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Department Colloquia

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

David Velleman (NYU): A Reasonable Relativism

Abstract:  I outline a version of relativism about the normative force of reasons. Reasons are relative to a perspective, I argue, in a sense that is best elucidated by John Perry's work on "the essential indexical". My version of relativism rules out moral disagreement between occupants of different perspectives, but it is "reasonable" in the sense that it still allows them to disagree about how to live.

co-sponsored with PPE and the Philosophy Ethics Fund.