Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Three fantastic upcoming talks at Hampshire College

by Salman Hameed

If you live in Western Massachusetts, then you are in for a treat. We have three fantastic talks coming, including our next Science & Religion Lecture.

So lets start with tomorrow (Thursday, March 5th). The Culture Brain and Development (CBD) program at Hampshire is hosting a talk by Darrin McMahon:

Pursuing Happiness in the Past and in the Present
by Dr. Darrin M. McMahon

Thursday February 28th 5:30-7:00 p.m. in Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall

Bio: Dr. Darrin M. McMahon is the Ben Weider Professor of History at Florida State University. Educated at Berkeley and Yale, he is the author of Enemies of the Enlightenment (Oxford, 2001) and Happiness: a History (Atlantic Monthly, 2006), which has been translated into thirteen languages, and was awarded Best Books of the Year honors for 2006 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate Magazine, and The Library Journal. Dr. McMahon?s writings have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He is currently writing a history of the idea of genius, forthcoming with Basic Books in 2013.

Abstract: Professor McMahon will sketch some of the principal ways human beings have thought about happiness in the past. Examples will draw primarily from the Western tradition, but the discussion will open out to encompass other traditions as well. McMahon will then discuss the ?Revolution in Human Expectations? that occurred in the 18th century, and explain how its consequences--for better and for worse--are still with us today. The lecture concludes by looking at some aspects of the recent "science" of happiness to explain how a good number of its central insights are consistent with truths long understood by the world's major religious and wisdom traditions.

Then we have Glenn Greenwald next Tuesday:

Endless War, Radical Presidential Power, and a Rotted Political Culture
by Glenn Greenwald

March 5 (Tuesday) 2013 at 5:30pm

Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

Glenn Greenwald will be speaking at Hampshire College about the U.S.’s “Endless War, Radical Presidential Power, And A Rotted Political Culture.” Greenwald was a constitutional lawyer, and is now a columnist for the Guardian and a best-selling author who writes critically and powerfully about the war on terror, national security, the expansion of executive power, and other pressing political issues. He has published several books on us politics; his most recent book is With Liberty And Justice For Some: How The Law Is Used To Destroy Equality And Protect The Powerful. Greenwald was named by the Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He has won numerous awards for his investigative journalism.

After a brief talk, he will participate in a roundtable conversation with moderator Falguni A. Sheth, Professor of Philosophy and Political Theory at Hampshire College.  The event will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm, in the Main Lecture Hall in Franklin Patterson Hall, Hampshire College.  It is open to the public, and members of the community are warmly invited to attend.

And next Thursday, March 7th, we have our next Science and Religion Lecture:

Spinoza's God (or Nature)
by Dr. Steven Nadler

Thursday, March 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall

In 1656, the young Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish community with extreme prejudice; by the end of his short life he was regarded as one of the most radical and dangerous thinkers of his time. Among his alleged "abominable heresies" was, according to one contemporary report, the belief that "God exists only philosophically." In this lecture, we will examine Spinoza's conception of God, whereby God is identified with Nature, and address the question of whether he is, as is so often claimed, a "God intoxicated" pantheist or a devious atheist, as well as the implications of this for his views on religion.

Speaker bio:
Professor Nadler is William H. Hay Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on philosophy in the seventeenth century, particularly issues in metaphysics and epistemology, as well as conceptions of reason and happiness. He has written extensively on Descartes and Cartesianism, Spinoza, and Leibniz. He also works on medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy. His two most recent books are a collection of his papers, Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians (Oxford, 2011); and A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Scandalous Treatise and the Birth of the Secular Age (Princeton, 2011). His new book, The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes, will be published by Princeton in spring 2013. He is currently the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy.


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