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Visiting Speaker Series

Every semester, our department invites several guest speakers to lecture on various topics. All lectures are free, and are open to all members of the community and to the general public. All talks will be delivered via Zoom.

Fall 2021 Talks

September 21st, 3:00-5:00pm.

Speaker: Prof. Georgi Gardiner, external link, opens in new window (University of Tennessee)

Title: "Trauma’s Trilemma: On Self-Deception, Distraction, and Self-Respect"

Abstract: Victims of trauma commonly fail to realise that trauma occurred. According to Warshaw’s I Never Called it Rape, for example, only 27% of acquaintance rape victims acknowledge the incident as rape. Frequently the realisation happens much later, or they describe something that clearly qualifies as rape without applying the label. This mental block is puzzling: The evidence is often significant and conclusive. The individuals possess the relevant concepts and cognitive abilities, yet they do not conclude they were raped.  This paper investigates that mental block. I argue existing explanations are inadequate. I instead present the block as, in some cases, a rational response to a normative quagmire. Trauma can create a trilemma between emotional exhaustion, violating self-regard, and self-deception. I investigate this trilemma. I argue that, since each horn constitutes a “misstep”, not realising you were raped can be the most reasonable route. My discussion highlights the power of attention and distraction for sustaining and justifying victims’ ignorance and I emphasise diachronic features about when and why the delayed realisation occurs. Finally, I raise questions about the ethics of accurately labelling other people’s traumatic experiences for them, and I shed light on unappreciated costs of the #MeToo movement and Catholic Church sex abuse revelations. These vast and valuable public reckonings drew sustained attention to sex crime, which impaired victims’ abilities to sustain self-protective ignorance.

Content note: This presentation discusses sexual violence, especially acquaintance rape, and investigates the process of delayed realisations about rape. 

November 23rd, 10am-12pm.

Speaker: Prof. Rauna Kuokkanen, external link, University of Lapland
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA

December 7th, 3:00-5:00pm.

Speaker: Prof. Dale Turner, external link, University of Toronto.
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA


Archive of Previous Visiting Speakers

  • Joan Tronto (Political Science, University of Minnesota), “Democracy and Care”, March 13, 2012.
  • John Lysaker (Emory University), “The Constellational Self: An Outline”, February 28, 2012.
  • John Hacker-Wright (University of Guelph), “Human Nature, Virtue, and Rationality”, February 7, 2012.
  • David Morris (Concordia University), “Sense, Development, and Passivity: Merleau-Ponty’s Transformations of Philosophy”, November 25, 2011.
  • Adrian Haddock (Stirling University), “Self-Consciousness and Rule-Following”, November 22, 2011.
  • John Turri (University of Waterloo), “Suberogatory Assertions”, October 18, 2011.
  • Bruce Gilbert (Bishop’s University), “Contradiction and the Fluidity of Life: Case Studies from Logic and Ethics”, September 27, 2011.
  • Sarah Stroud (McGill University), “They Can't Take That Away From Me: Restricting the Reach of Morality's Demands”, September 20, 2011.