Faculty Lecture Series: Jim Davis, “Can We Live without Appeal? A Brief Intro. to Existentialism”
Jim Davis will host the final lecture in the Inaugural Faculty Lecture Series on April 25, 2011 at BU Academy. This lecture, for parents, alumni, and adult friends of the community, will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. Coffee and desserts will be served. To register online, please click here.
“Can We Live without Appeal? A Brief Introduction to Existentialism”
Is the world absurd? If so, is there any basis to know how to live? How should we make choices? Can we simply choose who we are independently of what anyone else thinks of us or must the judgments of others always help determine who we are? Can we and should we live our lives in an authentic and lucid way, fully embracing our freedom and living without appeal?
In this, the last of the Monday evening lecture series, we will look at the way French existentialist authors, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, tried to answer these questions. During this hour and a half, we’ll look at some of the more famous passages from Sartre’s play “No Exit” and Being and Nothingness and from Camus’s “Myth of Sisyphus.” If time permits, we’ll also look at Woody Allen’s existentialism in such films as Love and Death, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Match Point. By the end of the evening, we’ll hopefully have a better understanding of what some existentialist authors meant by saying that we are “condemned to be free” and that we must live a life “without excuses.”
About Jim Davis: Jim Davis teaches philosophy, history and English at the Academy. He received his B.A. in political science from Beloit College, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and earned an M.A. in philosophy at State University of New York at Albany. Jim received his Ph.D in philosophy at Boston University, after research on the Aristotelian and ancient Greek views of science, psychology, and theories of reality. He has taught at Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts and the Metropolitan College and Merrimack College. During the summer, he teaches logic and philosophy in John Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth program. Jim is a member of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers, and has presented a paper on pedagogue at their biannual conference. He has won the Boston University Rallis Memorial Award for excellence in humanities research, was a finalist for the Metcalf Award for Excellence in teaching at Boston University, and was honored with the University of Chicago’s award for excellence in high school teaching.