"Six New Ways to Survive"

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.

Friday, December 4, 2015 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Classroom Building 334

"Recognition and Identity: A Hegelian Response to Contemporary Critics"

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. 

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Main Administration 005

Discrete CATS Seminar

Title of talk: Homology of Filters in the Partition Lattice.

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
POT 745

Physics Colloquium: Domain Topology and Emergent Phenomena of Domain Walls In Complex Materials

Ordering of charge/spin/orbital degrees of freedom in complex materials accompanies domains and domain walls associated with the directional variants (Zm) and also antiphases (Zn). It has been recently realized that nontrivial ZmxZn topology can exists in large-scale real-space configurations of domains and domains walls of complex materials. Furthermore, the vertices where domain walls merge can be considered as topological defects with well-defined vorticities (Zl vortices). I will present the recently-discovered examples of ZmxZn domains and Zl vortices in complex materials. We will also discuss emergent physical properties of domain walls, which are distinctly different from those of domains.

Friday, October 9, 2015 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Committee on Social Theory Works in Progress Series

Please join the Committee on Social Theory on Tuesday, October 13th in welcoming Professor David Hunter (Interim Chair, MCLLC and Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies) in a lunchtime discussion of his essay, "Sacred Space, Virginal Consecration, and Symbolic Power: A Liturgical Innovation and its Implications in Late Ancient Christianity," with Professors Leon Price and Jacqueline Couti as respondents.


This represents the first of our 2015 Working Paper sessions.  It occurs Tuesday, October 13th from 12:30 to 1:45 in POT 1643.

Please email Dr. Marion Rust in advance for a copy of Dr. Hunter's paper at marion.rust@uky.edu


Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - 12:30pm to 1:45pm
1643 Patterson Office Tower

The Good Gray Project

Sponsored by the Imaginarium of the Bluegrass, the event will feature a poetry reading and photography by more than 20 local artists (including our very own English major, Jiv Johnson), as well as a dramatic reading of Walt Whitman poems. The admission is $10 or pay by poem (original or otherwise!) and tickets can be purchased in advance at http://www.lexingtonky.gov/index.aspx?page=3503.


Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 7:00pm
Downtown Arts Center

Panel of Experts Discusses Refugee Crisis in the Middle East, Europe

The images of untold thousands of people — many of them children — escaping the horror and despair of the war-ravaged Middle East are seared in the memories of anyone even semi-aware of global events in recent months.

Year of Europe - Andy Merrifield: Europe's New Urban Question

On September 9, 2015 at the University of Kentucky, esteemed writer, social theorist, and urban geographer Andy Merrifield, professor at the University of Cambridge, presented the kickoff lecture for A Year of Europe. Merrifield has taught at the University of Southampton, Kings College, London and Clark University in Massachusetts. He also has been a visiting scholar to many American universities such as Johns Hopkins, University of California at Los Angeles, and the City University of New York. He is an author of nine books, and numerous articles, essays, and reviews, which have appeared in The Times, The Nation, New Left Review, Adbusters, and Harvard Design Magazine, among many others.


Astro Seminar: Five Years of Kentucky-Based High-Precision Photometric Observations for the Discovery and Characterization of Transiting Exoplanets

The discovery of over 1000 planets orbiting stars other than the Sun (i.e. exoplanets) in the past 20 years has revolutionized our theories of planetary system formation and evolution. Although a large number of planets are now known, only ~25 transit stars bright enough to enable detailed characterization of the planetary system. As part of my graduate research at the University of Louisville, I conducted five years of photometric observations from Moore observatory, located just outside Louisville, Kentucky, resulting in the high-precision characterization of known and newly discovered bright exoplanetary systems. I will discuss the instrumentation and methods used to optimize the precision of the collected data, and present a software package, AstroImageJ, that was developed to streamline and optimize the data reduction process. The results of two long-term transit timing variation (TTV) studies will be presented, along with the results of a measurement of sodium in the atmosphere of a well known exoplanet. Finally, I will describe the Kilo-degree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) transit survey, present an overview of the KELT discovered planets, and highlight the importance of these discoveries on exoplanet science.

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm


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