Join the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI) in welcoming Dr. Robin R. Wang as the first speaker in the 2015 Distinguished Scholars Series. Her lecture, entitled Yinyang: The Way of Ways, and discussion will take place on Friday, Oct. 16 from 2:30 - 4:00 pm in the Patterson Office Tower 18th Floor, West-End Lobby, with a reception to follow. Please see the attached poster for more information.
You're 40, reminiscing with college friends about a memorable experience from 20 years ago. One of them confesses that, just 10 years ago now, he broke into your house and kidnapped the person sleeping in your bed to use as an unwitting subject in a secret government fission project. Lefty and Righty were successfully issued in one of the usual ways; but never woken up. Righty was promptly destroyed, and Lefty was returned to your bed, still unconscious and none the wiser. Here are two ways you might reply to your friend's confession. 1) I'm mad that you took such a terrible risk without consulting me, but thank goodness everything turned out okay. 2) I'm sad that my total life expectancy is 30 years shorter than I'd thought, but thanks for creating me. I find the first reply much more natural than the second. But I'm also terrified by the prospect of fission. Leading theories of personal survival have a hard time accommodating both (a) the retrospective intuition that you've survived fission, and (b) the prospective intuition that it's indeterminate whether you'll survive fission. In this talk, I show that we can coherently combine (a) and (b) by characterizing survival in terms of existence at a time, instead of numerical identity over time. A simple exdurantist or stage-theoretic model can be used to illustrate consistency. And taking care to distinguish the object language of the theory itself from the metalanguage we use to model it helps neutralize potential objections, and clarify certain confusions in the traditional literature on personal identity. Zooming further out, these considerations suggest that Lewis may have been wrong to claim that fission and kindred puzzles of persistence aren't essentially "about identity". Here and elsewhere in metaphysics, the way forward may involve outgrowing the habit of defining our theoretical options in terms of identity.
Starting in the early 1990’s with the publication of Axel Honneth’s landmark book The Struggle for Recognition and Charles Taylor’s seminal essay “The Politics of Recognition”, there has been a resurgence of interest in what might broadly be called “recognition theory,” a tradition with roots in Fichte and Hegel. It is my contention, however, that there are some important and recurring weaknesses in much of this recent literature on recognition that causes it to provide what is ultimately a flawed account of oppression and liberation. Patchen Markell’s Bound by Recognition, in particular, stands as an excellent exemplar of this general trend in the recent literature. Using his work as a paradigm case, this paper will articulate a response to Markell’s critique of recognition theory that I believe is representative of general weaknesses in much of the contemporary discussions of the topic. I will argue that these contemporary critics are working with a deep, yet common, misreading of the Hegelian roots of recognition theory, and that a return to Hegel's texts will allow for an account of recognition that holds more promise for the theorization of oppression and liberation.
Every spring the Committee on Social Theory offers the team-taught seminar—always with four professors. Previous course themes/names for the seminar have included “Law, Sex, and Family” “Autobiography,” and “Security.” But previous seminars may not have spoken so directly to the professors’ personal backgrounds as “Transnational Lives” does with this team of four.