Lectures start promptly at 7:30PM and are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month September through May
1-9-2018: How Much of What We Call Art Would Nietsche Deem Creative?
MIchael O'Keefe, MFA
Various works of art will be examined
as a means to fully understand the immense wisdom in the above
Nietzsche quote – “How much of what we can art would Nietzsche deem
creative? Mr. O’Keefe will demonstrate how current understanding
in the field of Neuroscience affirms Nietzsche’s postulate that
the artist (most artists) “likes what he can paint” and “paints what he
likes”. And I will explain how, as a means to avoid the perils
described in Nietzsche’s quote, I have built into my own artistic
practice behaviors that mandate amplified creativity. Finally, I will
suggest that the great minority of so called art makers actually take
the plunge into the abyss of creativity, and I will suggest why it is
that I believe the greatest of artists do.
1-23-2018: Memory, Self, and Person: Who are We, Anyway?
Writing a memoir some years back made
clear to me how doing so completely changes one's appreciation of
memory. We make memories, and then they make us. But the greater
revelation is that memory is central to our concept of self and
person. Add all these together, and then throw in thoughts on
brain, mind and consciousness, and "Voila!, we appear.
2-13-2018: Environmental Ethics and the Culture War
Dr. Eugene Hargrove
environmental ethics and environmental philosophy have been a part of
philosophy for nearly forty years, it is not very well established
either in public affairs or in public education. There are two primary
reasons: modern economics which encourages the social sciences to think
exclusively in terms of the instrumental values of Deweyan pragmatism
and the Culture War at the primary and secondary school levels going
back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. When Ronald Reagan
became president, there was an effort to extend the Culture War up to
the university level with the NEH abandoning ethics and values for the
most part and only the NSF providing some support for it. The emergence
of environmental philosophy coincided with and has been inhibited by
this extension of the Culture War. Currently students entering colleges
and universities have learned ethics as emotivism, as a form of tacit
knowledge. As a result, they think ethics is just personal values that
they happen to feel individually. For environmental ethics education to
be effective, at an early age children need to be taught that ethics
involves social values that have evolved as part of their cultural
history and that these values are as important as the instrumental
values of economics and the social sciences.
2-27-2018: Why Dallas? Untangling the Mystery of Dallas' Rise to Prominence
Paul Benson, Mountain View College
Benson. Professor of Humanities, Mountain View College, will discuss
how it has always been a mystery as to why Dallas has risen to become
one of America's most important cities. He will argue that Dallas
is not on a main body of water like Chicago or L.A., nor was it a
capital, and it did not have a major State university. Paul also
points out that Dallas weather is not particularly temperate, it has no
dominant industry, and it is not blessed with any abundance of natural
resources. He raises the question: "What did Dallas have
that made it better than say Denison, Denton, or Decatur?" Paul
will conclude unraveling this puzzle to bring to light a peculiar
alignment of special people, groups, coincidences and luck!
3-13-2018: AI and Medicine
David Alkek, M.D.
intelligence is already decoupling intelligence from consciousness.
Computers don’t have to be self-aware to perform supercomputing,
gathering and dispensing information and making micro-second decisions.
Would you rather have your diagnosis and treatment made by a computer
approaching 100% accuracy or a warm-blooded person who is tired,
over-worked and possibly emotionally distraught – with a 10%
possibility that he or she is wrong? What is happening today to
practice of medicine is only the beginning. What will become of medical practice in the future if AI continues on its present course we can only guess. The supercomputer
of the future will know a patient’s complete genome, detailed medical
history, all medications ever taken, family and social history, and
even where he has travelled. It will have in its databank information
on every known disease and therapy and update this instantaneously with
new research and medical statistics from every linked-in clinic and
hospital in the world. And it will never get tired or sleepy or hungry
or rude. With such a super-Watson, what use will we have for a
new Sir William Osler?
3-27-2018: Foucalt on Courage, Truth, and Democracy
Taylor Norwood, University of Dallas
the end of his life, Michel Foucault embarked on an extended
exploration of the Ancient Greek concept of parrēsia, or courageous
truth-telling. As he conducts a genealogy of the concept over the
course of his last several lecture series at the Collège de France,
Foucault makes it clear that parrēsia is central to the development of
philosophy in the West and is key to developing a true political
ethics. In this presentation, I will outline the central features of
Foucault’s understanding of parrēsia before considering the place of
parrēsia in the modern democratic political order.
4-10-2018: Technology and Beauty
Dr. Andy Amato, UTD
technology? What is beauty? What is the relation of one to the other?
Technology pervades our existence, but do we really understand what it
is? And though we regularly use the designation "beauty" to describe
all manner of things we find appealing, is it something we can still
discuss in a substantive and meaningful way? Can we still seek
universal criteria for beauty? Or, in our contemporary age, ought we to
consider such pursuits passé and no longer intellectually tenable? I
will attempt a criticism of modern technology and technological
systematizing as complicit elements in the reduction of humankind to
mass-minded consumers and inauthentic identities. I will additionally
take up a defense of beauty as a counteracting force capable of acting
as a foundation upon which authentic selves might be established and
undertake meaningful action.
4-24-2018: Integrity and Ambiguity in Scientific Research
Fred Grinnell, Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
traditionally is taught as a linear process based on logic and carried
out by objective researchers following the scientific method. Practice
of science is a far more nuanced enterprise, one in which intuition and
passion become just as important as objectivity and logic. Whether the
activity is committing to study a particular research problem, drawing
conclusions about a hypothesis under investigation, choosing whether to
count results as data or experimental noise, or deciding what
information to present in a research paper, ethical challenges
inevitably will arise because of the ambiguities inherent in practice.
Unless these ambiguities are acknowledged and their sources understood
explicitly, responsible conduct of science education will not
adequately prepare the individuals receiving the training for the kinds
of decisions essential to research integrity that they will have to
make as scientists.
5-8-2018: Ways of Knowing What There Is To Be Known: A Reconsideration of Science and Religion
Robert Hunt, Ph.D., Southern Methodist University
talk will explore how science and religion came to be understood as
mutually exclusive domains of knowledge, and whether they in might in
fact share common concerns that lead to fruitful dialogue.