Summers Lecture

Current Lecture

Against Autonomy -
Why We Shouldn't Always Have Freedom

Tuesday, February 26
7:00 p.m.

Sarah Conly, Chair of Philosophy, Bowdoin College

Sometimes we make terrible decisions about our own future. This means that we often need help, and that getting that help means we have to give up the freedom to make some personal decisions. When is giving up that freedom a good idea, and when isn’t it?

Sarah Conly is the author of "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism" (Cambridge University Press 2013) and "One Child: Do We Have a Right to More?" (Oxford University Press, 2016) and has published in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. She received her bachelor's degree from Princeton University and her PhD from Cornell University. She is currently chair of the philosophy department at Bowdoin College.



The Summers Lectures bring to the Millsaps campus persons who have gained national recognition for their perspectives on theological and social issues of today. Enriched by seminars and forum discussions, the lectures are intended to stimulate dialogue among persons of all faiths.

Established in 1979 by the Reverend Lemuel C. Summers, the lecture series is directed to ministers and laypersons in the church and to the general public. There is no admission charge for the lectures.

The annual series, planned by the Department of Religious Studies at Millsaps and the Center for Ministry, is supplemented by the Reiff-Lewis Endowed Seminar Fund, in honor of emeriti religion professors Dr. Lee Reiff and Dr. T. W. Lewis. The fund provides supple­mental support for the lectures through leadership training and response groups.

The entire program offers sufficient contact hours to qualify for 1/2 Continuing Education Unit (CEU). Certification is issued through the Center for Ministry.


Past Lectures

2017 Charles Taliaferro (St. Olaf College), "Can the Evolution of Consciousness Be Explained Without God? - Challenges Facing Naturalism"

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?"