UNCA Philosophy Faculty Colloquium Series

Department Chair, Professor Melissa Burchard

What Philosophy Needs to Learn from Trauma

Dr. Burchard will present some thoughts from her recently published book, Philosophical Reflections on Mothering in Trauma.  Trauma affects the ways that people experience, think about and know about the world.  If philosophy wants to be a field that understands reality, and helps people understand themselves and their realities, then it will need to acknowledge the realities of traumatized persons and learn more about what those are like.  Dr. Burchard will talk about what philosophy can learn from traumatic experience regarding matters such as knowledge, identities, desires, evil, and love.

Tuesday, October 16th


Whitesides Hall 118

Free and open to the public!

Spring 2018 Past Lectures

Spiritual Ecology Of The Vedas: A Look at Village India as a Model for Sustainable Living

Guest Speaker: Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla
Monday, April 30, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall
This event is free and open to the public

The talk will look at the historical, cultural and religious roots of the environmental crisis. In trying to find solutions, we will look at other traditional societies that lived sustainably, and what we can learn from them. Of these, the world’s oldest city, Varanasi, and its surrounding villages will be presented as an example.

About Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla and some sample links to his music videos:

While teaching Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor in upstate New York, Dr. Shukla decided to quit academics and follow his heart and soul deep into the fathomless waters of Indian Classical Music. Having studied with great maestros like Srimati Laxmi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and Dr. Tapan Bhattacharya, he returned to India in 1994 to explore the roots of Indian Classical Music in the folk traditions. His musical search led him into remote villages in the Himalayan foothills, as well as far flung and difficult to reach dwellings in the central plains. He has been particularly influenced by the songs of Kabir, Gorakhnath, and other poet-saints as sung by his Guru, Pandit Kumar Gandharva. These songs belong to living spiritual traditions, some of which are over fourteen hundred years old.    

More on Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla at:




Fall 2017 Past Lectures

Observing the Invisible: The Hunt for Dark Matter with Computer Simulations

Melissa Jacquart, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 7pm
Whitesides Hall 118

One of the most fundamental scientific questions is “What is the universe made of?” To date, we only know the answer for about 5% of the universe, but astrophysicists tell us that perhaps 24% of the universe is dark matter. The very nature of dark matter remains mysterious—unlike ordinary matter, we cannot directly observe dark matter, and we only detect it through its gravitational interactions. Although most astronomers accept that dark matter exists, very little is known about it. In this talk, I detail collaborative work between astronomers and philosophers attempting to search for this dark matter by using telescope observations and computer simulations. I will discuss some of philosophical questions related to the justification of scientific knowledge: how do we blend observation, simulation, and theory to obtain knowledge about these dark matter objects? By focusing on the role computer simulations play in astrophysical inferences, I provide an argument for how scientific justification works, and how computer simulations contribute to evidence in our dark matter hunt.

Sponsored by the Philosophy Club, Carol G. Belk Distinguished Professorship, Office of Dean of Humanities & Philosophy Department

Love’s Authority: Medieval Women Contemplatives and the Power of Mystical Union

Guest Speaker: Professor Christina van Dyke, Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm
Laurel Forum in Karpen Hall

"Why should anyone listen to me?" This common question takes on special significance in the case of female contemplatives in the 13th-14th centuries. Barred from participating in the university system, women in the Middle Ages couldn't appeal to their education or boast about their 'book-learning' to gain authority for their claims. Still, figures such as Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Mechtild of Magdeburg, and Julian of Norwich produced a vast store of mystical and contemplative literature that was taken seriously both in its own time and today. In this talk, Dr. Christina Van Dyke will discuss two moves that made this possible:

1) a close identification of their humanity with Christ's incarnated body, which serves as a bridge to Christ's divinity and unmediated contact with God, and

2) an emphasis on God's love working through them, particularly insofar as love increases knowledge without the need for formal education training or theological disputations. Dr. Van Dyke will close by discussing how this second move sets the stage both for the Reformation and the modern divide between religion and science. "

Love’s Authority: Medieval Women Contemplatives and the Power of Mystical Union Handout

Sponsored by the Philosophy Club, Humanities Program, and Philosophy Department