philosophy speakers series

Speakers Series

Mary-Louise Gill (Brown University), Socrates’ Critique of Writing in Plato’s Phaedrus
 
Plato’s Phaedrus has two official themes—love and rhetoric—and one unofficial: philosophy. In this paper I examine Plato’s conception of true rhetoric (rhetoric used by someone who knows the truth, but can use it to persuade an audience of truth or falsehood) and philosophy, and I shall do so by discussing two sorts of compositions in the Phaedrus. The first is Socrates’ conversation with Phaedrus when they walked together into the countryside and then sat and talked under a plane tree. This is a living conversation with a particular audience on a particular occasion, an exercise in true rhetoric. The second composition is the beautifully flawed free-standing written work—the dialogue Phaedrus—which stands before us like a picture to be viewed by readers again and again down through the ages, a work of Platonic philosophy. This second composition does not merely image the first in writing: In addition it repeatedly goads us—its audience—to ask questions, and thus lures us into Platonic philosophy. Although I cannot definitively prove my thesis, I shall prod my own audience to distrust Socrates’ critique of writing at the end of the dialogue and give reasons to think that it is an instance of true rhetoric by someone who wrote nothing, faulting our author, who wrote the dialogue. 
Date: 
Friday, November 9, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Location: 
Main 005
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Speakers Series

Shelly Johnson (Georgetown College) TBA
NB: Prof. Johnson appears as part of our series bringing alumni back to speak about their job market and early carrier experiences. 
 
Date: 
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Location: 
Main 005
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Speakers Series

Brad Stone (Loyola Marymount, LA), Title TBA
Date: 
Friday, September 28, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Location: 
Main 005
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Speakers Series

Andreas Elpidorou (University of Louisville), “On Boredom” 
Date: 
Friday, September 14, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Location: 
Main 005
Type of Event (for grouping events):

Cynthia Willett (Emory University)

From Ferguson, Missouri to Mexico City political demands move hand in hand with cultural movements reflecting aspects of what art critics since the 1990s have called relational aesthetics. Contesting the value of the museum artifact as well as the autonomous self, these movements produce art as acts of collaboration with social goals.  What rappers term flow and call-response constitute the corporeal and affect-driven ethico-aesthetic dynamics of urban lives across the US/Mexican border.  Creative practices in multimedia art, rap, and popular music counter the negative charges and territorial markings of the geopolitical map drawn by the American drug wars with the rhythms and tones of change.

Date: 
Friday, April 8, 2016 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: 
Classroom Building 334

Drew Hyland (Trinity College, Hartford)

Among the many fascinating issues in Heraclitus’ discourse, this paper focuses on two: the predominance of the theme of wakefulness in contrast to “those asleep,” and the striking predominance of the hearing metaphor for knowing, largely replacing for Heraclitus the already more common sight and grasping metaphors.  By putting the two together, the paper will attempt to show what a different conception of philosophic thinking Heraclitus is proposing, and even what a different experience of the world he espouses.

 
Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: 
Main Administration 005

Invited speaker

Do virtual reality devices produce the illusion of an external reality?  Or do they produce non-illusory experiences of a virtual reality?  I argue that at least in some cases, these devices produce non-illusory experiences.  I first argue for a realist ontology of virtual objects, and then argue that we can sometimes perceive these objects correctly, in part by analogy with a corresponding question about experiences associated with mirrors.
 
Date: 
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Location: 
18th Floor Patterson Office Tower

David Ciavatta (Ryerson University)

"Merleau-Ponty and the Phenomenology of Natural Time"

Like Bergson and Heidegger before him, Merleau-Ponty argues for an intimate link between time and our distinctive character as finite, historical beings.  Merleau-Ponty likewise holds that our familiar conception of objective or clock time—a uniform, quantifiable time that purports to be indifferent to and independent of our lived experience—is in the end founded upon the temporality peculiar to the internal dynamics of experience itself.  However, Merleau-Ponty arguably adds a distinctive new layer to this phenomenological approach to thinking about time.  For in the Phenomenology of Perception there are the traces of a phenomenology of the cyclical time of nature, and this cyclical time is arguably different from, and irreducible to, both objective time and the uniquely historical time characteristic of human experience. 

My goal is to offer a basic reconstruction of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of natural time, and to show that it shapes Merleau-Ponty’s account of human experience in substantial and interesting ways.  It turns out, for instance, that on Merleau-Ponty’s account we are always experiencing the present “now” in terms of different time-scales:  while, from certain narrower time scales, the present is historically unique and neatly individuated (as in typical empiricist conceptions of experience), there are also broader, more cyclical time scales operative within experience, and these abstract from individuated details and capture only the more generic, repeating structures at play in the phenomenal world.  For Merleau-Ponty, I suggest, the most fruitful way to understand the link between human subjectivity and the natural world is to explore the ways in which human experience itself negotiates these differing ways of engaging with time that are internal to it.  

Date: 
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location: 
Main Administration 005
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