[Department of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan, 100 Years]
[Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. Fortunately there's...

The Philosophy in the Community
Lecture & Discussion Series
@ The Refinery



Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the College of Arts and Science


Philosophy in the Community is a lecture and discussion series organized by the Philosophy Department at the University of Saskatchewan. It is in place as a public service, so that we may share the rewards and pleasures of philosophical reflection with the members of our community. Philosophical thinking, reading and analysis is part of the life well-lived.

This series is free, no registration is needed. No philosophical background is required; intellectual curiosity is. Coffee provided.

For more information, contact: emer.ohagan@usask.ca

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Location: The Refinery

Emmanuel Anglican (formerly St. James) Church Basement
609 Dufferin Avenue
(at 12th Street, just off Broadway)

Time:   7:00 – 9:00 PM
Dates:  Second Friday of each month
September through March





2016-17 Schedule

Sep. 9 "Is Life Absurd?"

Professor Emer O'Hagan

Many people find life to be absurd, at least sometimes. It seems that life is without point or meaning, and yet of utter significance. Can this attitude - that life is absurd - be explained? Are there good reasons to conclude that life is absurd?  In this talk I will outline the main arguments for and against and the claim that life is absurd and, I hope, spark a lively and fruitful discussion.

Oct. 14 "Positivism vs. Realism: Psychology's Struggle for Scientific Status"

Professor Valery Chirkov
(Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan)

I will start this presentation with a discussion of some problems of psychological research that limit psychologists’ capacities to move this science forward. Certain problems will be attributed to the dominance of positivism, which sometime has been labeled ‘statistism’ or ‘statistical positivism’. Main features of this form of positivism and their consequences for success of psychological research will be discussed. The realist philosophy will be introduced as an alternative position and its advantages for psychological investigations will be elaborated.

Nov. 11 "Magical Thinking, Anger and Forgiveness: Reflections on Nussbaum’s Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice"

Erin Delathouwer
(College of Education, University of Saskatchewan)

Martha Nussbaum urges us to consider how magical thinking fuels anger. She suggests that even when anger is well-grounded, its justification is often rooted in magical thinking, which makes anger irrational. Further, to the extent that anger is irrational, forgiveness too (at least, forgiveness of the transactional sort) is irrational. The common idea here is that both anger and forgiveness are motivated by payback wishes and down-ranking of relative status. Payback wishes are problematic insofar as they result from a belief in a kind of “cosmic balance”. Down-ranking behaviours are similarly grounded in unjustified, irrational, beliefs about the relative status, or unequal value, of persons. Therefore, neither anger nor forgiveness seem fully justifiable. And yet, insofar as forgiveness can propel relationships forward – even begin to heal wounds of oppression – it must be justifiable under at least some circumstances. Might anger, too, be justifiable when it is forward looking – when it is not focused on payback? Nussbaum argues that a very specific kind of anger – Transition Anger – is justifiable. Transition Anger stands apart from our ordinary concept of anger, and describes the kind of anger that propels interactions aimed at greater justice in an unjust world. As compelling as Nussbaum’s view of anger is, I’m left wondering if it is ‘magical thinking’ that leads us astray. Indeed, even Transition Anger, which moves us to possibly successful actions aimed at a more just world, seems to find its justification in some form of magical thinking. In this talk, I will sketch Nussbaum’s argument and articulate some of its formidable strengths, as well as a possible shortcoming.

Dec. 9 "Are We Living in a Post-Truth Society?"

Professor Susan Dieleman

A series of recent articles in venues like The New York Times and The Economist have either heralded or pushed back against the idea that we are living in a "post-truth society" where the public have neither the time nor the taste for facts and evidence. Brexit and Trump campaigns in particular have been identified as harbingers of a new political era characterized by "misinformation." In this presentation, I examine what commentators mean by "post-truth society," investigate whether there is any merit to the claim that we now live in such a society, and explore whether we should be doing anything about it.

Jan. 13 "Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful, or Are You Beautiful Because I Love You?"

Professor Dwayne Moore

This question, from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, captures the deep divide in classical theories of love. According to the Erosic model of love, “I love you because you’re beautiful,” or, the lover appraises the value of the beloved. According to the Agapic model, “You’re beautiful because I love you,” or, the lover bestows value onto the beloved. Both models correctly capture certain intuitions about the nature of love, but are also defective in other respects. I will survey the strengths and weaknesses of both theories, and consider the merits of various compromise positions.

Feb. 10 "I Am Not a Women's Libber, Although Sometimes I Sound Like One: Indigenous Feminism and Politicized Motherhood in 20th Century British Columbia"

Professor Sarah Nickel
(Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan)

Mar. 10 Professor Will Buschert


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Last updated: 2-12-2016

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