Leonard Lecture Series
Peter Pesic, Tutor and Musician in Residence, St. John’s College, Santa Fe
“Sky Blue: Philosophy, Poetics, and Science” – What if we were to consider the color and brightness of the sky using the kind of literary, critical, historic, poetic, scientific, and philosophic sensibilities we apply to human texts and situations? How would we then “read” the sky? And what would happen if we tried to recreate the sky’s hue in a terrestrial bottle? The ensuing tale has many odd turns and lingering questions: Is the sky really blue after all? Such questions touch the secrets of matter and light, the scope of the universe in space and time, the destiny of the earth, the nature of the mind, and deep human feelings.
Michael Huemer, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado at Boulder
“The Puzzle of Metacoherence” – I defend the Metacoherence Requirement, which holds roughly, that anyone who believes something is rationally committed to the claim that they know that thing. But this is puzzling, because “I know that P” is logically stronger that “P;” hence, it seems that it ought to be possible to have justification for the latter claim but not the former. I discuss accounts of why this is not possible. I reject the viw that one’s justification for P gives one justification for the claim that one knows that P; I suggest instead that one must have separate grounds for “P” and “I know P.”
Alan Richaradson, Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia
“Logical Positivism as Scientific Philosophy: Remarks on an Episode in Philosophy’s Relations with Positive Science and Some Consequences.”
This talk offers a new interpretation of the significance of logical positivism for philosophy in the twentieth century. In it I offer evidence that the primary philosophical point of logical positivism was, for the logical positivists themselves, a metaphilosophical point: it was an attempt to bring the standards of the exact sciences into philosophy itself. I will show how this interpretation differs from the most prominent account of logical positivism in the literature. Moreover, using tools from history and sociology of science, I will argue that the historical trajectory of logical positivism disclosures the roots of some continuing problems of epistemic authority endemic to analytics philosophy today.
Avrum Stroll, Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, University of California, San Diego
“A New Defense of Same Sex Marriage” – My goal is to defend same sex marriage. The argument is one that is not found in any publication that I know of. It rests on three premises: 1) Civilization is based on a system of rules that are designed to allow people with divergent interests to live together in amity. Civilization is thus opposed to chaos – a view that has been supported by most writers since the time of Homer – a notable example being the Odyssey of that writer. 2) The second premise is that marriage has traditionally been a stabilizing force – domesticating its participants – and is thus opposed to chaos. 3) Same sex marriage furthers the benefits that heterosexual marriage normally serves. It is thus good for its participants, good for their children and good for society. In the paper I argue that same-sex marriage should be supported and promoted.
Hilary Kornblith, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts
“The Myth of Epistemic Agency” – Many of our beliefs are formed unreflectively. But sometimes we stop and ask ourselves, “Is this what I really ought to believe?” On these occasions, it seems, the beliefs we form are ones which, in some sense, we choose. Believing, at least on these occasions, is not something that just happens to us; it is something that we do. This is the idea that there is such a thing as epistemic agency. A great many philosophers are committed to the view that there is such a thing as epistemic agency, and they believe that it is connected, in important ways, to epistemic responsibility, the possibility of having justified belief, and, on some views, the possibility of having beliefs at all. This paper takes a careful look at the very idea of epistemic agency.
Debra Harry, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism (IPCB)
“Asserting Indigenous Peoples’ Self-Determination in an Age of Biocolonialism” - Harry’s non-profit organization, IPCB, is a U.S.-based organization created to assist Indigenous peoples in the protection of their genetic resources, Indigenous knowledge, and cultural and human rights from the negative effects of biotechnology. She is also the founder and director of the Pesa Nadayadu Penabe Madabwe (making good strong leaders) Emerging Indigenous Leaders Institute, a program designed to cultivate a new generation of leadership committed to the protection and perpetuation of the rights, culture, and lifeways of Indigenous peoples in the Great Basin bio-cultural region. Dr. Harry is Northern Paiute from Pyramid Lake, Nevada.
Linda Martin-Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, City University of New York Graduate Center
“Identity in the Public Sphere” and “Latinos Beyond the Binary” – Linda Martin-Alcoff works primarily in continental philosophy, epistemology, feminist theory, Latino philosophy, and philosophy of race. She was named the Distinguished Woman in Philosophy for 2005 by the Society for Women in Philosophy, and in 2006 she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine. She is the 2009 Frantz Fanon Prize recipient for her book Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (Oxford University Press, 2006). Her other books and anthologies include Feminist Epistemologies o-edited with Elizabeth Potter (Routledge, 1993), Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory of Knowledge (Cornell, 1996), Epistemology: The Big Questions (Blackwell,1998), Thinking From the Underside of History co-edited with Eduardo Mendieta (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), Identities co-edited with Eduardo Mendiaeta (Blackwell, 2002), Singing in the Fire: Tales of Women in Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy co-edited with Eva Feder Kittay (Blackwell, 2006), and Identity Politics Reconsidered co-edited with Michael Hames-Garcia, Satya Mohanty and Paula Moya (Palgrave, 2006).