Philosophy Symposiums & Roundtables

2023 Philosophy Symposia Series

Loss & Legacy: Living Forward While Looking Back

In this dynamic philosophy series we’ll look at what it means to be at the interface of loss and legacy.  We’ll ask two central meta-questions: “How do we think about grief?” and “How do we think about our ancestors?”

Each question could stand on its own.  But by considering them together, in the ways that we actually encounter them – not as separate events, but rather, as intimately connected and mutually informative experiences – our project recognizes the challenges (and skills) involved in navigating this unique space between the ways that we think about (and “handle”) loss and the ways that we think about (and “address”) legacy.

In addition, while there are many ways to approach these questions, we’ll conduct our examination through the lens of philosophy, offering a particular set of tools by which to consider loss and legacy – not as the set of tools but rather as a set that can take us to some different places than other tools might.

The series will consist of two main events (one in Spring and one in Fall) and two supplementary events, each of which will bring to the fore a note that is present but less dominant in the main gatherings.  The main events will be panel-style symposia featuring guest speakers and a facilitator.  The supplemental events will involve a film and community conversation.

All events in the series are free and open to the community.  Learn more below.

Spring 2023: How Do We Think About Grief?

How Do We Think About Grief?

In this first philosophy symposium in our 2023 Loss & Legacy series, we’ll look at grief and death through the lens of aesthetics, combining art, literature, history, culture and and science into a broad, unified philosophical and humanistic understanding.

Our symposium will feature guests scholars Krys Holmes, Tim Holmes & Ashby Kinch.  Facilitated by Merlin Student Scholar Fellow, Julianna Breit, the event will involve a combination of presentation, Q & A, and lively community conversation…all with a touch of theatrical, aesthetic flair.

Spring 2023: The Business of Death

The Business of Death

Despite the commonality, and frankly, inevitability, of death, its taboo nature does not lend itself well to emotional or practical preparation. Death is a topic that the media rarely touches – at least in terms of the day-to-day practicalities of death work. In this second event in our 2023 Loss & Legacy series, in the form of a film & community conversation, we’ll  be exploring some of the practicalities and “business” of death.  We’ll watch a documentary that lays bare this “mysterious” process and invites rich discussion about what goes into how to prepare ourselves and others, what roles people play & the impact of such work, and some of the broader social & philosophical considerations therein.  Our film & community conversation will be held in the evening in Reeder’s Alley Convention Center and facilitated by Merlin Student Scholar Fellow Julianna Breit.

Fall 2023: How Do We Think About Our Ancestors?

How Do We Think About Our Ancestors?

In Fall, and in keeping with the various festivals for the dead (e.g., Samhain, Day of the Dead, Remembrance Day (11/11), All Souls and All Saints), we’ll consider different kinds of ancestry and lineage, extending beyond just family ties, to include our teachers and predecessors in the arts we practice, in our professional lives, and in our nation or other groups and organizations of which we’re a part. As philosophers, we’ll consider what common/shared principles coherently underwrite and/or unify our understanding of these and ask how, based on this, might we think about and act toward all of our various ancestors appropriately.  In the process, we’ll consider what kinds of duties we might have to those in our past and how, especially with more “complex” predecessors, we might be able to acknowledge (and even honor) certain ancestors without endorsing all of their beliefs and actions, and without exalting them as moral exemplars.

Our symposium will be held in the evening on Thursday, October 19th at The Helena Avenue Theater and feature guests panelists (to be announced soon) and facilitator, David Nowakowski.

Fall 2023: Ancestors in Service

Ancestors in Service

In this final installment of our Loss & Legacy series we’ll reflect upon our military and the ways in which we think about ancestors in service, as prompted by the WW1 memorial film “They Shall Not Grow Old.” Our film & community conversation will be held on Thursday, November 2nd in the evening in Reeder’s Alley Convention Center and facilitated by community philosopher David Nowakowski.  Free and open to all members of the community. More details coming soon.


Want to learn more about some of our other philosophy-based community events & socials?  Click on the applicable link(s) below:

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