Saturday, August 30, 2008

Robert Hass

Robert Hass is an award-winning UC Berkeley professor of English and former U.S. poet laureate. He has won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his latest book, "Time and Materials."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Charles Taylor: Keynote Lecture

Author and philosopher Charles Taylor is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Philosophy at McGill University. He obtained a B.A. in history from McGill (1952). A Rhodes Scholar, he pursued his studies in political science, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, where he obtained a B.A. (1955), an M.A. (1960) and a Ph.D. (1961).

Professor Taylor has taught in numerous institutions, including Northwestern, Berkeley, Stanford and Yale, Frankfurt University in Germany, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also held the Chichele Chair of Social and Political Theory at Oxford University. His research focuses, in particular, on modernity, pluralism, multiculturalism, the question of identity, and secularism. (Bio taken from CCAPRCD

The New School
New York, NY
May 4th, 2007

A Key Note Lecture by Philosopher Charles Taylor at the Secular Imaginaries Conference.

The New School for Social Research at the New School and the Center for Transcultural Studies, a Chicago-based scholarly network, jointly sponsored a conference on the work of Charles Taylor.

The conference focus was on Taylor's work in the last two decades, starting from Sources of the Self published in 1989 and reaching into the present with the forthcoming book, A Secular Age (2007) originating from his more recent Gifford Lectures.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Judith Butler

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1984. She is the author of Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (Columbia University Press, 1987), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex" (Routledge, 1993), The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (Stanford University Press, 1997), Excitable Speech (Routledge, 1997), Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (Columbia University Press, 2000), Hegemony, Contingency, Universality, with Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek, (Verso Press, 2000). In 2004, she published Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning with Verso Press which considered questions of war, representation, and ethics.That same year, The Judith Butler Reader appeared, edited by Sara Salih, with Blackwell Publishers. In 2004, collection of her essays on gender and sexuality, Undoing Gender, appeared with Routledge. Her most recent book, Giving an Account of Oneself, appeared with Fordham University Press (2005) and considers the relation between subject formation and ethical obligation, situating ethics in relation to critique and social theory. She is currently working on essays pertaining to Jewish Philosophy, focusing on pre- and post-Zionist criticisms of state violence, under contract with Columbia University Press. She is also working on a set of essays on current wars, focusing on the relation between violence, non-violence, sexual politics and allied forms of resistance. She hopes to write a small book on Kafka's parables in the future. She continues to write on contemporary politics, cultural and literary theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism, and sexual politics. (Bio taken from UCBerkeley)

Judith Butler, feminist philosopher lecturing about "Primo Levy for the Present"; narrative accounts, forgiveness, holocaust, Auschwitz, victims, execution, war, and crime, while asking the question: "What is to give an Account of Oneself?".

Donna Haraway

In terms of research, writing, and teaching, Donna Haraway is one of the most important practitioners in a field broadly defined as science studies. Having done an undergraduate degree at Colorado College with a major in Zoology and minors in Philosophy and English, she went on to complete her Ph.D. at Yale in Biology (but with an "interdisciplinary arrangement" with the Departments of Biology, Philosophy, and History of Science and Medicine). She began her teaching career at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, moved to Johns Hopkins, and joined the History of Consciousness Board at UC Santa Cruz in 1984. Once again defying traditionally defined departmental categorization, however, Professor Haraway holds associate memberships in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and Women's Studies.

Donna Haraway is a leading theorist of the relationships between people and machines, her work having incited debate in fields as varied as primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology. A cyborg, she explained in her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), is a "hybrid of machine and organism." It is a "fusion of the organic and the technical forged in particular, historical, cultural practices." "The Cyborg Manifesto," first published in 1985, is now taught in undergraduate classes at countless universities and has been reprinted or translated in numerous anthologies in North America, Japan, and Europe.


Donna Haraway, Avenali Lecture Fall 2003 - From Cyborgs to Companion Species: Dogs, People, and Technoculture
September 16, 2003, 10:59AM
Morrison Library

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Slavoj Žižek: Violence Interview

Slavoj Zizek is a professor at the Institute for Sociology, Ljubljana and at the European Graduate School EGS who uses popular culture to explain the theory of Jacques Lacan and the theory of Jacques Lacan to explain politics and popular culture. He was born in 1949 in Ljubljana, Slovenia where he lives to this day but he has lectured at universities around the world. He was analysed by Jacques Alain Miller, Jacques Lacan's son in law, and is probably the most successful and prolific post-Lacanian having published over fifty books including translations into a dozen languages. He is a leftist and, aside from Lacan he was strongly influenced by Marx, Hegel and Schelling. In temperament, he resembles a revolutionist more than a theoretician. He was politically active in Slovenia during the 80s, a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Slovenia in 1990; most of his works are moral and political rather than purely theoretical. He has considerable energy and charisma and is a spellbinding lecturer in the tradition of Lacan and Kojeve. (Click Here for Full Biography)


Monday, August 11, 2008

Cornel West on Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision."
Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than a half a million copies to date. In addition, West has published 16 other books and has edited 13 texts.
West earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. Martin Kilson, one of his professors there, describes West as "the most intellectually aggressive and highly cerebral student I have taught." After earning his Ph.D. at Princeton, he became a professor of religion and director of the Afro-American Studies program there. West has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.
In his last book Democracy Matters, West analyzes the arrested development of democracy both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. He argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, it must first recognize its own long history of imperialist corruption. His latest CD, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations is a collection of socially conscious music featuring collaborations with Prince, Outkast, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli. West also offers commentary weekly on The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI.
West was an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular Matrix movie trilogy and has served as its official spokesperson, as well as playing a recurring role in the final two films. (Information taken from

On Emerson: A Collection of Christopher Lydon's Discussions

Christopher Lydon speaks to biographer Bob Richardson, Cornell West and others on some things Emerson.

