Take a Virtual Campus Tour Schedule a Visit Request Info

Midwest Philosophy Colloquium

Every year the UMM Philosophy Discipline hosts the Midwest Philosophy Colloquium, where distinguished speakers come to campus and give talks on topics of general interest. Previous colloquium speakers have included Donald Davidson, Saul Kripke, Fred Dretske, J.L. Mackie, Gilbert Harman, David Gauthier, Keith Donnellan, Kurt Baier, Alvin Goldman, David Kaplan, Paul Benacerraf, Keith Lehrer, Jonathan Bennett, John Searle, Robert Solomon, Phillipa Foot, Eleanor Stump, Fred Feldman, Nancy Cartwright, Gary Watson, Michael Bratman, Stephen Stich, and many others.

39th Annual Midwest Philosophy Colloquium

Theme: Free Will and Moral Responsibility

Speakers

Ish Haji
Ish Haji
  • “Obligation and Luck”
Details
Abstract

I argue that obligation is often subject to luck because obligation requires that we could have refrained from doing what we did, and frequently we could not have refrained from acting as we did—we could not have done otherwise—owing to luck. If obligation succumbs to luck in this way, we should be much more cautious about our judgments concerning right and wrong. Contrary to what we may initially believe, perhaps a person failed to do anything that it was right, or wrong, or obligatory for her to do since, due to luck, she could not have done otherwise.

About the Speaker

Ishtiyaque Haji, formerly professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota Morris, is now professor of philosophy at the University of Calgary. His areas of research include ethical theory, philosophical psychology, and the metaphysics of free will. He is the author of Moral Appraisability (1998), Deontic Morality and Control (2002), Moral Responsibility, Authenticity, and Education (2008) (with Stefaan Cuypers), Freedom and Value (2009), Incompatibilism's Allure (2009), and Reason's Debt to Freedom (2012). He is also co-editor (with Justin Caouette) of Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2013).


Michael McKenna
Michael McKenna
  • “How Free Are We? A Compatibilist's View”
Details
Abstract

How should we understand human agency in the world in light of the prospect that human beings are simply part of the natural causal order? Is free will possible, or does it require that persons are in some way special or distinct from the natural processes situating the rest of our world? I argue for the thesis of compatibilism according to which free will is still possible even under the assumption of naturalism. Moreover, and as a result, persons can still be regarded as morally responsible for what they do, as beings with dignity or worth, and as creatures whose lives can have meaning.

About the Speaker

Michael McKenna is professor and Keith Lehrer Chair of philosophy at University of Arizona. He is the author the Conversation and Responsibility (2012), along with numerous articles on free will and moral responsibility.


Past Colloquia