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Department Colloquia

Williams Lecture: Moshe Y. Vardi

Logic started as a branch of philosophy, going back to Greeks, who loved debates, in the classical period. Computing technology is relatively young, dating back to World War II, in the middle of the 20th century. This talk tells the story of how logic begat computing, tracing the surprising path from Aristotle to the iPhone.  But just as logic encountered its unresolvable conundrum in Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, technology has encountered its conundrums in the Popperian Paradoxes.

Department Colloquium: Emily Kress

Abstract: Aristotle understands the generation of an animal as an actualization of two sorts of capacities: the active capacities provided by the father, functioning as the efficient cause and the source of the form, and the passive capacities provided by the mother, who supplies the matter on which the efficient cause acts. Eventually, an animal comes to be, equipped with features—wings, a beak, a heart—that play a role in its life. The process is teleological: its efficient cause—initially in the father and later in the organism—acts for the sake of something.

Colloquium: Laura Valentini

Abstract: The notion of a claim right—with its counterparts “directed duty” or “duty owed to another”—is frequently used in moral discourse, for the purpose of designating a specific and important deontic attribute. I argue that this notion is not fit for this purpose. I show that the concept of a claim right is associated with a family of such attributes (e.g., the powers to demand, waive, and enforce the performance of duties) as well as with the justifications for conferring them on individuals.