The Harold Bloom Tapes: Chris Lydon Interviews Bloom about Emerson

Christopher Lydon remarks that,

"In the summer of 2003, around the bicentennial of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birth, I spent an afternoon with the Sage of New Haven, Professor Harold Bloom of Yale, in conversation around the Sage of Concord. Bloom had been a critical figure in the revival of interest in Emerson, the “father of the American Religion,” Bloom has called him. But what also emerges here, with some gentle prodding from your humble interviewer, is that Bloom’s attachment to Emerson is vitally and intimately personal. Bloom discovered the power of the bond in what he says was the most severe depression of his life — a period in his mid-late thirties in the mid-late Sixties, when he read and reread Emerson’s essays and especially his journals, with the avidity for which Bloom is famous. What he discovered was that Emerson spoke with Bloom’s own inner voice, as “the god within,” he said. These conversations are, among other things, a lesson in how to take a magisterial writer to heart, as a contemporary and something more than a best friend." (Quote taken from Open Source)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Conversations with History: Stanley Cavell

On this episode on Conversations with History, Stanley Cavell, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Harvard University, joins UC Berkeley's Harry Kreisler to talk about his life as a philosopher and his passion for movies.

Stanley Cavell received his A.B. in music from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D., in philosophy, from Harvard. After teaching at Berkeley for six years, he returned to Harvard in 1963, where he became the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value. He became Professor Emeritus in 1997.
His major interests center on the intersection of the analytical tradition (especially the work of Austin and Wittgenstein) with moments of the Continental tradition (for example, Heidegger and Nietzsche); with American philosophy (especially Emerson and Thoreau); with the arts (for example, Shakespeare, film and opera); and with psychoanalysis.
Among his recent publications are: A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises; Philosophical Passages: Wittgenstein, Emerson, Austin, and Derrida; and two pieces for the London Review of Books: "Nothing Goes Without Saying", a discussion of the language of three Marx Brothers films, and "Time After Time." An investigation of several Hollywood melodramas from the 1930s and 1940s, entitled Contesting Tears: The Melodrama of the Unknown Woman, was published in 1997.
Professor Cavell is a recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and is a Past President of the American Philosophical Association.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Mirror and the Lamp

Achille-Etna MICHALLON Landscape with Philoctetes on the Island of Lemnos
Roundtable discussion with Paul Bloom, Margaret Browning, Bhismadev Chakrabarti, Paul Harris, and Alan Leslie.

Creative artists have always received inspiration both from the objective world and from cortical processes on both the right and left hemispheres of the brain that play an essential role in the formation of imaginative constructs. Mimesis, the means by which so called objective reality is mirrored, has traditionally been counter-posed to inspiration, in which images, words, and music are considered to be vestiges of neurophysiological processes. Recent advances in neuroscience have refined the distinction between imaginative process and the mimetic process. In particular, the concept of neuroplasticity has fostered an understanding of the ways in which the brain interacts with and is shaped by external stimuli. Relying on findings derived from a broad arena of psycho-biological studies of adults and children (including those with autism) that delve into concept and belief formation, theory of mind (the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others), memory and emotion, this multidisciplinary panel will focus on the building blocks of imaginative processes.

Click Here for Source Website

Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He is the author or editor of four books, including, most recently, Descarte's Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human. He is currently writing a book about pleasure.

Margaret Browning has recently argued in the Psychoanalytic Quarterly that the work of philosopher Susanne Langer provides a unique framework for combining scientific and artistic perspectives on the human mind. Dr. Browning received her doctorate at The University of Chicago from the interdisciplinary Committee on Human Development. After conducting research with premature infants as an Associate Attending, Scientific Staff, in the Department of Pediatrics at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, she has moved to the other end of the developmental trajectory and is currently engaged in health services research as a Health Science Specialist in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Bhismadev Chakrabarti is the Charles and Katharine Darwin Research Fellow at Darwin College, University of Cambridge. He holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of Delhi, India, and a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. His doctoral research with Simon Baron-Cohen focussed on genetic, neuroimaging and behavioural studies of emotion processing and empathy. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Autism Research Centre.

Paul Harris is a developmental psychologist with interests in the development of cognition, emotion and imagination. He has taught at the University of Lancaster, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the London School of Economics. In 1980, he moved to Oxford where he became Professor of Developmental Psychology and Fellow of St. John's College. In 1998, he was as elected as fellow of the British Academy. He currently teaches developmental psychology in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. His latest book is The Work of the Imagination.

