Dunbar Lectures

Current Lecture

Monday, February 27, 2017, 7pm

"Can the Evolution of Consciousness Be Explained Without God? - Challenges Facing Naturalism"

Charles Taliaferro
Chair and Professor of Philosophy
St. Olaf College

Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, Room 215
 Reception following

A comprehensive account of the cosmos needs to take seriously the very existence of a law governed contingent cosmos in which stars and planets emerge, but also the emergence of life and beings with consciousness and sentience, free will, rationality, and moral and religious values. This talk will focus on the ways in which prominent naturalists (such as Daniel Dennett and John Searle) have sought to explain or explain away consciousness and its multi-dimensions (our thinking, freedom, reasoning, and values). Naturalists face a dilemma of either denying the existence of consciousness and its dimensions or accounting for how consciousness can reasonably be held to emerge from non-conscious, non-purposive, impersonal forces. Theism, it will be argued, is in a better position to account for consciousness and even the problem of evil than secular naturalism.



Robert BergmarkInstituted by Jack F. and Wylene Dunbar in honor of Robert E. Bergmark, beloved Millsaps philosophy professor, colleague, scholar, and civil rights advocate. 


Past Lectures

2016 Carol Cleland (U. of Colorado-Boulder), "Searching for Alien Life: Will We Recognize It If We Find It?"

2015 Nicole A. Vincent (Georgia State U.), "NEUROENHANCEMENT- Blessing or Curse?"

2014 Colin McGinn (U. of Miami), "The Good Life as Thinking Well"

2013 Dr. Tamar Gendler (Yale U.), “The Costs of Unintentional Racial Bias”

2012 John Bickle (Mississippi State U.), "How to Super-Charge a Brain: Manipulating Brain Genes and Proteins to Enhance Memory - What It Means and Where It's Going"

2011 Karsten Harries (Yale U.), "Zips and Slashes: Should Moral Considerations Figure in Judging Art?"

2010 George R. Lucas, Jr. (U. S. Naval Academy), "New Rules for New Wars: Military Ethics and Irregular Warfare"

2009 Pheng Cheah (U. of California-Berkeley), "Necessary Strangers: Law's Hospitality in the Age of Global Migration"

2008 Michael Ruse (Florida State U.), "Can Evolution Explain Morality? Or Is It Dog Eat Dog All the Way Down?"

2007 James P. Sterba (U. of Notre Dame), "Why Everyone Should Agree that Economic Inequality is Unjustifiable"

2006 Lucius Outlaw, Jr. (Vanderbilt U.), "Education, Academic Philosophy, and the Strategic Production of Ignorance"

2005 Eleonore Stump (St. Louis U.), "The Problem of Suffering: Samson and Self-Destroying Evil"

2004 Paul Churchland (U. of California-San Diego), "Impossible Colors: How Objective Brain Science Really Can Explain Subjective Human Experience"

2002 Robert Bernasconi (U. of Memphis), "When Race Was Everything: A Philosopher Looks at 19th Century Anthropology"

2000 Martha Nussbaum (U. of Chicago), "Secret Sewers of Vice: Disgust, Bodies, and the Law"

1998 Robert C. Solomon (U. of Texas-Austin), "Nietzsche and the Passionate Life"

1996 Hilde Hein (College of the Holy Cross), "The Absent Mind: Toward a Feminist Aesthetic"

1995 Tom Regan (North Carolina State U.), "Patterns of Resistance: The Struggle for Freedom and Equality in America"

1994 Charles Scott (Pennsylvania State U.), "What Paris is Doing to Us"

1993 Ralph A. Smith (U. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), "Once More: The Traditional Humanistic Ideal of Education"

1992 Richard T. DeGeorge (Kansas U.), "Modern Science, Environmental Ethics, and the Anthropocentric Predicament"

1991 Hilary Putnam (Harvard U.), "Ultimate Questions"

1990 Alison Jaggar (U. of Cincinnati), "How Can Ethics Be Feminist?"

1989 John E. Smith (Yale U.), "Recovering the Value Dimension in Education"

1988 Robert E. Bergmark (Millsaps College), "Knowledge, Belief, and Commitment" in four installments:
"What Can We Know?" "What May We Reasonably Believe?" "How Ought We Reasonably to Live?" "What May We Reasonably Hope?"