Philosophy Forum 2018-19 Season

Sept. 8: Elizabeth Anderson, “Feminist Epistemology & Philosophy of Science”
Anderson, the leading feminist epistemologist focusing on the philosophy of science, challenges the masculinist discourse of power that undergirds the contemporary understanding of science. Instead, she offers situated modes of cognition that recognize the discursive regime of privilege and power that constitutes the ideology of scientism.

Oct. 13: Søren Kierkegaard: “Seducer’s Diary”
In this intense work, questions of love, marriage, the ethical versus the aesthetic, dread, and the severities of Christianity are pondered.

Nov. 10: “The Chomsky/Foucault Debate: Human Nature”
In 1971, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault were invited to debate: Is there such a thing as “innate” human nature independent of our experiences and external influences?

Dec. 8: Susan Wolf & Richard Taylor: “The Meaning of Life”
“Meaning arises when subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness.” Should one be attracted to these ‘worthwhile things’? And what does it mean to engage them in a positive way?

Jan. 12: Niels Christian Hvidt: “The Historical Development of the Problem of Evil”
Hvidt addresses the question of theodicy, the central issue in the philosophy of religion, with significant implications for ethics and even metaphysics and epistemology.

Feb. 9: D.T. Suzuki: “The Question of War”
Suzuki is a Zen Buddhist philosopher, whose work on the question of war has aroused considerable controversy.

March 9: Michel de Montaigne “To Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die”
Montaigne says we should all be booted and spurred and ready to go. And philosophy can show us the way.

April 13: Walter Benjamin: “On the Concept of History”
Benjamin challenges the notion of “progress” embedded in the historical materialism of Karl Marx. Instead, he argues for a notion of “historicism” that contents itself with establishing a causal nexus of various moments of history.

May 11: Rob Van Gerwen: “Ethical Autonomism: The Work of Art as a Moral Agent”:
In this essay, Van Gerwen examines one of the central questions in the philosophy of art: whether works of art can and should be evaluated on moral as well as aesthetic grounds.

June 8: Mikhail Bakunin: “The Immorality of the State”
Bakunin, the leading philosopher of anarchism, challenges the morality of the state’s legal authority. In his view it undermines the universal solidarity of human beings by demanding a patriotism counter to human morality.