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

Philosophy in the Community: 2015-16 Schedule

Sep. 11 "Knowledge, Power and Prisons: The Strength and Limitations of Foucault's Critique"

Professor Ria Jenkins
(Philosophy, St, Thomas More College)

What is the connection between knowledge and power?  Foucault famously states that knowledge and power "directly imply" one another, and he uses this belief as a basis for his critical analysis of prisons. This talk will explore not just the meaning of this connection for Foucault, but also its strengths and limitations.

Oct. 9 "Is Liberal Democracy Working for You?"

Professor Charles Smith
(Political Studies, St, Thomas More College)

This talk will take up a variety of issues in political theory, applying them to our current context as we face a federal election.

Nov. 13 "When Should We Protect Free Speech?"

Professor Susan Dieleman

Philosophers have provided a variety of arguments in favour of protecting free speech. One of these arguments is the epistemological argument, endorsed most famously by John Stuart Mill, who argues that free speech is valuable because it helps us discover the truth. The only time we’re warranted in limiting free speech, he thinks, is when it’s likely to lead to physical harm. In this presentation, I will suggest that the epistemological argument for free speech can actually lead to a different conclusion: if we’re interested in free speech because it helps us find the truth, then we’re warranted in limiting it not only when it is likely to lead to physical harm, but also when it is likely to lead to humiliation

Dec. 11 "Free Willusion?"

Professor Dwayne Moore

Humans seem to be free, and moral responsibility may require free will. But, neuroscientific evidence suggests behaviour is determined by physical processes. (How) can we be free if our behaviour is determined by unconscious brain processes? After briefly objecting to several proposed answers to this question, I offer a proposal that secures autonomous agency yet remains consistent with microphysical determinism.

Jan. 8 "How Do We Deceive Ourselves?"

Professor Leslie Howe

We often say that the self-deceiver lies to him or herself, but a liar knows the truth that he or she denies to another. How can one person be both liar and dupe? This apparent paradox has led many to either deny that self-deception is possible or to attempt to resolve the paradox in a way that also ends up eliminating the phenomenon. Yet, self-deception seems a clearly recognisable, and constant, feature of our daily lives. This talk will explore the problem of what self-deception is, how we do it, and why.

Feb. 12 "God and Evil"

Professor Eric Dayton

Can the existence of evil be reconciled with the existence of an all-good, omnipotent, all-knowing God? This talk will present the traditional argument known as the problem of evil, and will consider the problem in relation to the nature of belief and rational judgement, and the understanding of morality

Mar. 11 "Rebooting the Enlightenment? "

Professor Pierre-Francois Noppen
(Philosophy, St. Thomas More College)

To many progressive thinking appears to be in a deadlock. Have we exhausted the critical resources of the Enlightenment? Has our nature finally caught up with our aspirations? Or is the world we have created simply out of hand? This talk will examine recent arguments for the rebooting of the Enlightenment. At issue will be the question of Enlightenment’s blind spots and some resources available to progressive thinking.


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[University of Saskatchewan]