Philosophy in the Community: 2011-2012 Schedule
|Sep. 14|| "Equality and Respecting Differences"
Professor David Crossley (Emeritus)
There seems to be a conflict in our political attitudes. On the one hand, we hold that, in a liberal democracy, each individual should be treated as an equal and enjoy the same rights as others. No one should be at a disadvantage – in seeking a job, for example – because of her religion, gender, or ethnic or cultural background. On the other hand, we think that the demands of certain groups for recognition should be respected. Thus, we believe in respecting cultural differences – to the extent of wondering whether a common school curriculum should be replaced with one that recognizes and accommodates the cultural and other differences of the students. And we have endorsed affirmative action programs that make special provisions for groups thought to have been subject to systemic discrimination.
But, are these views in conflict? Does a policy of recognition, demanding that we respect differences among citizens, undermine our attempts to insure that all are treated as equals? These questions are the focus of tonight’s discussion.
|Oct. 12||"Authority, Obedience, and Respect for the Law"
Professor Mark Capustin
The law can secure obedience by various means, including threat of punishment, and (more ideally) by gaining the respect of its subjects. The former of these reasons implies only power, and not all power is legitimately authoritative. The latter raises an obvious question: What kinds of reasons might we have to respect the law? I will argue that authority is not an all or nothing matter; rather, the extent to which it is legitimate varies with the particular situations of those subject to it.
|Nov. 9||"Romanticism, Modernism & Genius: the Role of Art and Artists in Society"
Professor Mona Holmlund (Department of Art & Art History, U of S)
Many of our attitudes regarding artists and what constitutes art are pre-conceptions which go unexamined. This talk will look at some of the historical origins of the idea of artistic genius and try to untangle the sometimes fraught relationship between contemporary art and its audience.
|Dec. 14||"How Should We Think About Hate Speech?"
Professor Ken Norman (College of Law, U of S)
|Jan. 11||"Atheist Spirituality: An Oxymoron?"
Professor Eric Dayton
It is a common view that by giving life meaning and direction, religion offers a good that is unavailable to the unbeliever. In this talk I will ask whether this view is true or reasonable, by examining and untangling some of the issues concerning spirituality, religious belief and atheism. I will argue that atheism is no barrier to a spiritual practice.
|Feb. 8||"Søren Kierkegaard: Existentialist Critic of the Present Age "
Professor Leslie Howe
Søren Kierkegaard was the first existentialist philosopher and a trenchant critic of the superficialities and excesses of modernism. His critique of modernity has made him a favourite of postmodernists but he would have given them equally short shrift. This talk will present an overview of Kierkegaard's critique of triviality, bombast, and pusillanimity in philosophy, religion, and society, a critique that remains as pertinent to us as it was to 1840s Europe.
|Mar. 14|| "The Stoic Art of Living Well"
Professor Daniel Regnier (Saint Thomas More College)