Schedule for the Fall 2005 Season:
SEPTEMBER 13, 2005: Why Do We Make Enemies and Have Difficulty Letting Go of Them?
Jerry Middents, Professor Emeritus, Austin College and Former Licensed Psychologist
In both international and interpersonal conflicts, there are functions that enemies may serve. These functions can serve purposes that make it difficult to let go of enemies. These dynamics will be explored conceptually and concretely from multi-disciplinary perspectives.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2005: Plato and Luke, or Wonder Tales of the Kingdom: Excursions in the Epistemology of History.
Joe Barnhart, Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas
In the Republic, Socrates asks, "Could we somehow contrive some noble lie to persuade, in the best case, even the rulers, but if not them, the rest of the city?" For Allan Bloom, "The myths are lies" generated to make citizens love the city. N. H. Fehl thinks, "Plato's 'Foundation Myth' is not a noble lie. It is a popularization of truth, a dramatization of philosophy. It is the attempt to make the vision available in a form that can be appropriated and assimilated by the community as a whole" My thesis is this. The author of Luke-Acts in the New Testament provides a "Foundation Myth" for what he regards as a new kingdom with divine initiation and sanction. As I read Plato, someone must supervise the invention of fables and legends to replace those stories in Hesiod and Homer and the poets in general. Better stories must be invented to counter those that are ugly, immoral, and false in the way they misrepresent the nature of gods and heroes.
OCTOBER 11, 2005:
Cosmology: From Einstein to Now. A Talk Honoring 100 Years of Relativity.Canceled! Our restuarant is remodeling that day. We will have Dr. Rindler speak on our Spring 2006 schedule. Stay tuned!
Wolfgang Rindler, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Dallas
Cosmology became a science (as opposed to pure speculation) only around 1920, when a new generation of giant telescopes opened up the cosmos, and Einstein's general relativity was able to supply the necessary theory. In the last twenty years new instruments led to a new spurt of progress, and some old questions have been answered. For example, our expansion seems to be accelerating and our geometry flat. Thus our universe seems to be destined for an ultimate cold death, and a finite universe, curved back on itself like the surface of a sphere, seems ruled out. The large-scale distribution of galaxies is far more "messy" than had previously been thought. Einstein's lambda term has made a come-back. Dark matter and dark energy are open puzzles. Inflation theory has made people think. And the Anthropic Principle has emerged as a fascinating and optimistic hypothesis.
OCTOBER 25, 2005: NeuroInteractivism - Dynamical Mechanics and the Emergence of Higher Cortical Function.
Larry Cauller, Assoc. Professor of Neuroscience, Laboratory for NeuroEngineering, University of Texas at Dallas
Recently established biological principles of neural connectionism promote a "neurointeractivist" paradigm of brain and behavior. Given this neurointeractivity, perception is a proactive behavior rather than information processing, so there is no need to impose representationalism: neurons simply respond to their inputs rather than encode sensory properties; neural activity patterns are self-organized dynamical attractors rather than sensory driven transformations. Our subjective world view emerges in the same way scientific paradigm evolves by neurointeractivity as we learn to see the world in a way that explains more of the effects of our actions.
NOVEMBER 8, 2005: What Stands Before the Law? Identifying the Legal Subject.
Douglas C. Dow, Assistant Professor of Government and Politics, University of Texas at Dallas
Do groups have rights? When can a human fetus be a party to a lawsuit? Why is a corporation a person? Posed at the intersection between jurisprudence and metaphysics, this discussion will concern the confusions that arise with attempts to define who or what can be recognized as a right and duty bearing subject under law. While legal realists and positivists have attempted to keep the legal person securely within the confines of jurisprudence, as we shall see, these questions of legal recognition have broad social, ethical and epistemological repercussions that escape any narrow disciplinary boundaries.
NOVEMBER 22, 2005: Animism: The Roots of Religion, the Future of Spirituality
Amy Martin, Writer and Creator & Producer of SolstiCelebrations seasonal events.
Animism represents the roots of religions from Taoism to Christianity, and remains the spiritual path for most indigenous cultures. Far from simple, today animism is likely to be entwined with scientific concepts such as the 1st law of thermodynamics. It is the philosophical basis for most people who describe themselves as "spiritual, but not religious." A look at 21st century mystical animism, a survey of animist paths, and a tour of some of the accomplishments of animistic peoples.
DECEMBER 13, 2005: The Distinctiveness Of Historical Study: A Defense of the Importance of History.
Charles Sullivan, Professor of History, University of Dallas
History, its detractors have long complained, is nothing but a collection of dates, names, and places. To escape this charge of antiquarianism, apologists for history have often been tempted to seek the cover of borrowed glory. They presented history as philosophy teaching by example or as the record of God's providential plan for mankind. Later, when the appeal of metaphysics and theology began to wane, some of the newly enlightened speculated that history might even be a science, a veritable giver of laws for cultural, political, social or economic development. Today's postmodern skeptics protest such authoritarian aspirations: they unmask historians as just unusually uncritical storytellers and histories as just peculiarly presumptuous fictions. The lecture will challenge each of these commonplace views of the discipline of history and offer a defense of the vocation of the historian and history's central place among the liberal arts.
DECEMBER 27, 2003: NO MEETING
The remainder of the season from January 2006-May 2006 will be posted at a later date.
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