomar Conference Feb 17–20, 2023

“A faithful study of liberal arts humanizes character, and allows it not to be cruel.”  -- Ovid

Register NOW!

Go to Past Asilomars

If the news of the day is getting you down, take heart – it’s once again time to reserve your weekend of learning, inspiration and fellowship on the magnificent Monterey coast!

Past participants describe the weekend as “the best aspects of college, without the exams” and “the greatest high of the year – without drugs!”

If you have questions on this year’s program, please contact  dfrontczak@scu.edu. For registration or logistics matters, please contact Barry Haskell at bghaskell@comcast.net.

Registration is $125, which goes mainly to scholarships. Cost will be similar to last year, about $550 per person, double occupancy, and includes all nine meals and parking. All registered participants will receive forms to reserve their Asilomar accommodations, including meals; please check your email. (Remember, to be part of the PBKNCA package, do not reserve directly with the facility.)

Please join us once again for the annual Asilomar Conference, where we gather to learn, engage in discussions, and to listen to one another in new ways.

Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair

A preview of the 2023 event: 

Friday night – Speaker, TBD 


Saturday morning –
Kerry Driscoll, Ph.D., Associate Editor of the Mark Twain Papers and Project, U.C. Berkeley: “Mr. Clemens and the Saturday Morning Club of Hartford.”

Saturday afternoon – Nico Orlandi, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, U.C. Santa Cruz. Concepts and Conceptual Engineering: The Concept of a Woman” 

Everyone has an idea of what a woman is. But what is occurring in our heads when we think of a woman -- or a man, or a white man, or any other social concept? Philosophers and psychologists hold ideas as concepts; in this standard view, having the concept or idea of a woman consists of having a general description of what "being a woman" really means.   

This talk explores a view that many of our ideas are simple labels in thought. Our labels act as a sort of headline, an umbrella under which a variety of information about that idea is catalogued  -- for example, the notion that women are adult human females, or that they play a particular role in human reproduction. I suggest that the ideas we associate with the label do not, in fact, constitute that thing;  i.e., that it is not a conceptual truth that “women” are adult human females.  This insight has direct implications for current public debates on trans inclusion – or on other womanly roles -- since the concept of “woman” does not imply a certain reproductive role by nature. This position also allows us to make sense of “conceptual engineering” – an idea we will explore in this talk.   

Nico Orlandi is a philosopher of mind and cognitive science, whose work draws on research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. A central theme is understanding what kind of capacity perception is, and what kind of relationship it affords with the environment.  Their* current projects concern predictive coding models of perception; and the significance of fMRI research for understanding cognition. They are also affiliated with the Feminist Studies department at UCSC.  A first-generation student, Dr. Orlandi completed undergraduate studies in Florence, a doctorate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ,and has taught at both Rice University and Stanford.  

(*Note:  Orlandi's pronouns are "they / them." It was not a syntactical error.)