Skip to main content
Department of Philosophy

Visiting Speakers

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.


“After Arendt: The Stakes of Narrative in the Age of Big Data”

Speaker: Dr. Ewa Ziarek, Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature, affiliate faculty of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Founding Director of Humanities Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 3rd, 3:00-5:00pm.

Location: ILC212, International Living/Learning Centre

Abstract: What is the role of Arendt’s underdeveloped notions of narrative and storytelling in her more well-known politics of natality characterized by its three main features: the disclosure of uniqueness, human plurality, and the possibility of a new beginning created through action? Are the narrative and the politics of natality increasingly suppressed, or rendered irrelevant, in our increasingly global contemporary political regime governed by big data, algorithmic decision-making, and predictive analytics? In the context of these questions I will reconsider the stakes of the long-standing conflict between narrative and data.

CANCELLED: “Self Knowledge: Mind and Character”

Speaker: Dr. Rockney Jacobsen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 17th, 3:00-5:00pm

Location: ILC 226, International Living/Learning Centre

Abstract: An analogy between character traits and mental states is frequently deployed to create conflict between (i) the contemporary views about the nature of mental states and (ii) the idea that we each have a distinctively first-personal way of knowing our own minds.  Responses to the analogy have either called for a revision of views about the nature of mental states, or have significantly qualified claims about our ability to know them.  I will argue that the conflict posed by the analogy between character and mind disappears when we replace our view of self-knowledge as an epistemological accomplishment with a view of it as a capacity for self-expression. 



Previous Visiting Speakers (with Videos of Some Presentations)

  • "The Role of Order in Kant’s Justification of Morality”, ​Dr. Timothy Rosenkoetter (Philosophy, Dartmouth College), Tuesday, November 26th, 3:00-5:00. [Video]
  • "Where the Living Live: New Questions for Phenomenology and Religion", Dr. Karl Hefty (Theology, St. Paul's University), Tuesday, November 12th, 3;00-5:00, [Video]
  • “Wampum Diplomacy in the Early and Middle Encounter Period”, Dr. Douglas Sanderson (Faculty of Law, University of Toronto), Tuesday, October 22nd, 3:00-5:00pm.




  • Tuesday, March 26th, 3:00-5:00pm, Dr. Margrit Shildrick (Stockholm), “Rethinking the Temporality and Imaginaries of Death - Some Philosophical Considerations.” [Video]
  • Tuesday, March 5th, 3:00-5:00pm, Dr. Jeff Noonan (Windsor), “Notes Towards a Humanism from Below.” [Video]
  • Tuesday, February 26th, 3:00-5:00pm, Dr. Charles Goodman (Binghamton), “The Unfolding of Empiricism in India.” [Video]
  • Tuesday, November 20th, 3:00-5:00pm: Dr. Rohit Dalvi (Brock), "Against Understanding, Or How to Refuse 'Planetary Thinking'."
  • Tuesday, October 2nd, 3:00-5:00pm: Dr. William Clare Roberts (McGill), "Marx's Politics of Freedom".
  • Tuesday, September 25th, 3:00-5:00pm: Dr. Eric Sanday (Kentucky), "Myth and Concept in Ancient Greek Philosophy." [Video]
  • Tuesday, April 18th, 3:30-5:00, Dominic Martin (Université du Québec à Montréal), “Artificial Intelligence and Moral Decision-Making.”
  • Tuesday, April 10th, 3:30-5:00, David Barnett (Toronto), "Higher-Order Evidence is the Wrong Kind of Reason."
  • Tuesday, November 21st, 3:00-5:00, Wolfram Gobsch (University of Leipzig, Germany): "Kant’s Theory of Radical Evil".
  • Friday, November 17th, 11:00am-1:00pm, Eli Diamond (Department of Classics, Dalhousie): “Goodness, Beauty, and the Tragedy of Language: How to Read Agathon’s Speech in Plato’s Symposium”. [VIDEO]
  • Tuesday, October 17th, 3:00-5:00pm: Catherine Chalier (Universite Paris Nanterre): "The Invisible in Secular Society: Emmanuel Levinas".
  • Friday, October 13th, 3:00-5:00pm: Kelly Oliver (Vanderbilt) "Detaining Refugees: Deconstructing Carceral Humanitarianism”.  [VIDEO-Part 1] [VIDEO-Part 2]


  • Peter van Inwagen (Notre Dame / Duke): "What Are We Talking about When We Talk about Free Will?", Friday, April 28th, 2017.
  • Gabriel Citron (University of Toronto): " ‘The Problem of Life’: Wittgenstein on the Difficulty of Honest Happiness", Wednesday, March 15th, 2017.
  • Tom Spector (Oklahoma State): "When the Better it is, the Worse it is: On Architecture and Moral Agency", Tuesday, March 7th, 2017. [VIDEO]
  • Graeme Nicholson (Toronto): "The Essence of Truth", Tuesday, Feb 28th, 2017. [VIDEO]
  • Joel Michael Reynolds (Emory University): "The Future of Bioethics: Ableism and the Life Worth Living", Tuesday, Feb 7th, 2017. [VIDEO]
  • Timothy Stock (Salisbury): "(A Very) Weak Martyrdom: The Comic as Public Philosophy", Tuesday, Jan 24th, 2017.
  • Rebecca Comay (Toronto) "'Our Heritage Was Left to us Without a Testament’ — or is it the Other Way Around?”, Tuesday November 15th, 2016.
  • Samantha Brennan (UWO), “Ethics and Our Early Years: Making Decisions for Children as if Childhood Really Mattered", Thursday November 10th, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Eric Marcus (Auburn), "Reconciling Practical Knowledge with Self-Deception", November 1st, 2016.
  • Matthias Fritsch (Concordia), "Do Gifts Obligate a Return? Indirect Reciprocity in Deconstruction and Intergenerational Economics", October 4th, 2016.


  • Jonathan Parry (Birmingham), "Consent and the Justification of Defensive Harm", March 24th, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern), "Experts and Peer Disagreement", March 22nd, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Kirsten Jacobson (Maine), “The Living Arena of Existential Health: Space, Autonomy, and Embodiment", March 15th, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Francisco Gonzalez (Ottawa), "The Other Plato: Heidegger's Reading of the Parmenides, the Phaedrus, and the Theatetus in the 1930s", February 9th, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Allen Patten (Princeton), "How to Justify Religious Accommodations: A Liberal Egalitarian Approach”, February 2nd, 2016. [VIDEO]
  • Frank Cunningham (University of Toronto), “Public Space and Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of Cities”, December 1st, 2015. [VIDEO]
  • Emily Carson (McGill), “The Mathematical Method from Leibniz to Kant”, November 24th, 2015.
  • Alia Al-Saji (McGill), “A Past that Lines the Present: Bergson, Merleau-Ponty and the Politics of the Past”, November 18th, 2015.
  • Daniel C. Russell (Arizona), “Putting Ideals in Their Place”, November 3rd, 2015. [VIDEO]

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