Meetings and Events


Sept 17: Daniel Dennett Lecture
"Why Are There Reasons?"

MSU's Office of Arts and Cultural Programming and the Department of Philosophy and Religion are pleased to bring Daniel Dennett to MSU, to deliver a lecture entitled, "Why are there Reasons?" 

Daniel C. Dennett is Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, and Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. 

In the lecture, Dennett will show how Darwin's insights sketch the path from a purposeless world of cause and effect—but no function, no reasons—to the purposeful, reason-drenched world we inhabit today. The lecture engages with some of Dennett's most important books: Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (Simon & Schuster, 1995), Consciousness Explained (Back Bay Books, 1992), Breaking the Spell:  Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Viking Adult, 2006), as well as his recent book, Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking (W. W. Norton & Company, 2014). 

Where: University Hall, Room 1070

When: Weds, Sept. 17, 3:00pm

Importantly, the Dennett lecture pertains to the composer Scott Johnson's, “Mind Out Of Matter,” a music work that pairs the sampled voice of Dennett with the celebrated ensemble Alarm Will Sound. “Mind Out Of Matter” premiers October 4 & 5, 2014, in the Peak Performances Series at the Kasser Theater, MSU. Note: no charge for undergraduates (with valid MSU ID) - pick up your ticket at the Kasser Theater box office.

For more information about the Dennett lecture, contact Tiger Roholt.

For information about "Mind Out Of Matter" at Peak Performances, contact Carrie Urbanic: 

Oct 16: Sheila Lintott Lecture
"The Art of Friendship"
Sheila Lintott is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell University, and Chair of the Department of Women's & Gender Studies. 

Lecture Description
Personal relationships are not usually considered sites of aesthetic appreciation or activity.  In contemporary western culture, this honor is too often reserved exclusively for Art.  But why continue relying exclusively on the well-worn association of Art and aesthetics?  Ignoring the aesthetic aspects of friendship impoverishes our understanding of the value and meaning of friendships, relationships that give shape and content to our lives.  My view is that friendships are aesthetic expressions and impressions in and of our lives, just as form and color are aesthetic expressions and impressions in and of paintings. Here I investigate the aesthetic aspects of friendship, including how aesthetic taste influences with whom we are friends, how cultivating and sustaining friendships invites creative and relatively free expressions of self, and how good friendships help to harmoniously round out a life.  

Where: TBA

When: Thursday, Oct. 16, 8PM

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy & Religion. For more information, contact Tiger Roholt.

Philosophy and Religion Club

The Philosophy and Religion Club at MSU meets weekly during the fall and spring semesters to discuss topics of common interest, to share snacks, and to socialize. Often a student or faculty presenter kicks off the discussion. Everyone is welcome at club meetings which meet in the philosophy and religion seminar room in Dickson Hall at 4 pm on Thursdays. If you have questions about the philosophy and religion club, please email David Benfield at

Club Schedule
Majors and Minors: check your email for announcements. Others: to be added to the email list, send an email to Dr. Benfield at the address above.

Women in the Tradition (WIT)

A reading group devoted to works by women in philosophy, past and present. Contact: Dr. Dorothy Rogers:

Philosophy and World (PAW)

An ethics speaker series. Contact: Dr. Christopher Herrera:

Philosophy & Music Reading Group 

A faculty/student reading group meeting every two weeks. Contact: Dr. Tiger Roholt: or, at the Cali School of Music, Dr. Marissa Silverman:  We have a Facebook group.