Wheaton College Color Logo

McManis Philosophy Lecture Series

McManis Philosophy Lecture Series

Every third year, the McManis Lecture Series offers the Philosophy Department the opportunity to host both national and international scholars for a series of lectures addressing a specific topic or philosophical issue.

These lectures were oriented toward the major and are often accompanied by a course devoted to the topic at hand. This lecture series provided students, once again, with the opportunity to experience first-hand and to interact with the very highest level of scholarship in the field of professional philosophy.

The Strange Uses of Political Religion

Dr. Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University

Dr. Taylor has been awarded the 2007 Templeton Prize, the 2008 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, and the 2016 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy. Dr. Taylor has published widely in the areas of moral philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of action, philosophy of personal identity, philosophy of language, philosophy of the human sciences, philosophy of mind, epistemology, philosophy of history, and, most recently, his work has focused on the themes of religion and secularization. He is the author of numerous books, including The Explanation of Behaviour (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964); Hegel (Cambridge University Press, 1975); Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Harvard University Press, 1989); The Ethics of Authenticity (Harvard University Press, 1991); A Secular Age (The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2007); Secularism and Freedom of Conscience, co-authored with Jocelyn Maclure (Harvard University Press, 2011); and The Language Animal (The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2016).


Ibn Rushd/Averroes and Aquinas on Ultimate Human Happiness

Dr. Richard Taylor, Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University

Tuesday November 12, 2013
McManis Lecture: The Andalusian philosopher Ibn Rushd or Averroes is repeatedly criticized by Aquinas for his theory of human knowing. However, for the formulation of his own doctrine of ultimate human happiness in the knowledge of God in the afterlife, Thomas Aquinas draws directly and explicitly on Averroes's theory of knowledge to explain the Christian religious teaching on the vision of God in His essence or "face-to-face." Professor Taylor's presentation explains this surprising influence of a key thinker of the Arabic/Islamic tradition on this Christian theologian and philosopher in his theology of the vision of the essence of God.


Aquinas on Human Personhood and Death

Dr. Jeffrey Brower, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University

Tuesday April 12, 2011
McManis Lecture: As human beings, we possess both minds and bodies.  But what is their nature and how are we related to them?  Are we essentially material objects, immaterial persons, or partly material and partly immaterial beings?  Christians have much to learn, I think, from the broadly Aristotelian approach that Aquinas takes to these questions.  His approach not only provides us with an attractive alternative to the standard forms of materialism and dualism in philosophy of mind, but also offers us an intriguing set of options for what happens to us after death.


Anselm on Free Will

Dr. Katherin Rogers, Professor of Philosophy, University of Delaware

Tuesday March 22, 2011
McManis Lecture: Suppose a bit of bone pressing on your brain makes you do what you do. Are you free? Suppose a mad scientist manipulating the electrical impulses in your brain makes you do what you do.  Should we hold you responsible? Suppose God makes you do what you do. Is it just for Him (or anyone) to reward and punish you? St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) answers, No!, No!, and NO!!! Anselm holds that we are indeed free and responsible and justly praised and blamed by God and at least some of what we do is not caused by anything or anyone outside ourselves including God.  It follows that there are events uncaused by God.  But God – at least in the traditional view that Anselm endorses – is the absolute source of everything that is not Himself. He keeps the whole world in being from moment to moment. Has Anselm contradicted himself? No, again! He provides a careful analysis of the nature of free will which solves the apparent paradox.


Medieval Philosophy and the Foundations of Christian Intellectualism: How Augustine Made It Safe for Smart People To Be Christians

Dr. Scott MacDonald, Professor of Philosophy & Christian Studies, Cornell University

Thursday, December 2, 2010
McManis Lecture: Puzzle--How did the religion of a largely uneducated Jewish splinter group in 1st-century Palestine become the dominant intellectual movement in a significant part of the world for nearly 2000 years? The answer critically involves Augustine who provided Christian thinkers with a sophisticated theoretical foundation for their attempts to use philosophical reasoning to understand, explain, and defend their Christian faith. Augustine thereby opened the way for the great medieval achievements of thinkers such as Anselm, Aquinas, and Scotus.