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2012-13 Philosophy Speaker Series

All lectures are free and open to the public. They will be held in Blanchard Hall Room 339 and begin at 7:30p.m. unless indicated otherwise.

Fall 2012 Speakers

September 6, 2012 
Dr. Samuel Newlands
, Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion and Associate Professor of Philosophy (Ph.D., Yale University) at the University of Notre Dame
Sam Newlands

God and Evil:  What NOT to Say?

Christians regularly attempt to reconcile the goodness of God with the evils of our world. However, a growing number of critics, including prominent Christians, have claimed that the project of constructing such explanations for evil is itself a kind of evil. Dr. Newlands will discuss these concerns. Do Christian theodicies try to insulate us from the pain and suffering of those around us? Do they fail to take suffering seriously? Are they morally insensitive? More generally, should Christians avoid the project of constructing theodicies?


October 9, 2012
Dr. Charles Taliaferro
, Professor of Philosophy (Ph.D., M.A., Brown University) at St Olaf University
Charles Taliaferro

Hell and How to Get There

A defense of the view of heaven and hell, but especially hell as one finds in the work of Charles Williams as well as famously portrayed in the drama Doctor Faustus by Marlowe.  Both hell and heaven can be here and now realities as well as extending beyond this life.  The lecture will include reflections on the philosophy of space and time and their bearing on the meaning of one's life. 


November 27, 2012
Dr. Michael Rea
, Co-Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion and Professor of Philosophy (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) at University of Notre Dame
Michael Rea

Divine Hiddenness

Divine silence—or, as many think of it, divine hiddenness—is the source of one of the two most important and widely discussed objections to belief in God. Many people seem to be utterly broken by divine silence in the midst of their own suffering or the suffering of others, or simply by the ongoing and unsatisfied longing for the presence of God.  In this talk, Michael Rea explains why divine silence poses a serious intellectual obstacle to belief in God, and then goes on to consider ways of overcoming that obstacle.



Spring 2013 Speakers

January 24, 2013
Dr. Christina Van Dyke
, Associate Professor of Philosophy (Ph.D., Cornell University) at Calvin College  

Chritina Van DykeEdward, Bella, and Aquinas: Resurrected Bodies that Sparkle in the Sun

The connection between the Twilight series and Thomas Aquinas may not be immediately obvious, but I'll argue that Stephanie Meyer's vampires actually serve as an excellent illustration of Aquinas's account of our everlasting heavenly bodies. According to Aquinas, the resurrection of the body will perfect all of our physical capacities: we will have heightened sense perception and beauty, incredible agility and strength, invulnerable flesh--and yes, we will sparkle in the light. Aquinas also claims that these bodies will be numerically identical to our earthly bodies. But how can those new, improved bodies count as the very same bodies that we have now? In this talk, I'll explore the puzzle this question raises for both Aquinas's account of identity and his account of human nature itself. Is Aquinas's account of the Beatific Vision consistent with what he says elsewhere about human beings, or does it ultimately require us to become superhuman? And if we will become superhuman in the life to come, what consequences does that have for what it means to be human now?



Dr. Marya Schechtman, Professor of Philosophy and Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience (Ph.D., Harvard University) at University of Illinois at Chicago
Marya Schechtman The Stories of Our Lives: Personal Identity and Narrative

What makes you the same person now you were ten years ago?  What kinds of changes could you undergo and still be you?  John Locke famously argued that being the same person requires sameness of consciousness. Present day philosophers have developed this claim into the "psychological continuity theory," which defines identity in terms of the stability of memories, beliefs, values and desires.  I argue that Locke's notion is better understood in terms of narrative.  According to the view I defend the unity of a life is the unity of an autobiographical narrative.  I will describe some basic problems with the psychological continuity theory and show how the narrative view can avoid them.