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The Scholl Lecture Series

The Scholl Lecture is an annual public talk supported by a generous gift from Thomas H. Scholl. Scholl graduated from Purdue in 1970 with a degree in philosophy and went on to a highly distinguished career as an entrepreneur and investor in the high-tech industry.

Is This God's Country? Religion and Democracy in America

Robert Audi (Notre Dame)
23 March 2023 

This talk opens with some indications of why many people consider America a religious nation and why most who do also view America as (at least until recent decades) a broadly Christian nation.  One question this view raises is what it means for a nation to be religious.  Another question is how a democracy abiding by our Constitution, which, in its first amendment, separates church and state, can adequately protect both freedom of religion, say to pray visibly in public schools, and (as some would put it) freedom from religion, say freedom from having the Pledge of Allegiance (which describes America as “under God”) serve as a normal part of certain school functions. A third question is how religious and non-religious citizens alike can function as “who they are” in civil society without creating conflicts that weaken us as a nation. No simple formula will be proposed as answering these questions, but there will be several ideas that can contribute to constructive discussion on controversial matters of widespread concern in America today.  Some of these are connected with the “culture wars,” and one aim of the talk is to contribute to resources for rational discussion of divisive moral issues.  

City of Idiots

Agnes Callard (University of Chicago)
14 October 2022

Attitudes of the Heart

Stephen Darwall (Yale)
10 October 2019

Blame, resentment, and guilt are much discussed by philosophers as paradigm instances of what P. F. Strawson called “reactive attitudes.” Unlike other critical responses, these attitudes have a distinctive connection to holding others (and ourselves) answerable for complying with justified demands and expectations from a second-personal perspective of implicit address. But Strawson also gave various nondeontic examples, including love, gratitude, and “hurt feelings.” In this lecture, I consider what these nondeontic examples have in common and what makes them reactive attitudes. All reactive attitudes, I argue, implicitly call for reciprocation and/or respond to a prior call. But whereas the deontic cases involve expectation, the nondeontic cases are, or respond to, implicit invitations. Deontic reactive attitudes are “attitudes of the will” in that they are implicitly addressed will-to-will. By contrast, the nondeontic attitudes I shall discuss are addressed heart-to-heart; they are (second-personal) attitudes of the heart.

Some Thoughts on Time, Totality and Transcendence

Jenann Ismael (Columbia)
17 October 2018

The problem of fatalism was around long before relativity, but gained affirmation in many peoples minds from Relativity. Relativistic theories confront us with a vision of the universe from a temporally transcendent standpoint, i.e., one that treats time as an internal parameter in the universe composed of events. The problem of determinism also had some early precedents, but received a precise expression with the provision of the Newtonian deterministic equations of motion. On the face of it, these seem like different problems: one has to do with time, the other with laws. And it seems that one can be a fatalist without being a determinist, and one can worry about determinism without being moved by the fatalist arguments. I will point out a connection between these two problems by linking determinism to totality and totality to transcendence. And I will look at what that connection can teach us about the nature of both problems.