[Department of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan, 100 Years]

Philosophy in the Community: 2006-2007 Schedule

September 6 What is Love?

Presenter: Professor Sarah Hoffman

October 4  
Is Morality Relative?

Presenter: Professor David Crossley

We spend much of our time making evaluations. We frequently express likes and dislikes about movies and art. We often disapprove of the way people behave. We have opinions about whether our teachers were any good, about whether assisted suicide should be legalized and about how animals should be treated.

Sometimes people claim that such value judgments – especially those about art and morality – are relative. But what does this claim mean? Is it that our evaluations are based on personal feelings? Or that they merely reflect the views of our society or culture?

This evening’s talk will look at these questions: what does it means to say that morality is relative? and is it true that morality is relative in some sense?


November 1
Can You Believe Whatever You Want?: A Discussion of Responsibility and Belief

Presenter: Professor Eric Dayton

December 6 Moral Responsibility, Luck and Blame

Presenter: Professor Emer O'Hagan

It seems reasonable to hold that people are not morally responsible for what is beyond their control, or what is not their fault. It also seems reasonable to hold that a significant amount of what we do depends upon factors beyond our control: the hero is made only because she happens to walk by the burning building and hears the child cry for help, the lie is told only because the awkward question is posed, the murder is avoided only because the gun misfires. “Moral luck” poses a philosophical problem precisely because it catches us between the seemingly reasonable view that luck shouldn’t make a moral difference (that it should not influence our judgements concerning personal responsibility) and the seeming fact that luck does make a difference to our moral assessments. For example, a drunk driver who kills an innocent pedestrian is judged more harshly than a drunk driver who happens to make it home without incident. In this talk I present the problem posed by moral luck for a coherent account of moral responsibility, consider some of solutions offered by philosophers, challenge the audience to make sense of several different types of luck and their impact on responsibility, and close by offering some reflections on moral blame


January 3
What is Existentialism?

Presenter: Kristin Rodier

Famous existentialist philosophers include Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Simone de Beauvoir. The common thread running through their work is the idea that human beings are free to choose how to shape their future. This lecture will deal specifically with Sartre’s existentialism and his depiction of moments of choice and stress in human reality. Sartre focuses on the ways we feel anxiety in the face of realization that we are free. He analyzes self-deception, a tool we utilize in coping with a future that is overwhelmingly filled with various possibilities. I will explore the basic concepts found in his work and show how they apply to everyday situations.

February 7 A Post-Human Future?: Technology, Evolution, and the Future of the Human Species

Presenter: Professor William Buschert

March 7 Why It's Better to See Everything in the Cosmos as Live, Connected Events than as Dead, Mechanical Lumps: An Introduction to Process Philosophy

Presenters: Professors Howard Woodhouse, Mark Flynn, Ed Thompson, Bob Regnier (The University of Saskatchewan Process Philosophy Research Unit)

April 4 Music and Meaning

Presenter: Professor Daniel Regnier

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