Philosophy Scholars to Speak at H-SC 4/10&11

March 26, 2012

On Tuesday & Wednesday, April 10 & 11, the Philosophy Department at Hampden-Sydney College will host its 2012 Philosophy Capstone on the philosophy of George Berkeley, an 18th Century Irish philosopher and Anglican divine.  Featured speakers will be philosophy scholars Margaret Atherton and George S. Pappas.

Margaret AthertonAtherton, Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin‚ÄźMilwaukee will speak Tuesday, April 10, on "Spirits and Substances."  Her research focuses on English philosophers of the early modern period, historical issues in the philosophy of psychology, and the work of women philosophers in the history of philosophy.

Atherton studies epistemology and theories of perception. She wrote the leading commentary on Berkeley's New Theory (Berkeley's Revolution in Vision, Cornell, 1990) and contributed an article on Berkeley's theory to the Cambridge Companion to Berkeley. She edited The Empiricists (Rowman and Littlefield, 1998) and co-edited Looking into Pictures (MIT Press, 2003). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld.


George PappasOn Wednesday, April 11, George S. Pappas, Emeritus Professor, Department of Philosophy, Ohio State University, will speak on "Idealism and Materialism: A Competition."

Pappas is known to be a leading Berkeley scholar.  In 1993 his essay "Berkeley and Scepticism" was awarded the International Berkeley Prize. Pappas is a regular participant in International Berkeley Conferences.  At one such conference, celebrating the 300th anniversary of George Berkeley's birth, Pappas propounded a new approach to the relationship between Berkeley's anti-abstractionism and "esse est percipi" principle. On Pappas reading, Berkeley's two theses - that there are no abstract ideas and that sensible objects must be perceived in order to exist - require one another.

Pappas' interpretation of Berkeley's "esse est percipi" thesis has sparked much discussion. In 1989, the Garland Publishing Company brought out a 15-volume collection of major works on Berkeley; Pappas' paper "Abstract ideas and the 'esse est percipi' thesis" was included in the third volume, as it was considered to be a significant contribution to Berkeley scholarship.

 Each lecture will begin at 4:15 PM in the Chairman's Room of Settle Hall.  The community is invited.