Month: March 2017

April 11th, 2017. The Public Discourse Project Seminar: Ufuk Topkara (H&C Fellow, University of Paderborn)

Title: Wounded certainty: Is God dead or can we break through the barriers between theology and philosophy in Islam?

Time & Place: 4-5:30pm, Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209.

Abstract: Modern times have witnessed a severing of the linkages between scientific knowledge and Islamic theology, not least of all in the lived public sphere. A misperception or rather misconception of this severing as a “natural” divorce has been further promulgated.

This presentation will instead elaborate how a religious tradition can learn and grow through the challenges posed by philosophical reasoning, compelled to search for meaning of, and humility within, the human experience. By elucidating not only similarities but the actual integration of key philosophical ideas into the “mainstream” Islamic, one can encourage a rethinking of the widespread assumption that these traditions should be in conflict. At the end, these inquiries can introduce a new paradigm to Islamic-Philosophical Theology debates, in which the human subject—his/her shortcomings, hopes and anxieties—takes center stage.

‘Intellectual humility’ could be key to becoming a better person, scientists say | Andrew Griffin at the Independent

The study is rare in looking at the ‘wallflower among personality traits’

“Showing “intellectual humility” – recognising that you might be wrong about what you believe – is a reliable marker of how good people are at making choices and understanding, according to a new study.

The personality trait is little studied but doing so could shed light on how people make decisions in politics, health and other arenas, according to the researchers from Duke University.”

Read the full article by Andrew Griffin here at the Independent.


Talk by John Duffy (Notre Dame). Radical Humilities: Post-Truth, Ethics, and the Teaching of Writing

April 7, 12:00-1:30 PM

Student Union 330 (Student Union Ballroom) Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing


The notion of “post-truth,” declared by the editors of Oxford Dictionaries as the 2016 international word of the year and “one of the defining words of our time,” speaks to the social and cultural trends in which there is no widely shared agreement as to the nature of a fact, or what counts as factual evidence, or how to interpret what evidence may be presented. The result is a polarized public discourse in which the meaning of such terms as truthfulness, accountability, open-mindedness, and intellectual integrity seem increasingly out of reach.

In his talk, John Duffy of the University of Notre Dame explores what it means to be an ethical writer in an age of “post-truth” and the indispensable role of of teachers of writing in addressing the fractured condition of public argument in the United States

TED 2017. Michael P. Lynch Director of the Humanities Institute and Philosopher. Wednesday, April 26.

TED 2017

TED2017: A week to explore the most pressing questions of our time. In these mainstage sessions (including one in Spanish) we’ll ask – and try to answer – the big questions of the moment.

Wednesday, April 26

8:30AM – 10:15AM PDT

See Complete program

Michael Patrick Lynch examines truth, democracy, public discourse and the ethics of technology in the age of big data.

Michael Patrick Lynch is a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the Humanities Institute. His work concerns truth, democracy, public discourse and the ethics of technology. Lynch is the author or editor of seven books, including The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data, In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for Democracy, Truth as One and Many and the New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s pick, True to Life.

The recipient of the Medal for Research Excellence from the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he is The Principal Investigator for Humility & Conviction in Public Life, a $7 million project aimed at understanding and encouraging meaningful public discourse funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the University of Connecticut. He’s a frequent contributor to the New York Times “The Stone” blog.


March 28th, 2017. The Public Discourse Project Seminar: Robert Ingram (Ohio University)

Reformation Without End: Religion, Politics and the Past, Then and Now.
This talk considers polemical divinity in Enlightenment England and its potential relevance for public debate today. The talk explains why we should think of the English Enlightenment not as the first chapter in the story of secular modernity but rather as a late chapter in the story of the Reformation. In addition, it considers how conceiving of England’s Enlightenment in that way might help us to think differently about public discourse today.
Babbidge Library, 4th Floor, Room 4/209