Lectures start promptly at 7:30PM and are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month September through May
9-8-2015: What, Really, Was Bergson Trying To Do?
Pete Gunter, Ph.D., UNT
talk is about a philosophy which managed to avoid sterility and to
produce new, useful insights helpful to both the arts and the sciences:
that of Henri Bergson.
The talk will begin with a brief discussion of his life and the basic structure of his thought.
he criticized language (whether formal or ordinary) and privileged
intuition which acquaints us with the durations (fundamental processes)
of things, it has been assumed that his intuition leads to mere mystic
silence, and/or involves the undermining of the sciences.
contrary --and this is my main point -- he believed that intuition can
express itself in new insights and new formal systems. That is,
Bergson's famous intuition of duration, far from being a dead end (as
Russell, Santayana and many others protested) opens out to previously
unthought-of ideas applicable to the broad range of human
Many years of researching Bergson's life and thought
have revealed that among the artists strongly inspired by his thought
are Marcel Proust, the Italian futurist Bocchioni and the painter
Matisse. These were creative on their own part. But Bergson opened new
vistas to each. Among the scientists so inspired are Ilya
Prigogine with his nonlinear thermodynamics, Alexis Carrel's and
Pierre Lecomte du Nouy"s chronobiology, and the notion of episodic
memory, so central to the new memory science.
9-22-2015: Themes Of Injustice And Sexism In The Abortion Debate
John Ferrer, B.A., MDiv., Th.M., Ph.D.
pro-life position has so far failed to usurp the collective force of
the "Justice Argument" for Women's rights (including abortion-choice).
Yet, with dozens of new restrictions passed at the state level just
last year, it would seem like they are still winning. How can this be?
One reason might be the sly and sometimes persuasive tactic of using
the same argument against Abortion-choice advocates. In particular,
they can rebrand the "Justice Argument" in terms of "female" rights,
and include fetuses on par with women. Moreover, this retooled "Justice
Argument" has been known to appeal to traditional models of femininity
(as if the advance of women generally, must benefit every woman
specifically) and to sex-selective abortion. I suggest that it's too
murky and distracting for them to phrase the justice argument in terms
of (positively) reinforcing traditional roles of women. However, i
admit that the pro-life camp may be right regarding sex selective
abortion, but abortion-choice advocates can concede that point with no
serious threat to their core commitment to justice and sexual equality.Our
recording of Dr. Ferrer's talk turned itself off after 10
minutes, so you'll have to read his paper to get his views. Click the
link below to open the paper.
The Justice Argument for Abortion
Does Philosophy Have A Future?
Robert Frodeman, Ph.D.
It is increasingly doubtful that
academic philosophy can thrive in an era of declining budgets, soaring
debts, antipathy to tax increases, and new technologies such as
distance education. Philosophy is secure at America’s elite
universities. But what of the vast number of universities whose future
is tied to the decisions of state legislatures or other financial
Academic philosophy is now subject to powerful cultural
trends that include a distrust of the public realm, a utilitarian habit
of mind where only what is countable actually counts, and a widespread
assumption that “values” are mere preferences to be tabulated and
traded rather than critically assessed and debated. The philosophic
community needs to respond to these dangers in a thoughtful and
proactive way. This presentation will address the four aspects to the
challenge this community now faces.
10-27-2015: Noumena, Phenomena, Intuition and Epistemology
Win Galbraith, Ph. D., Retired Philosophy Porfessor
I want to look briefly at several
sample episodes in the history of thought where something profound was
happening. These have been illuminative for me and have shaped my
own thoughts on epistemology. I want to share with you my own
speculative conclusions which are controversial enough to place me in a
minority position. Then I want to engage with you in critical
evaluations of these inferences.
11-10-2015: Our Children, Our Selves
Jean Kazez, Ph.D., SMU
Jean Kazez will discuss how
parental love relates to romantic love and self love, exploring an idea
first clearly articulated by Aristotle: “A parent, then, loves
his children as he loves himself. For what has come from him is a sort
of other self.”
11-24-2015: How The Brain Works--A Neurochemistry Of The Mind
Paul Tobolowsky, MD
Surviving in a universe isn’t
easy. Somehow through the interaction of matter and energy
outside our body with matter and energy on the inside, we must generate
a mental model of the world and of ourselves accurate enough to sustain
our life. Science is just beginning to understand some of the
brain architecture and electrochemical processes through which
information is encoded and emotions emerge.
opportunities and limitations provided by our sensory systems and
brain, we produce a vivid, biased, multimodal model of the world
through which we not only survive, but use our mind to explore itself.
What more fitting topic could there be for the Philosophers Forum than
to investigate recent discoveries regarding the physical basis of
12-8-2015: Freedom, Creativity, And Manipulation
Eric Barnes, Ph.D., SMU
holds that determinism and moral responsibility are compatible.
One important argument against compatibilism is the manipulation
argument – which claims that subjects who are the victims of global
manipulation (their entire character, beliefs and values are the
product of manipulation) are not morally responsible, but agents who
live in deterministic worlds are no different from manipulated agents
with respect to moral responsibility. I argue that
there is a critical difference between manipulated and determined
agents, and that is that the latter are potentially
creative. Full freedom should preserve the potential
for creativity – thus the manipulation argument fails.