Abstract: What, exactly, is a philosophy of life? Who needs it, and why? In this talk I answer these questions beginning with a story that happened 23 centuries ago, and which resulted in the articulation of one of the most influential philosophies of antiquity, Stoicism. That philosophy is experiencing a comeback in the 21st century, for the simple reasons that it resonates with fundamentals of the human condition, and that it works in practice. We will see how Stoicism can offer a compass to navigate life, to set priorities for what is important, to become better citizens of the world, and even to prepare ourselves for the most difficult test of our character: our own demise at the end of our life.
Abstract: It has been argued that members of oppressed groups break "feeling rules" when they express anger at injustice. For this reason philosopher Alison Jaggar and law professor Janine Young Kim refer to emotions such as anger as outlaw emotions and affective transgressions, respectively. But I think more can be said. I shall argue that rage at racial injustice not only breaks feeling rules but "racial rules"--- emotive, cognitive, and behavioral rules that enforce white superiority, entitlement, and respect. Such rule breaking threatens racial domination projects. This helps explain why some are resistant to and critical of rage--particularly the apt, motivational, and productive kinds--and why a person who has this rage is a resistant figure.
Abstract: Black Americans have made many arguments that racial injustices committed against them should be rectified. Two issues arise from these arguments - how should we understand what is it to rectify these injustices; and what can explain why these arguments have not been taken seriously in America? I argue two things. First, that rectificatory justice, a type of justice specifically designed to set unjust situations right, can explain what it is to rectify those injustices. Second, that how Black Americans are socially recognized affects their ability to receive rectificatory justice.
August 2018: The Department is happy to welcome John Torrey as a Provost's Faculty Fellow! John joins us from the University of Memphis. He specializes in African-American Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, and Applied Ethics. He will be teaching a topics class in African-American Philosophy in the Spring.
Back to Top