Vanier College is pleased to announce that the 2016 Vanier College Humanities Symposium will take place February 1-5, 2016, where the central theme of “Doubt” will be examined from a variety of perspectives: through philosophy, math, science, religion, the arts, language, and media. “By the end of the week we will hopefully understand something more about that which we do not really know,” says Lili Petrovic of the organizing committee.
One of the highlights of the week on Thursday, February 4th (4 pm to 5:30), will feature internationally renowned British philosopher Simon Critchley and this year’s keynote event: “A Conversation about Doubt”. Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research, NYC) will speak with Professor Lili Petrovic from the Vanier College Humanities Department, pondering and perplexing over what, if anything, can be said, with any degree of certainty, about the nature of our doubting.
Another highlight will be special guest speaker Bob McDonald (author and science journalist, CBC radio host and television commentator) who will explore how doubt is an important tool in science. His talk will take place on February 2 from 11:30 am to 1pm.
The Special Humanities Lecture on February 3rd at 1:30 pm, entitled “Big Doubt”, will feature Andrew Lawless, PhD, retired Vanier Professor of Humanities, Philosophy and Liberal Arts and now a part time lecturer at the University of Toronto. This lecture is about annoying questions philosophy teachers torture students with: does the world exist, and can we know anything about it, and how they can show us that we don’t always know what we think we know.
Other guests will look at aspects of science that are less than certain yet should be embraced; explore doubt, creativity and citizenship; examine the potential for new creativity in “threatened” languages such as Mikmaq and Yiddish; and look at why mathematics came to be perceived as a bedrock of unquestionable truth and how cracks appeared in that belief. As well, doubt and freedom, assuming responsibility for one’s actions in difficult times, the human passion for certainty, doubt and delusions, resistance or collaboration among Romania’s churches and religious groups under communist rule, and the effect of deception through suggestion – are other topics that are all on the program.
All of Symposium events are free of charge and open to all members of the Vanier community as well as the public and will take place in the Vanier Auditorium, A-103.