SUNY Oneonta

Department of Philosophy
160 Fitzelle Hall
SUNY Oneonta
Oneonta, NY 13820-4015

Phone: (607) 436-2456
Fax: (607) 436-2435



The Fractal Self


On April 16-17, 1999 SUNY-Oneonta hosted its Fourth Annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. Response to the call for papers, which was mailed out and posted on the world wide web in late fall, was exceptionally strong. To ensure both impartiality and high standards, all submissions were subject to extensive blind review.

The result was a truly impressive set of twenty-six presentations by students from twenty institutions: Amherst College, Boston College, Canisius College, Clark University, Fairfield University, Haverford College, George Washington University, Hunter College, Mary Washington College, Oakland University, Rockland Community College, Saint John's University, Saint Mary's College of Maryland, Saint Vincent College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, Syracuse University, University of Buffalo, University of Massachusetts, and Wheaton College.

On Friday, Shen Pingde, an exchange scholar from Xian, China, delighted students with a special presentation titled Chinese Calligraphy: A Philosophical Demonstration. For the opening session, Professor Shen (1) provided a brief introduction to the art development of Chinese calligraphy, including philosophical and religious ideas, materials, styles, and development over time, and (2) demonstrated the art of calligraphy in two pieces: a poem from the book of the three kingdoms and a short poem of his own written for world peace in the next century.

That evening, David Jones of Kennesaw State University employed the perspective of chaos theory to explore interconnections between self and surroundings in Daoist thought, and more specifically, to examine the role of the self in creating emergent form and dynamism in nature and society in a keynote address titled: The Fractal Self and the Organization of Nature: The Daoist Sage and Chaos Theory.

On Saturday, Jennifer Manlowe of Long Island University provided the final presentation of the conference in a keynote address titled Buddhism, Race, Class, Sexuality, and Gender in the Modern World. Professor Manlowe examined the role the Dalai Lama has played in the Human Rights movement as an "Engaged Buddhist," explained why this movement (over and above others) has become so urgent for so many Americans in the latter half of the 20th century, and offered her views as to whether his kind of philosophical thought and religious practice offers a viable approach to living peacefully in a war-torn world.

President's Awards honor student presentations which most clearly exemplify the standards and ideals of the
conference. For 1999, these awards were presented to (alphabetic order):

Brett Bisgrove (SUNY Oneonta)
Daniel J. Bristol (SUNY Oneonta)
Robert Erlewine (St. Mary's College)
Tara K. Hogan (Mary Washington College)

Ninash Foundation East-West Awards honor student presentations that exhibit special expertise and insight in Asian and Comparative Philosophy. For 1999, these awards were presented to (alphabetic order):

Daniel Bristol (SUNY Oneonta)
Christopher P. Martin (Mary Washington College)
Priyadarshi Shukla (LeMoyne College)

To share the excitement of the conference and encourage even higher standards of academic excellence for future events, Oneonta Philosophy Studies, published the twelve best student papers, together with the two keynote addresses, in a volume titled The Fractal Self.

To order a copy of this, or any OPS publication, please contact the Managing Editor at the address listed below or visit our friends at