Alan Leslie is Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Rutgers University, where he directs the Cognitive Development Laboratory. He was formerly Senior Scientist at the Medical Research Council's Cognitive Development Unit at the University of London. There he was a member of the team that discovered the "theory of mind" impairment in autism. He is interested in the basic design of the early cognitive system. In 2005 he gave the Kanizsa Memorial Lecture at the University of Trieste, Italy and in 2006 was the inaugural recipient of the Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Reawakening the American Soul

Called the "cradle of liberty," historic Faneuil Hall was the gathering place in the mid-1700s for the Sons of Liberty as they met to protest the arbitrary taxation policies of Great Britain. From these and subsequent meetings, protests were planned, including the Boston Tea Party, leading the way towards the ultimate liberation from British rule. Now, in our own time of crisis, with destructive forces taxing us once again, the bicentennial celebration of Emerson's birth calls for a new birth of freedom. It was Emerson's re-visioning of the founding principles of America, as voiced eloquently in his essays, lectures and poems, that sounded a clear, resonant and unifying note, tuning the disparate instruments and voices in his own time. This note has been heard by all the great American writers and poets down to the present."Reawakening the American Soul" is led by three prominent writers and scholars with this vision. Their collective works represent a major contribution to defining and reassessing what one of them has called the "American Soul." They are Professors Richard Geldard, Jacob Needleman and Robert Thurman.

Richard Geldard received his education at Bowdoin College, Middlebury College and his doctorate from Stanford University. He currently teaches at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in California and was Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University in New York. He is author of numerous books, including The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson; God in Concord; Remembering Heraclitus; and the Travelers' Key to Ancient Greece. Long a student of the philosophy of Emerson, Dr. Geldard has made the challenging and inspirational work of the Seer of Concord accessible once again to a new generation of readers. His vision of Emerson allows us to take part in the spiritual quest for self-recovery in a time when immensesocial and intellectual forces are arrayed against us. Geldard has shown us that indeed the examined life as described by Socrates and Plato is not only possible for us but also absolutely necessary.

Jacob Needleman is professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of many books, including A Little Book on Love, Time and The Soul, The Heart of Philosophy, Lost Christianity and The American Soul. In addition to his teaching and writing, he serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, philanthropy and business and has been featured on Bill Moyers' acclaimed PBS series A World of Ideas.

Robert Thurman was named as one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential People of 1997. He holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University in New York. After education at Philips Exeter and Harvard, he studied Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty years as a personal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has written both scholarly and popular books, and has lectured widely all over the world. His special interest is the exploration of the Indo-Tibetan philosophical and psychological traditions, with a view to their relevance to parallel currents of contemporary thought and science. One of his most recent books is entitled Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Real Happiness. In a passage particularly relevant to the Faneuil Hall Forum, Thurman wrote: "To finish building the free society dreamed of by Washington, Franklin and Jefferson, we must draw upon the resources of the enlightened imagination, which can be systematically developed by the spiritual sciences of India and Tibet. We have not yet tamed our own demons of racism, nationalism, sexism and materialism. We have not yet made peace with a land we took by force and have only partly paid for. We are a teeming conglomeration of people from different tribes who have yet to embrace fully the humanness in one another. And none of us can be free until all of us are free."

Debate: James Baldwin vs. William F. Buckley

Debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, October 26, 1965. Sponsored by the Cambridge Union Society, Cambridge University. The topic of the debate was "The American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro".

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Randy Pausch: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (The Last Lecture)

With equal parts humor and heart, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that moved an overflow crowd at the university — and went on to move audiences around the globe.
Randy died July 25 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47. Here is "The Last Lecture."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Noam Chomsky BBC Interview

Jacques Derrida at Oxford

Peter Singer on Hegel and Marx

Iris Murdoch on Philosophy and Literature

Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris

On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by RDFRS and filmed by Josh Timonen.

All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion - some positive, and some negative. In this conversation the group trades stories of the public's reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.



Noam Chomsky

An hour conversation with linguist, political activist, writer and professor at MIT Noam Chomsky. He talks about the crisis in the Middle East, language, and the incredible communicative power of the Internet. He also discusses his book "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance".

Harold Bloom

A conversation with renowned literary scholar and Sterling professor at Yale Harold Bloom about his book "Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine".

Harold Bloom

A conversation with professor Harold Bloom of Yale University about his book "Hamlet: Poem Unlimited". (starts 14:40)

Harold Bloom

Yale professor Harold Bloom on his love of literature and his book "How to Read and Why".

Harold Bloom

A conversation with scholar Harold Bloom, renowned literary critic and professor at Yale University, about his book on William Shakespeare called "Shakespeare The Invention of the Human", which was nominated for a National Book Award. It examines the plays of the Bard from a critical point of view and states that Shakespeare has invented the highest number of memorable characters of any author in literary history.

Harold Bloom

Yale professor and author Harold Bloom discusses his book "The Western Canon", and the increasing politicization of literary study.

Dan Dennett on Conciousness