Colloquia Series

The department colloquia series consist of approximately six lectures per academic year, given by prominent philosophers from around the country and around the world. In addition, members of our department occasionally present their own work. The series offers students a chance to experience professional philosophy talks, and perhaps more importantly, to participate in the question period following the talk, in which the speaker responds to comments and discusses his/her work with students and members of the faculty. The schedule for each year is posted on this site as it becomes available.  

Inquiries should be directed to:
Prof. Karsten Stueber
Department of Philosophy

Fall 2023

Skepticism About Reasons For and Against Emotions

Thursday, September 21, 2023
4:00 p.m, Smith Hall 501

Professor Talia Morag
University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA

The philosophy of emotion commonly supposes that emotions belong to what Sellars calls the space of reasons. These are mainly normative reasons of fit, which turn to concepts such “danger” in the case of fear or “wrongdoing” in the case of guilt, and so forth, where the question is whether they apply to the situation that has given rise to the emotional reaction.  The rationalist claim that emotions are, or ought to be, reason-sensitive is seen as “obvious” (Deonna & Teroni, 2012). In this paper, I defend the view that emotions are arational, by explaining away the motivations to hold the reason-sensitive view. I focus on moral emotions, for which the case for the rationalist claim is strongest, given that terms such as “regret” or “indigitation” appear to make little sense without including beliefs or thoughts about wrongdoing and responsibility in their meaning.   I propose a  radical version of a feeling theory according to which so-called “recalcitrant emotions,” which persist despite a person’s judgment against them, are the rule rather than the exception. This view is skeptical since it assumes widespread self-deception in our emotional lives.

Bots in the Kitchen: A Philosophical Take on the Digital Food Transformation

Friday, September 22, 2023
3:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Andrea Borghini

The digital food transformation promises to rationalize food systems, forge ahead with healthy eating, swiftly create food cultures, and much more. All of this, though, requires the ability to adequately represent the elusive and transitory nature of food and food practices in some formal language. Andrea Borghini, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Milan, Italy, unearthes the ethical and theoretical perils and prospects that digital food transformation creates.
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy. 

Nature, Norms, and Society: Seven Hills Workshop

Saturday, September 23, 2023
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Smith Hall 501

Human beings are simultaneously part of nature and a normatively structured social realm within which they have to live up to certain normative commitments and moral obligations. Yet nature, or so the sciences seem to tell us, is the realm of plain facts. Such facts might cause us to do certain things, but they do not tell us what we should do; they do not oblige us normatively. The workshop will address this conundrum through the discussion of five papers. The papers explore the exact nature of the philosophical commitment to the framework of naturalism, suggest ways in which our normative commitments might be tied to our empathic capacities, and analyze the intricate entanglement of fact and values in constituting certain aspects of our food practices.

This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy. 

Aristotle’s Discovery of First Philosophy

Thursday, September 28, 2023
7:30 p.m., Levis Browsing Room, Dinand Library 
Speaker: William Wians, Merrimack College
Commentator: C. Wes DeMarco, Clark University 

Why Aristotle Distinguishes between Second and First Philosophy

Thursday, September 28, 2023
Seminar: 2:00 p.m., Smith Hall 201   
Co-sponsored by:
Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy (B.A.C.A.P.), and 
The Department of Philosophy, College of the Holy Cross
Contact: Professor May Sim, Director of B.A.C.A.P.

Why We Like Villains in the Movies

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
4:30 p.m., Smith Hall 501
Professor Mario De Caro
Roma Tre University, ITALY, and Tufts University