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Philosophy Talk at Lewis & Clark

“The Nature of Wilderness”

Featuring Jay Odenbaugh, associate professor of philosophy
Thursday, April 19, 2012, 7 p.m., Agnes Flanagan Chapel

Today we look to the wilderness as an escape, a beautiful and peaceful reprieve from the day-to-day activities of our busy lives. We think of wilderness as a fully natural environment that contrasts sharply with the designed and constructed environments in which we normally move. But does wilderness thus conceived really exist anymore? What is natural and what is artificial about wilderness? Should humans be understood as a part of nature or distinct from it? And how should we approach conservation efforts so that we balance the needs of a growing world population with the need to preserve some aspect of the wild in our lives?

This event is free and open to the general public. However:
  • We have reached seating capacity in the Chapel for online reservations as of 4 p.m., Friday, April 13.
  • Those who have registered online have now received tickets for admittance.  If you do not have a ticket, you will not be admitted to the Chapel. 
  • If you would like to register for the simulcast of Philosophy Talk in the Gregg Pavilion (adjacent to the Chapel), please complete the online registration here.


philosophytalk.orgPhilosophy Talk is radio that celebrates the value of the examined life. Each week, our two host philosophers invite you to join them in conversation on a wide variety of issues ranging from popular culture to our most deeply-held beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. Philosophy Talk challenges listeners to identify and question their assumptions and to think about things in new ways. We are dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiosity. Philosophy Talk is accessible, intellectually stimulating, and most of all, fun! Philosophy Talk is produced by Ben Manilla Productions, Inc. on behalf of Stanford University, as part of its Humanities Outreach Initiative.


taylor.orgKen Taylor is the current Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.  He is also director of Stanford’s interdisciplinary program in Symbolic Systems. His work lies at the intersection of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, with an occasional foray into the history of philosophy. He is the author of many books and articles, including Truth and Meaning, Reference and the Rational Mind, and the forthcoming Referring to the World.  He is hard at work on  his magnum opus book long in the making called  A Natural History of Normativity  in which he reduces all things normative to something merely natural.


perry.orgJohn Perry is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Riverside, and Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of many honors and awards, including the Nicod and Humboldt Prizes. A popular lecturer, in 1990 he was awarded the Dinkelspiel Award for undergraduate teaching. 

He is the author of over 100 articles and books, including A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness, and Reference and Reflexivity

He also has the internet’s most popular essay on procrastination.


odenbaughJay Odenbaugh, Associate Professor and Department Chair

“Philosophy in its best moments is about instilling intellectual accountability. As William James noted, ”˜a great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.’ To understand our beliefs and values is important not only for intellectual reasons but for deeply practical reasons. Beliefs and values have effects — some beneficial and some not. It thus is of profound importance to be responsible for one’s view of the world and my teaching is first and foremost an attempt to bring students to understand and respect that responsibility.”

I graduated with a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Calgary in 2001. My dissertation was on Searching for Patterns, Hunting for Causes: A Philosophical Examination of Mathematical Modeling in Theoretical Ecology. My research interests include Philosophy of Biology (especially ecology and evolution), Philosophy of Science, and Environmental Ethics. I have published articles in Philosophy of Science and Environmental Values.Besides philosophy, I enjoy reading about about art and art history, rock climbing, hiking, and cycling.


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