Green Bay Area

Philosophers’ Café

2018-2019 Schedule

Wednesday, September 19: In Defense of Anger

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Ryan Martin (Human Development / Psychology)

Anger gets a bad rap sometimes. People often see it as inherently problematic and most conversations about anger are about how not to feel it.  Sure it can get us into trouble, damage relationships, and even be scary at times, but anger is a healthy and powerful force in our lives.  We'll talk about why we get mad, and how to listen to that anger and how to use it ways that are positive and pro social.

Wednesday, October 10: What is Human Dignity?

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p Aardvark Wine Lounge
  • Moderator: Derek Jeffreys (Humanities/Philosophy)

Lawyers, politicians, theologians and philosophers often say that human beings possess dignity.  However, what exactly is dignity?  Why do people have it?  How do we know that people possess dignity?  Drawing on his recent book on American jails and dignity, Professor Derek S. Jeffreys will discuss the nature of human dignity and why it remains an important ethical concept. 

Wednesday, November 14:  Negotiating Human Animals and Non-Human Animals

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p Aardvark Wine Lounge
  • Moderator: Sarah Schuetze (Humanities/English, Animal Studies) and Joey Prestley

Why have some animals come to be seen as deserving love, protection, rescue, and defense, while others are considered goods, pests, and trophies?  Prof. Sarah Schuetze's and Joey Prestley (UWGB Senior) will be leading a discussion exploring the ways human animals negotiate and define the limits between themselves and nonhuman animals. We'll explore what influences human animals’ opinions about nonhuman animals and the problems with using “human” standards for determining nonhuman animals’ rights.

Wednesday, December 12: Forgiving Murderers: Hope on this side of the grave?

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan's Inn
  • Moderator: Esther Meeks (Marquette Philosophy)

In an S.S. camp during WWII, Simon Wiesenthal was unexpectedly summoned to the bedside of a dying S.S. officer, who confessed a particularly disturbing act against a family of Jewish people, and asked Wiesenthal if he might forgive him. Wiesenthal left the room in silence, unsure if he could or should offer forgiveness. But his situation beckons each of us to ask the same questions that haunted Wiesenthal himself throughout the rest of his time in the camps: can murderers be forgiven? What is the function of forgiveness? Why do we forgive? Is it ever wrong to forgive? What is forgiveness? Looking at Wiesenthal’s example, and the examples of the relationships between a few victims and perpetrators after the Northern Irish Troubles, we will explore our own intuitions around the potential benefits and harms of forgiving or not forgiving for victims, offenders, and communities.

Wednesday, February 13: “Cultivate our Garden”: Contemporizing Candide

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan's Inn
  • Moderator: Rebecca Nesvet (Humanities/English)

Voltaire ends his brief, satirical novel Candide with the title character retreating from the world to “cultivate [his] garden,” which one recent book reviewer considered not just a literal garden, but “the better place we build by love.” In present-day America, what kinds of cultivation would fulfill Voltaire’s injunction, and was he right? No previous knowledge of Candide necessary—we’ll discuss a few extracts.

Wednesday,March 13: “Language as a means for identity construction”

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan's Inn
  • Moderator: Lorena Sainz-Maza Lecanda (Humanities/Spanish)

Do people manipulate their use of language to attain membership to a given community or, alternatively, to seek their way out of it? In what ways do language ideologies influence the social and linguistic practices that help build individuals’ cultural and ethnic identities? In this conversation, we explore the social meaning of language and the role that linguistic practices and perceptions play in the family, the community and the work environment. Participants in this Philosopher's Cafe will be invited to reflect on their own use of language and its impact on their sense of identity and belonging to a community.

Wednesday, April 10: Road Trip! Finding Democracy and the American Dream on the Road

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan's Inn
  • Moderator: Eric J. Morgan (Democracy and Justice Studies)

Throughout the nation’s history Americans have always loved to be on the move, embracing a pioneering spirit that is embedded deep within the country’s democratic ideals of opportunity and expansion, of dreams and reinvention.  With the widespread availability of cars and the establishment of a vast highway system by the mid-20th century, many Americans had more opportunities than ever before to explore their nation and to reinvent themselves, taking untraveled roads to seek out their own American dreams.  Why has the road mattered so much to Americans as they have sought to find and define themselves amidst eras of expansion, depression, war, turbulence, and peace?  Bring along your favorite road trip novel, film, song, or, best of all, personal road trip memory.

Wednesday, May 8:  What is Grief in A Death-Avoidant Society? A Philosophical/Death Cafe

  • Location: 7:00p-8:30p St. Brendan's Inn
  • Moderator: Illene Cupit (Human Development/Psychology, Death and Bereavement)

The seventeenth-century philosopher La Rouchefoucauld claimed that one can no more look steadily at death than he can the sun.  And yet, people do die, and people grieve.  Join us for a discussion with Illene Cupit, a professor of human development and psychology at UWGB and a scholar in the emerging filed of “Thanatology,” the study of death and dying.  Is grief a universal phenomenon? Is it necessary to grieve, and if so, is it preferable to get psycho pharmaceutical or psychotherapeutic help?  These are some of the issues to be discussed in this Philosophers’ Café (or “Death Café”).