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Lectures start promptly at 7:30PM and are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month September 2022 through December 13, 2022.   Our meetings are held at the Olive Garden, 9079 Vantage Point Drive, Dallas, TX 75243 (972) 234-3292,   Zoom access will also be available. 

1-10-2023  Is Suffering Good?

Sister Elinor Gardner, O.P. University of Dallas

How ought we to think of the phenomenon of suffering? If suffering is the pain of a rational being, and a lack or deprivation of some kind, is that not always something bad, to be avoided where possible, and tolerated when necessary? Or is there any sense in which suffering can or ought to be considered good? If so, is it good only because of its positive effects, as the Stoics seem to say? Could there be any deeper goodness present in suffering? How does the Stoic view compare with a Christian philosophy of suffering? Is revelation really necessary to make sense of suffering?

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1-24-2023  Intellectual Virtues

Susan Carrillo, Dallas College

The institution of education and the discipline of philosophy often emphasize the importance of  “technical" critical thinking skills (e.g., analysis, application, evaluation). What is less talked about are the character traits conducive to developing said thinking skills. Four character traits are: intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, and intellectual perseverance. While students develop the technical thinking skills philosophers use (e.g., argument analysis and construction, conceptual analysis and testing of definitions), a philosophy curriculum should highlight the simultaneously emphasizing and bringing to light how one's emotions, attitudes, desires, mindsets, dispositions, and habits impact one's development as a thinker,  learner,  knower, and social being. I will present a version of the lessons I give to students on the aforementioned virtues and then present an example of a graded, in-class philosophy assignment that calls upon students to be mindful of and practice said traits. In doing so, I will ask for volunteers to read from a script for each virtue, encouraging the audience to play an active role in how I present my lecture. Implications for education and civil society will be noted along the way.

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2-14-2023  Friedrich Schelling: Most Underrated Philosopher of the Nineteenth Century?

David Drumm

In many histories of philosophy Fredrick Schelling’s thought is considered merely a stepping stone between Fichte and Hegel. This is a gross injustice. Schelling’s productive career outlasted Hegel’s by 20 years or so. The writings of the mature Schelling interject a note of creativity and process into idealism and are an important precursor to existentialism and other developments.

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Meeting was cancelled by Olive Garden

2-28-2023 Critical Revolution in Literary Theory and the Evolution of Cultural Materialism

Jack Youngkin

The Twentieth Century witnessed a revolution in Literary Theory with the sidelining of Anglo-Saxon and philology for a new approach that was more modern, critical, and literary (rather than linguistic) in orientation.  Having a point of view more alive to the general culture, a younger generation of literary critics chose to see English literary studies as an exploration of the human condition or a commentary on civilization.  One of these Cambridge critics, Raymond Williams, thought drama as exemplary of what he calls cultural materialism, meaning the study of culture as a set of material practices (which occur within social conditions).  Cultural materialism is the study of the conditions of production of art by real human agents in changing historical circumstances.

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3-14-2023  Hume vs Kant: A Semi-Civilized Debate

David Drumm and Rob Olson

David Hume and Immanuel Kant are considered two of the greatest philosophers of the Enlightenment. Hume was a skeptical empiricist who questioned virtually any type of “knowledge” while Kant sought to find a way to integrate Hume’s essential insights with more traditional beliefs such as God, immortality, and freedom. David Drumm and Rob Olson, both board members of the Dallas Philosophers Forum, will try to unpack their respective positions in this semi-civilized debate. 

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3-28-2023  Follow the Science?  Stories of when the consensus scientific belief was wrong, and one person was right: implications for public policy. science and education.

Rob McKellar, Ph.D.

Today we are told to “follow the science,” suggesting that there is unanimity among scientific authorities whose exalted wisdom we are obligated to follow. But we live in a democracy where ordinary people can and should determine public policy. In this regard, we see many issues where dissenting views clash with the views of those who claim to have science on their side.  Such issues include the causes of global warming, vaccines, and nuclear power, among others. Accordingly, it is instructive and intriguing to relate several colorful stories in modern history where the consensus of the relevant scientific community held a theory that was wrong, while one person (or a very few) held the correct theory. These theories include continental drift, hospital-spread disease, ohms law, gastric ulcer etiology, atoms and molecules as discrete particles and others.

This talk will also consider when an “appeal to authority” is logically appropriate and the elements which make a theory plausible.  When high school students ask why they need to study chemistry, physics, and biology when they have no intention of becoming scientists, engineers, or doctors, we need to remind them that they will be citizens and voters and thus making critical science-related decisions and will need the tools to be independent thinkers.

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4-11-2023  Assisted Suicide: Ethical and Legal Conundrms

Bryan Rigg, Ph.D.

Dr. Rigg will use his personal experience in aiding a teacher, friend, and adopted father in his quest to end his life humanely. He will examine the various conflicting requirements and difficulties in obtaining assisted suicide in various states and in Europe. He will detail the final steps for his success in Switzerland.

This was a great meeting and a great discussion, but due to some new things we were trying and confusion dealing with set ups, we failed to record the meeting.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Pleaase  join us in person for our next meeting on Tuesday, April 25.  Then you won't miss anything.

4-25/2023  The Ethics of Lying

David Pruessner, J.D., LLM

Most of the great philosophers extoll the virtues of honesty.  Yet, in daily life, we condone concealing the truth-and even deliberate lying. We promote lying in warfare, sports, litigation, parenting, and law enforcement.  Lying is part of every citizen’s freedom of speech.  We believe that we lie in order to serve some “greater good.”  Come hear attorney David Pruessner lie about this intriguing topic. 

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5-9-2023  Language and Philosophy

Dr. Sally Parker-Ryan, Ph.D., University of Arlington

Linguistic philosophy is both a metaphilosophical perspective, and a method of doing philosophy. Very roughly, it views most traditional philosophical problems as problems about language,  rather than problems about phenomena or our knowledge of them. Since it views philosophical problems – or at least, many of them – as linguistic problems, it follows that any attempt to resolve them ought to be approached via the investigation of language. In this talk, I will trace the history of this view to the early twentieth century; mainly to philosophy done in Britain, but also in Vienna. I will examine the central arguments and connect them with some philosophical work being done today.

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