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A Conversation with Noam Chomsky

Above: A selection of questions from our hour with Prof. Chomsky 

Noam Chomsky joined us (via webcam) to discuss his legacy, issues in higher education, linguistics, and philosophy.

Read more about Professor Chomsky on his website

Click here to learn more about the CAVEA, where the event took place.

A full video of the event will be available soon


Dr. Cornel West

Race, Democracy, and The Humanities

Above: Dr. West's speech, thanks to the MSU Denver Educational Technology Center

Preceded by a selection of spoken-word artists, musicians, and lecturers, Dr. Cornel West shared his passionate thoughts on race, democracy, and the humanities in the Tivoli building on Auraria Campus.

You can learn more about Dr. West and his work here.



Blood Meridian and Ben Nichols

 Above: A short montage of D-phi's first event. Music credit: Davy Brown by by Ben Nichols. Video by Devin Strauch


Lucero’s frontman, Ben Nichols, performed and discussed "The Last Pale Light in the West," a solo album based on Cormac McCarthy's classic American novel, Blood Meridian. The performance was preceded by a lecture by MSU Denver Historian, Matthew Makely, who offered a historical analysis of the original sources and events that inspired McCarthy’s book.

Click the links to learn more about Ratio BeerworksBen and Lucero 

Link to full event here!



Robots: From Computer to Consciousness

Above: A short sample of the conversation in the Phipps IMAX theater at the DCPA

A talkback with the audience at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Phipps Imax Theater took on the topics of modern developments in artificial intelligence, the nature and consequences of consciousness, and issues of morality involving AI's.

Full video coming soon.

Dr. Steve Beaty is a professor of Computer Science at MSU Denver with a background that includes research on artificial intelligence techniques such as genetic algorithms and neural networks.

Dr. Marco J. Nathan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. His research focuses on the philosophy of science, with particular emphasis on topics in molecular biology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and economics.

Dr. Candice Shelby is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver.  She recently published the book Addiction: A Philosophical Perspective, with Palgrave Macmillan.  She often writes and teaches on the philosophy of mind, including potential differences in the manner of performance (if indeed there are any) between static computers and robots. 

Dr. Jere Surber is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Denver, where he specializes in 19th and 20th century European thought.  He teaches the very popular course "Philosophy and Video Games" and is completing a book on this topic for Bloomsbury Press.

Dr. Steven Lee is the Department Chair & Curator of Planetary Science at the DMNS. His research focuses on the interaction between the surface and atmosphere of Mars -- primarily by mapping the patterns of wind-blown dust deposits across the planet.

Dr. Adam J. Graves is Associate Professor of Philosophy at MSU Denver and founder of the Denver Project for Humanistic Inquiry.  His research focuses on phenomenology, philosophy of religion and freedom of the will.  


An Evening with Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Paul Muldoon

 Above: A full recording of Paul Muldoon's visit to the Tivoli Brewery. Thanks to Alex Stadler for this great recording!

The Denver Project for Humanistic Inquiry organized a night of poetry and conversation with one of the most intriguing literary geniuses of our time, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon. A professor at Princeton University, president of the Poetry Society (UK) and Poetry Editor at The New Yorker, he has been hailed as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second world war” (indirect, The Guardian). In recent years, he has championed a rapprochement between poetry and song, publishing a book of “rock lyrics” and frequently performing with his band, Wayside Shrines. Recorded at Tivoli Brewing Co, Denver, CO.

Click here to visit Paul Muldoon's website.


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot


The Denver Center for Performing Art's “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” performed an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet outside the Tivoli Building.  The play was followed by a conversation with the troupe’s talented cast and director, moderated by English Department chair Cindy L. Carlson.

You can learn more at Shakespeare in the Park here

Full video of event coming soon


Tribes and the Tyrrany of Language


D‌-phi and The Denver Center for Performing Arts partnered to bring a conversation with the cast after a performance of Tribes, a critically acclaimed play that examines family, belonging, and language. 

Learn more about Tribes and the DCPA here


Out of the Past: Fate, Philosophy, and American Film Noir

After a screening of the classic 1947 film, Out of the Past, at History Colorado, distinguished University of Chicago professor Robert Pippin spoke with us on the themes of fate and agency in American Film Noir.

Learn more about Robert Pippin at his University Page

Click the link to visit History Colorado's website

Video of full event coming soon


           Selfhood, Storytelling, and Mexican American Identities

FADE Promotional Poster

In collaboration with the Denver Center for Performing Arts, D-phi hosted a conversation with the director and cast of FADE, along with professors of Philosophy and Chicano Studies from MSU Denver.

To read more about the play, visit the DCPA Website.

