“Preferring to Go On” by Meghan Sullivan (Jan 22)

In my talk, I will identify some structural parallels between preferences that we form about prolonging our natural lives and preferences that we form about whether we hope to have an afterlife. I’ll argue that the two cases (taken as cases of forming rational preferences) are similar in ways which are often overlooked. I’ll then consider some norms that rational agents might follow in adopting preferences about “going on” more broadly conceived. I’ll argue both sets of “going on” preferences (life extension and afterlife) are preferences that can be guided by rational deliberation. And I’ll argue for a particular principle for forming these preferences.

Philosophy Seminar Series
Date: Thursday, 22 Jan 2015
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: AS3 #05-23
Speaker: Meghan Sullivan, University of Notre Dame
Moderator: Dr. Qu Hsueh Ming

About the Speaker:

Picture1Meghan Sullivan is the Rev John A O’Brien Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.  She specializes in metaphysics and topics where it overlaps with semantics, logic, epistemology and practical reason.  She’s currently on leave writing a series of papers on issues at the intersection of the metaphysics of time and diachronic rationality, supported by grants from the University of Sydney and UC Riverside.  Meghan holds a PhD from Rutgers University and a B.Phil from Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

“Medicalization, ‘Normal Function’, and the Definition of Health” by Rebecca Kukla (Sep 9)

The concept of health is surprisingly difficult to define in a rigorous and satisfying way. I argue that biologically based ‘normal function’ accounts and thoroughgoing social constructionist accounts of health are both deeply unsatisfying, particularly if we want the concept of health to play a substantial role in policy and social justice projects. I propose what I call an ‘institutional’ definition of health, and argue that it retains the objectivity that is appealing in biological accounts, along with the social constructionists’ important insight that health and disease are partially constituted by social context and by contingent, historical processes of medicalization.

Philosophy Department Seminar
Date: Tuesday, 9 Sep 2014
Time: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Venue: AS3 #05-23
Speaker: Rebecca Kukla, Georgetown University
Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong

About the Speaker:

20110112 Rebecca Kukla_0002Rebecca Kukla is Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University.  Her research interests include social epistemology (including the epistemology and methodology of medical research), philosophy of language, feminist philosophy, metaethics, reproductive ethics and the culture of pregnancy and motherhood, and research ethics. Much of her research bridges ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of language. She also has serious interests in eighteenth century philosophy, especially the work of Rousseau and Kant. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996.  Her publications include R.Kukla and M. Lance, ‘Yo!’ and ‘Lo!’:  The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons (Cambridge:  Harvard University Press 2009)