Speaker Series 2023-24 | College of Arts

Speaker Series 2023-24

September 25 -- note, a Monday:  Ron Broglio, Arizona State University

4 pm in MacKinnon 103

Considering the phenomenological membrane of animality

Using the work of Maurice Merleau Ponty, Alphonso Lingis, and Sara Ahmed this talk will explore the poetic-philosophical implication of phenomenology toward a shared human-nonhuman animality. The talk will attempt languages for discussing a broad interspecies community and its implications for human selfhood.

October 19: John Sarnecki, University of Toledo

4 pm in MacKinnon 114

Cultural preservation in wartime

The precipitous rise of ISIS and its barbarism towards both individuals and cultural heritage in the areas they dominated offers a stark contrast between how we respond to the sufferings of others and the loss of treasured objects and archaeology. While demands for military and humanitarian intervention to alleviate human suffering were urgent, it is also clear that many of these appeals were motivated by a desire to prevent future or ongoing damage to cultural properties. Can we justify the diversion of resources from the protection and care of a civilian populace towards the preservation of antiquities and archaeological sites? This problem has proven only more pressing in light of continued aggression against people and property in conflicts worldwide. In this paper, I will examine the ethical justification for prioritizing the preservation of archaeological and cultural artifacts. Does the desire to preserve historical artifacts provide any further impetus for intervention beyond the moral demands of preserving human life and decreasing suffering? In considering how and why we value cultural property, I will argue that this dichotomy is often a false one. Ultimately, however, I will argue that in most cases, we are unable to justify diversion of resources towards the protection of cultural property when those resources could be used to alleviate the pain and suffering of individuals affected by ongoing conflicts.

November 2: Tarek Dika, University of Toronto

4 pm in MacKinnon 114

Ontology and temporality in Heidegger: problems and prospects

Much of the motivation behind Heidegger’s project in Being and Time stems from his thesis that temporality has played a neglected dual role in the history of ontology: an ontological or metaontological role, in which it determines how beings or entities are understood and distinguished from one another, and an ontical role, in which it is itself regarded simply as one being or entity among many others. This dual role, Heidegger argues, can be detected in everything from Aristotle’s concept of substance (ousia) up to Hegel’s concept of spirit (Geist). I argue that Heidegger’s interpretation of ancient and modern ontologies does not unambiguously demonstrate that temporality played the ontological or metaontological role he claims it does, and I explore other possible candidates that may have played this role. I conclude by arguing that the prioritization of temporality in post-Heideggerean philosophy is in part due to an uncritical acceptance of Heidegger’s thesis about the dual role played by temporality in the history of ontology.

November 23: Alice MachLachlan, York University [cancelled due to illness]


January 25: Sarah Hannan, University of Manitoba


Title TBA

Abstract TBA

February 16: Sara Aronowitz, University of Toronto


Title TBA

Abstract TBA

March 28: Alison Reiheld, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Title TBA

Abstract TBA

Fall 2024

September 26: Anthony Skelton, Western University

Date TBA: Liz Jackson, Toronto Metropolitan University