Events (2015-2016)


2015-2016 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "Perspectives on Identity"

A lecture series funded by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science

Catherine S. Sutton (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 5:00pm, Paino Lecture Hall, Beneski

“Can a Part Be as Big as the Whole?”

 Lionel McPherson (Tufts University)

Thursday, March 10, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"Color-conscious Social Identities, Not 'Race'"

Hans Ruin (Södertön University, Sweden)

Thursday, March 31, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"Narrative identity: living the stories that we are"

 Robert Pasnau (University of Colorado)

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"How Long do Arguments Last"

 Nancy Bauer (Tufts University)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"Simone de Beauvoir on Motherhood and Destiny"

The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy

Rae Langton (University of Cambridge, UK)

Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"How to get a Norm from a Speech Act"

Abstract provided by Professor Rae Langton is as follows:

"There are many ways to get a norm from a speech act: write your commands on tablets of stone, and give them to Moses; make a promise; set an essay question. Bad norms too can be made with speech acts, as when slave law, hate speech and pornography use words and images to alter patterns of permissibility. We make norms with our words routinely, through formal, authoritative speech acts of permitting or requiring, and through informal, ‘back-door’ speech acts that merely normalize certain behavior, via presuppositions, generics, and more. All these norm-setting speech acts follow a ‘rule of accommodation’, as David Lewis called it. For good or ill, they get their force from what speakers do, from background authority structures—and from the acts and omissions of others. Speakers can get a norm from a speech act, partly because hearers and bystanders help them. Sometimes we need to stop helping."

Reception will follow

Other Events & Lectures Scheduled 2015-2016

Paul Katsafanas (Boston University)

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 5:00 p.m.  Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"The Nietzschen Self"

Abstract provided by Professor Paul Katsafanas is as follows:

"Nietzsche treats selfhood as an aspirational term: we are not selves merely in virtue of being human. Rather, Nietzsche claims that selfhood is something that must be attained. I argue that Nietzsche treats genuine selfhood as attained when the person reassesses dominant values or embodies a new ideal. But what exactly is it, on Nietzsche's account, to value something?  Nietzsche associates values with affects and drives: he not only claims that values are explained by drives and affects, but sometimes appears to identify values with drives and affects.  This is decidedly odd: the agent's reflectively endorsed ends, principles, commitments--what we would think of as the agent's values--seem not only distinct from, but often in conflict with, the agent's drives.  Consequently, it is unclear how we should understand Nietzsche's concept of value.  I attempt to dispel these puzzles by reconstructing Nietzsche's account of value and linking it to his account of genuine selfhood."

David Finkelstein (University of Chicago)

Thursday, October 15, 2015, 5:00 p.m.  Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall

"One Kind of Wonder"



For further information, please phone Dee Brace at (413) 542-5805 or send e-mail to