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Department Colloquia

Colloquium: Kristen Andrews


Are adult humans the only normative creatures? Recent research by development psychologists and animal behaviorists has begun to challenge the idea that adult humans are the only normative folk; children countenance specific cooperative norms (Hamlin et al. 2007), and some nonhuman animals act consistently with some of the moral foundations found across human cultures (Vincent et al. 2018). Such findings feed the current interest in examining the evolution of morality.

Colloquium: Dominic Lopes

Abstract: Aesthetic values appear to be located in objects, for we see the grace of a dancer’s step and hear the jauntiness of a guitar riff. Indeed, we understand perfectly well how to manipulate an item’s aesthetic value by manipulating its other features. Yet, at the same time, we want to say that aesthetic values are subjective, constituted by our responses. In this talk, Lopes reorients the dialectic by explaining how aesthetic values are natural properties.

Colloquium: Japa Pallikkathayil

Abstract: The way in which consent to sexual interactions is understood in the United States is undergoing a transformation. Many universities, sometimes at the behest of lawmakers, are moving to adopt ‘affirmative consent’ policies. These policies define affirmative consent in terms of affirmative behavior that goes beyond mere silence or lack of resistance.  Although the affirmative consent movement is associated with the slogan ‘yes means yes’, affirmative consent policies tend not to require verbal agreement.

Colloquium: Kristie Dotson

Abstract: In her, December 3rd, 2014, Salon piece, “White American’s Scary Delusion: Why Its Sense of Black Humanity is So Skewed,” Brittney Cooper labels the stupefaction many people have in the face of today’s Black rage an “epistemology problem.” It is a problem, she explains, of people utilizing inadequate frameworks for understanding “reasonable” responses to relentless state sanctioned violence against Black people.

Colloquium: Jacqueline Broad

Abstract:Today, historians of philosophy are divided into those who think that the French thinker Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) is a coded atheist, someone whose reasoning ineluctably leads to atheist conclusions, and those who construe Bayle as a fideist, someone who embraces religious beliefs on the basis of faith alone and not reason. Some scholars believe that Bayle remains an enigma largely because of his Academic Scepticism.

How to Hope that Your Food Choices Make a Difference, Even When You Firmly Believe that They Don’t

Most religions advocate dietary regulations of some sort: Muslims fast during Ramadan, Jews follow kashrut laws, Catholics avoid meat on Fridays, many Hindus don’t eat beef, and some Buddhists and Jains avoid meat altogether.  Such practices foster a sense of communal identity, but traditionally they are also regarded as pleasing to God (the gods, the ancestors, etc.) and spiritually beneficial.  In other words, for many religious people, the effects of fasting go well beyond what is immediately observed or empirically measurable.  That is often a large part of what motivates participation