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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.

Please note that until further notice, all departmental colloquia will be held online.  Please use the email address listed for each talk to get details.



Aaron Meskin (University of Georgia) 

Toward a Third Place Aesthetics: The Experience of Cafes, Coffeeshops, Bars and Pubs
April 16th, 3:30, 2021, EST by Skype/Zoom
This annual lecture series seeks to bring Clemson and UofSC philosophy majors and minors together for philosophical inquiry and discussion. In the future, the lecture will trade locations between Clemson and Columbia and feature conversation and social time between majors, minors, and faculty of both departments, as well as with the visiting speaker.
email for details:
In his well-known work, The Great Good Place, the sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “the third place” to refer to “the core settings of informal public life." Among the third places he talks about are English pubs, French cafes, traditional main streets, and American taverns. You might also consider college town coffeeshops, gyms and, in certain contexts, libraries. 
Oldenburg discusses, at length, the personal benefits and social value of these third places—their contribution to the individual and greater good. But he does not substantively address the aesthetic dimension of these places and, hence, there is no discussion of how the aesthetic experiences and values we find there might contribute to our good or to the good of the society we inhabit.  
At the same time, philosophical aestheticians, under the heading of “everyday aesthetics”, have recently begun to address aesthetics outside the domain of art and nature. But they have not addressed the aesthetic dimension of third places.
In this paper, I offer a diagnosis of the neglect of third place aesthetics, a defense of its significance, and an account of some of the most important aesthetic values that are realized in third places.

Michael Wear  

The People Our Politics Needs: Christian Resources for a Healthier Politics
April 15th, 7:00, 2021, EST by Skype/Zoom
This is the Annual Rudy Barnes Sr. Symposium.
Register here for access.
How should Christians think about political participation, and what do they have to offer our politics as a whole? In this lecture, Michael Wear will argue that we have failed to take Christian ideas as seriously as the Christian account of reality requires when it comes to politics. He will address how Christians ought to think about politics, and how political participation which flows from such an understanding would improve our politics.
Michael Wear is a strategist, speaker, and practitioner at the intersection of faith, politics, and public life.  His first book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House about the Future of Faith in America, offers reflections, analysis and ideas about the role of faith in the Obama years and how it led to the Trump era.  Michael's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Christianity Today.  He is a senior fellow at The Trinity Forum and he holds an honorary position at the University of Birmingham's Cadbury Center for the Public Understanding of Religion.  Michael and his wife are both proud natives of Buffalo, New York, but currently reside in Northern Virginia, where they are raising their daughters, Saoirse and Ilaria.

The following colloquium has been postponed (due to COVID-19), still to be rescheduled.


Jeanette Bicknell (Independent Scholar) 

The 'Crack in the Voice' and Joe Turner's Blues
Great art has been created under conditions of immense suffering and
social injustice. What is less clear is how responsively and sensitively
to make sense of and appreciate such art. How do we acknowledge the
suffering that must have gone into making the art, while seeing the
creators as something other than victims of circumstance? How to make
sure that the feelings of pity or compassion we are likely to have for
those who have suffered injustice does not manifest itself in a
patronizing or condescending attitude to their work? I offer some
reflections on the challenge of appreciating African American music. My
central example is the song, "Joe Turner’s Blues."

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.