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Department of Philosophy


The Department is active in sponsoring and hosting events for our students, faculty, and the public.  All are invited to publicly advertised events.  Past events can be seen via the links in the menu.



Agnes Callard (University of Chicago) 

What is Free Conversation?
April 22, 3:30pm, Room 008, Close-Hipp
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The right to free speech, if understood as a negative right against governmental interference, is predicated on some positive understanding of the value of that which is not to be interfered with.  If the government shouldn't place restrictions on what kinds of conversations can take place, and on what kinds of information can flow into them, this must be because we positively value the free operation of those conversations.  The right to free speech presupposes the value of free conversation.  But what is free conversation?  I will consider a few standard proposals (debate, the marketplace of ideas, persuasion) before offering a Socratic alternative: free conversation is refutation.

The following colloquium has been postponed, it will be rescheduled to Fall of 2022.

Rachel Barney (University of Toronto)

The Ethics and Politics of Plato's "Noble Lie"
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The Noble Lie proposed by Plato for the Just City in Republic III has been much misunderstood. Its agenda is twofold: to get the citizens of the City to see their society as a natural entity, with themselves as all ‘family' and akin; and to get the Guardians in particular to make class mobility, on which the justice of the City depends, a top priority. Since the second is taken to depend on the first, the Lie passage amounts to an argument (1) that the survival of a just community depends on the existence of social solidarity between elite and mass, which allows for full class mobility and genuine meritocracy; (2) that this solidarity in turn depends on an ideology of natural unity; and (3) that such ideologies are always false. So the Lie really is a lie, but a necessary one; as such it poses an awkward ethical problem for Plato and, if he is right, for our own societies as well.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.