Tuesday, 01 Nov 2016 8:00 PM
Margaret Atwood is an author, poet and environmental activist whose more than forty books include “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Blind Assassin,” and the MaddAddam trilogy featuring “Oryx and Crake.” Atwood’s many international literary awards include the prestigious Booker Prize for contemporary fiction, Arthur C. Clarke Award in science fiction and the Governor General’s Award for fiction in her native Canada. Her critical acclaim is equally matched by her popularity among readers and following on Twitter. Margaret Atwood is widely known for her commentary on the human condition and female experience. Her forthcoming book “Hag-Seed” is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.
Margaret Atwood’s Lecture Event:
Monday, 12 Sep 2016 7:00 PM
Description: Each of us has a wide array of beliefs. Some are mundane. I believe that I am typing on my laptop, that Barack Obama is President of the United States in 2016, that the temperature is unseasonably cold today, and so on. Other beliefs are comparatively interesting. Some people believe that one or more gods exist, that illegal actions are sometimes morally permissible, that our universe is one of many, that humans descend from extraterrestrial beings, that time and space are finite, and so on. We can ask two questions of any belief that one has. (1) How did one form it? (2) Is one’s holding it rational? The first question invites a descriptive answer–a good answer would describe the process that one used to form the belief, but needn’t judge the belief as rational or irrational. The second question invites a prescriptive answer–a good answer would judge the belief as rational or irrational. Correspondingly, when considering rationality, we can explore both how we, human beings, in fact form beliefs (a descriptive issue) and how we, human beings, should form beliefs, given that rationality is our aim, (a prescriptive issue). In order to understand rationality, and in order to give oneself the best chance at holding (mostly) rational beliefs, one must get a grip in both issues. Accordingly, I will spend some time briefly considering some of the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that play a role in how we in fact form beliefs and then spend some time considering how we should form beliefs. I will suggest that which beliefs are rational for one to hold depends on the total evidence one has–and so, since different people have different sets of evidence, what is rational for one person might not be rational for another.
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