Lectures start promptly at 7:30PM and are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month September through May

9-10-2019  Privacy And The Dangers Of Corporate Knowledge

Robert Howell, Ph.D. and ken Daley, Ph.D., SMU

Why do some violations of privacy seem to matter more than others?  We tend to care more about a peeping Tom than we do about someone inferring our private behavior based on impersonal data.  We also seem to be more concerned about individual people knowing our private information than we are corporations possessing the same knowledge.  What explains these differences?  We argue that while our sense of violation is tied to the unsettling experience of being objectified, the actual harms caused by violations of privacy depend on the power it gives to others.  Given this, and given the massive amount of information corporations now have about us, we should be much more deeply concerned about corporate violations of privacy than any of the more up close and personal, "peeping Tom" variety.

Audio: The Dangers of Corporate Knowledge

9-24-2019  Finding Truth In An Uncertain World: Lessons From Montaigne

Taylor Norwood, University of Dallas, Mountain View College

Truth seems to have fallen on hard times of late. Consensus on any issue seems almost impossible, and conflict and disagreement abound. Politicians from either party are branded liars by the other. Fake news and post-truth are the buzzwords of the day. How are we to make sense of such a world? For an answer, I turn to the man often described as the first modern thinker --  Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Writing his Essays in a France torn by war and religious conflict, a time and place perhaps even more chaotic than our own, Montaigne unites skepticism (his personal motto was Que sais-je?—What do I know?) with an earnest desire to offer a true picture of himself and his judgments about the world. Montaigne’s tremendous wit and keen insight help even present-day readers come to terms with living in a world where the notion of truth itself is open for debate.

Audio:  Finding Truth In An Uncertain World: Lessons From Montaigne

10-8-2019  Who Should Be Allowed To Vote?

Justin Fisher, Ph.D., SMU

This lecture will consider arguments for restricting the right to vote to people who are more likely to be "good" voters, as well as arguments for broadly extending the right to vote to include many who have a stake in electoral outcomes, including children.

Audio: Who Should Be Allowed To vote?

10-22-2019  An Interactive Session Exploring The Tao Te Ching

Clay Cockerell, M.D., UT  Southwestern Medical Center

The Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life) written over 2500 years ago by Lao Tzu has been described as “the wisest book in the world”. It is the basis of Taoism which teaches acceptance and flow in living and, in its 81 short messages, many invaluable lessons and universal truths are transmitted. In this session many of the most interesting of these teachings will be explored and discussed with attendees who share ideas about their meanings. Some of these topics include leadership, especially the concept of servant leadership, resistance, acquisition, ego, service, and the universe, among others. This thin book contains many teachings that are just as relevant today as they were in ancient China. One of the purposes of this session will be to introduce the Tao to those who are not familiar with it.

Exploring the Tao Te Ching (Audo):
Exploring the Tao Te Ching (Presentation)

11-12-2019  Crazy Crusades: American Movements and Manias

Paul Benson, Ph.D., Mountain View College

Americans have always had an obsession with campaigns. Whether it has been to end polio or eliminate alcoholic beverages, America loves a good crusade. This program will focus on some of those American movements such as abolition, temperance, anti-tobacco, as well as religious drives and revivals.

Audio: Crazy Crusades: American Movements and Manias

11-26-2019  Sci-Phi:  Philosophy in Science Fiction

David Alkek, M.D.

Science fiction affords a way to contemplate important philosophical, scientific,political,religious,sociological, and moral/ethical questions. Some of these relate to the meaning of reality, the basis of knowledge, fee will, security vs freedom, AI and its dangers, conflicts of alien cultures, over-population and climate change, the role of religion, the future of humanity and the cosmos, and more. We will explore these and other questions as we consider humanity’s role in the future 

Audio: Sci-Phi: Philosophy in Science Fiction

12-10-2019  Environmental Movements, Non Violence, and Deforestation

George James, Ph.D., UNT

An environmental crisis often engenders local environmental movements.   Among these the most famous is perhaps the Chipko movement of the 1970’s in the Western Himalayas. In Hindi, Chipko means hug or embrace.  Here forest villagers stood between the forest worker and the tree to be cut, embracing the tree.  Forest villagers protested the cutting of the trees upon which they depended for their existence.  While much has been written about the Chipko Movement and its achievements, less is known about other movements it inspired.  The Appiko Movement, appiko meaning to hug in Kannada the language of the state of Karnataka, began in a small forest district in India’s Western Ghats with the protest by local people against the state government’s policy of clear cutting natural, indigenous forests to establish monocultures of such high revenue species as eucalyptus and teak. Like the Chipko Movement, the Appiko Movement was committed to traditional ecological management and to village sustainability.  Over time the Appiko Movement became much more diverse than the Chipko Movement in the issues with which it was occupied. This lecture shows how the habits and habitat of forest people in the hill regions of the Western Ghats are embedded in local indigenous knowledge systems based on a holistic understanding of its ecology.

Audio:  Environmental Movements, Non Violence, and Deforestation
 Environmental Movements, Non Violence, and Deforestation