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2019-2020 Schedule

Wednesday, October 9: Should We Still Listen to Thriller?

  • Location: 7:00p at St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Professor Xan Bozzo (Philosophy and Humanities, UWGB)

What is the relationship between an artwork’s ethical value and its artistic value? Can works of art be worse because of their ethical flaws, or better because of their ethical merits? Can artworks even be the object of ethical evaluation in the first place — aren’t such judgments reserved for persons, actions, intentions? Such questions in the philosophy of art have re-emerged in recent years: What are we to do with the comedy of Bill Cosby or Louis C.K.? Should we still listen to Michael Jackson? We don’t have the answers — we’re hoping you might.

Wednesday, November 13: Good fences make good neighbors?

  • Location: 7:00p at St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Prof. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges (Dept. of Psychology, UWGB)

Although written in 1914, Robert Frost’s poem, Mending Wall, is a poem that remains relevant today. The poem is about two neighbors who meet on a walk along the wall that separates their properties and repair it where needed. The poem’s narrator questions the need for such a wall and their neighbor responds with the adage, “Good fences make good neighbors” and nothing more. We all have neighbors; we all know that walls eventually need repairing. Walls separate and keep people apart; walls deny right-of-passage and yet provide security. Some would argue that we need such barriers, the poem implies that walls are not that straightforward. We debate building a wall on a national scale, and see the increasing phenomenon of gated communities in our everyday residential life. Do “Good fences make good neighbors”? Please read Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall in preparation for this café.

Wednesday, December 11: Truth: facts, fallacies, and fakes

  • Location: 7:00p at St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Professor David Louzecky (Philosophy and Humanities, UWGB)

In the face of deep fakes, Russian trolls, and Cambridge Analytica, how do we find out what is true? More prosaically, in a society where psycho-manipulation for profit trumps evidence gathering for facts, how do we defend ourselves? How do we avoid the onslaught of statistical errors and ideological blindness? Beyond the practicalities, these questions introduce a fundamental philosophical problem of the nature and even the existence of truth itself. In the face of claims that truth is dead, and that we live in a post-truth world, this Café will strive to tackle the nature of truth and why it matters.

Wednesday, February 12: Racial Ethics

  • Location: 7:00p at St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Domonique Turnipseed (Marquette PhD student of Philosophy)

A student of philosophy, critical race theory, and black theology, Domonique Turnipseed recently moved from the deep South to (by some metrics) the most segregated city in America to pursue his PhD at Marquette University. Join us as he leads a conversation about the philosophy of race and ethnicity.

Wednesday, March 11: Climate Refugees

  • Location: 7:00p at St. Brendan’s Inn
  • Moderator: Prof. Elizabeth Wheat (Political Science & Public and Environmental Affairs, UWGB)

As the global climate is rapidly changing and the United Nations warns of greater risks yet to come, more people around the world are being forced to flee and are displaced from their homes due to environmental problems such as water shortages, food insecurity, flooding, and higher frequency of more severe environmental disasters. Existing international refugee laws do not protect people fleeing environmental crises like these, inviting the question of whether we should help and if so, how. We will discuss climate refugees, whether or not there is a moral imperative to provide assistance, and why the growing effects of climate change pose a concern.