Past Events - Philosophy & Religion Club

All meetings are on Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Dickson 430 during the regular school year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012
"What Is Art?" 
How do we distinguish between things that are art and things that are not art? Is there some quality common to all artworks? If we find a way to define visual art, will that definition also apply to music, literature, dance, architecture, and film? Drawing upon your intuitions, Tiger Roholt will lead a discussion through this thorny set of issues to the center of the philosophy of art. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012
"When Two Become One."
Arielle Rodriguez, PHIL major RELS minor, leads a discussion of Archbishop Myers pastoral teaching on the Definition, Purpose, & Sanctity of Marriage.

Thursday, September 20th, 2012
"No Justice for Carmen"
Dennis Heffernan, 2010 MSU alumnus, will share his reflections on serving as a foreman on a murder trial jury. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012
"Nietzsche's Conception of 'Aesthetic Justification'"
In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche famously claims that "only as an aesthetic phenomenon is existence and life eternally justified." Tommy Hanauer (Philosophy PhD student at Binghamton) will attempt to clarify what this obscure claim means and how it fits into Nietzsche's work.

Thursday, April 12, 2012
"Happiness at the Expense of Individual Freedom?"
Silas Dvergastein, exchange student from the University of Agder, will discuss the Norwegian form of Socialism and touch on various hot-button issues including the government’s right to compel doctors to perform abortions.

Thursday, April 5, 2012
"A Phenomenological Approach to Musical Subtlety"
Some philosophers argue that certain musical subtleties of pitch, rhythm, or timbre are ineffable. Tiger Roholt will attempt to convince you that by invoking Maurice Merleau-Ponty's insights about subtle visual perception we can better grasp the nature of musical subtleties.

Thursday, March 29, 2012
”Symbols and Metaphors of Self-Transcendence: Passover and Easter”
Dr. Michael S. Kogan, MSU Religious Studies Professor, will make a short presentation and then lead our discussion. (All meetings are on Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Dickson 430 during the regular school year.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Transhumanism: Being Human vs. Being a Human Being
Francesco Amati, Senior PHIL major, and Nicholas Lukowiak, Senior PHIL and ENGL major, will discuss whether being human is about what you are or what you do.

Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Value of Art
What is the value of music, visual art, film, dance, literature, and architecture? Dr. Roholt will invite your thoughts on these questions, then describe several different accounts of art's value that have been proposed by philosophers in both the analytic and continental traditions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Beyond Harm and Offense: An Analysis of Legal Moralism
Senior PHIL major Sean Thoman will lead our discussion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Graduate School, Law School… What is it like?
PHIL majors & alumni Faris Shurbaji, Pete LaGreca, & Yianni Floropoulos will lead a discussion of what it is like to be a law or graduate student. Sabrina Misir-Hiralall will share general tips on admission and discuss her experience as a doctoral candidate for the MSU Ed.D.

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Is Our Will Free or just on Parole?
Senior PHIL major & RELS minor Chris Bartlett will lead a discussion of how our social and personal goals limit the choices we can make.

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Atheism and Religious Tolerance: Why Atheism is the Most “Tolerant” Religion of All
Junior PHIL major Michael Morelli will lead our discussion.

Thursday, February 2, 2012
“More Thoughts for a Meaningful Life”
Bruce Cooper, senior RELS major, leads us in a discussion of his experience and how various authors (Frankl, Paul of Tarsus, the Poet Aratus, and Swami Satchidananda) influenced his search for meaning.

Thursday, January 26, 2012
”Owning Ideas?” 
Mr. Dennis Heffernan, 2010 alumnus, CMPT major and PHIL minor, will lead our discussion of the issues raised by the SOPA and the Apple vs. Droid OS wars.

Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street Movement
Who are the protestors? What are their goals? Yianni Floropoulos, 2010 PHIL Alumnus,
Graduate Assistant in the Law and Governance M.A. Program, will lead our discussion.

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Authenticity and Public Intelligibility, Sean Skedzielewski
Can human beings live authentically if everything in their world is made intelligible by a shared and public way of understanding things? Sean Skedzielewski, a 2011 Alum and aspiring PHIL graduate student, will explain why Hubert Dreyfus says “Yes!”, why Heidegger says “No!”, and why Heidegger is right.

If you have questions about the philosophy and religion club, please email David Benfield at