Schedule for the Winter Spring 2008 Season:
JANUARY 22, 2008: Existentialism & the Radical Character of Human Freedom.
Rod Stewart, Professor of Philosophy, Austin College
This talk will suggest that a focal (if not the focal) idea of existentialist thinkers and artists is that of radical freedom, understood as a situated, criterionless choice. This idea will be fleshed out by a look at what Kierkegaard called the “stages” on life’s way, at Nietzsche’s analysis of Western nihilism, and finally at Sartre and de Beauvoir’s ideas of radical freedom, inauthenticity and bad faith. A concluding section will look briefly at some of the internal and external criticisms of existentialist accounts of freedom.
FEBRUARY 12, 2008: The Fiction of Ultimate Reality.
Robert J. Berman, retired;
Lecturer at California University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Arlington and Richland College;
Emeritus member of the Board of Directors, Dallas Philosopher's Forum
The question is, “Why do I reject the most basic concept in philosophy going back to the pre-Socratic philosophers?” We will examine in a phenomenological descriptive analysis the two basic Weltenschauungs that came out of that period and continued throughout the perennial philosophy until Kant attempted to synthesize the two views and reconcile their differences. Since the 19th century and beginnings of the 20th century philosophy was no longer attempting to be closed systems and thus require such concepts as "ultimate realities". Nevertheless, most philosophers, professional or laymen, still hold on to such concepts, while philosophy itself went on to non-systematic musings. Metaphysics was given up as too subjective and fantastical and the new philosophies of existential phenomenology, pragmatism, logical positivism and analytic philosophy either did ontological studies or left reality up to the scientists and merely prepared the language or logic in which philosophy was to operate. I will then present to you from 12 years of research, study, and thinking my own ontological concept of "reality" which is the cornerstone of my own "new philosophy". In fact I am unaware of any really new philosophical world views since the 1940's unless you count post-modernism and deconstruction. I cannot give my entire thinking on the subject in such a short time, but will mention some of the fields of experience and theories that influenced my thinking as well the various fields of knowledge that are encompassed in producing this unique world view including ideas from psychology, gestalt and existential-phenomenology, the interdisciplinary fields of evolutionary psychology, socio-biology, neo-Darwinism, emergence theory, systems analysis and the scientific theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, laws of thermodynamics, chaos and complexity. This is my "baby" and it is the first public pronouncement of this philosophy. It is not finished and never will be because it is the very nature of my method of philosophizing to always be open and eagerly await the new to correct, add to and reevaluate my thinking.
NOTE: The rest of the Winter Spring 2008 schedule will be posted here by early February.
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