Chalane E. Lechuga PhDis an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her concentrations are in race/ethnicity and education, with an emphasis in Latina/o sociology.  Dr. Lechuga’s research examines the racial identities of Latina/o high school students and the relationship between racial identity and academic achievement.  Currently, Dr. Lechuga is working with a local public school district to examine school discipline and racial disparities in exclusionary practices. Further up the educational pipeline, she has researched the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty inhigher education. Dr. Lechuga has over sixteen years of experience conducting program evaluation and assessment and leads the comprehensive assessment of departmental student learning outcomes. Dr. Lechuga received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Mexico, an M.S. in Sociology from the University of Denver and a B.A. in English and Ethnic Studies (Chicana/o Studies and Black Studies) from the University ofColorado, Boulder.  She was raised on the Northside in Denver an is a proud graduate of Denver North High School.

Sergio A. Gallegos, PhDis an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His concentrations are in Philosophy of Science, Epistemology and Latin American Philosophy.  Dr. Gallegos’ research examines the use of models in science as well philosophical issues underpinning the impact and the transformation of racial identities in Latin America.  Dr. Gallegos received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, an M.Phil. in Philosophy from the same institution and a B.A. in Philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr. Gallegos was born in Switzerland, and raised in Mexico City, where he spent most of his youth.


           The English Patient

The English Patient Poster

As part of a series of events leading up to The English Patient author Michael Ondaatje's lectures and readings, D-phi organized a showing of the Academy Award winning film by the same name. The event was followed by an enlightening discussion led by panelists who offered cinematic, literary, and historical perspectives on the film.


Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem: Crime Writing Panel and Open Mic

Five local Mystery/Crime authors shared excerpts from their work and answered questions from the audience about their muses, writing processes, and the genres themselves. The event was followed by an open mic, where attendees shared their mystery-related stories and poetry.

Event co-sponsored by the MSU Denver English Department, Sisters in Crime Colorado, and the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society.


Politics and the Silver Screen

Esquire Events Poster

In collaboration with the Esquire Theatre, D-phi is hosting a series of four award-winning political films, from searing satires (The Great Dictator and Duck Soup) to riveting thrillers (The Manchurian Candidate and All the President’s Men).  These Hollywood classics will be introduced and discussed by a variety of experts including political scientists, historians, and philosophers, who will shed light on the historical context and cultural significance of each film.  Join us for what promises to be an exciting series of film and conversation!

 Tickets are $8.50 and popcorn is free with Student ID.

Time: All events begin at the 7:00 pm showing.

9/7 - Duck Soup

9/14 - The Great Dictator

9/21 - The Manchurian Candidate

9/28 - All the President’s Men

Location: Esquire Theater, 590 Downing Street, Denver


Democracy in Principle and Practice: From Ancient Athens to Contemporary Colorado

Above: Full Video of Democracy in Principle and Practice

D-phi organized a group of experts for an informative and thought-provoking conversation about the history and contemporary significance of democracy.  What are the origins of democracy?  How has the concept and practice of democracy evolved over time?  How do elections differ from one place to another?  How have changes in technology, media and demographics impacted the nature of democracy in our own time and in our own state?  These questions, and many more, were addressed by our panel of political scientists, state officials, historians and philosophers.

Andre Archie is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University, specializing in the History of Ancient Greek Philosophy and Ancient Greek Political Philosophy.

Judd Choate has been the Colorado’s state election director since 2009.  Prior to joining the Secretary of State’s office, Judd was a practicing attorney and before that a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska.

Floyd Ciruli is the founder of Ciruli Associates, a research and consulting firm specializing in public policy and research. Floyd is also director for the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Caleb Cohoe is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His research interests include Ancient Philosophy and the function of intellectual and practical authority in society.

Robert Preuhs is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His research focuses on issues of representation and democracy through the lens of racial and ethnic politics, state and national political institutions, and public policy. 

Elizabeth Sperber is an Assistant Professor of political science at the University of Denver and specializes in comparative and international politics, with regional expertise in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sherrie Wolff is an international political and elections advisor who has worked on issues pertaining to democratization with Presidents, Prime Ministers and Parliaments in 39 counties.


Frank Talks: A Conversation with former US Representative Barney Frank

Barney Frank represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts for more than three decades. He chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011, during which time he co-authored the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, arguably the most significant piece of financial regulation legislation passed since the great depression. The first openly gay member of Congress, Frank is widely considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States. He is a regular commentator at MSNBC and will be joining us for a conversation on his life in politics at Auraria Campus this October.


Creating Monstrosity: Frankenstein, Gothic Literature, and Philosophy

 Above: Full video of pre-performance discussion.

After a backstage tour, and prior to a performance of Frankenstein at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, an eclectic panel of experts discussed Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, as well as the play and concept of adaptations in general.


Reconsidering the Humanities

Above: Reconsidering the Humanities, thanks to the MSU Denver Educational Technology Center

D-phi hosted an involved Q&A with students and faculty which investigated the role of the humanities in our modern world.

Panelists included:
Zena Hitz, Professor of Philosophy at St. Johns College, Annapolis, author of The Crisis of the Intellectual Life
Arthur Fleischer, Economics Chair at MSU Denver, author of The National Collegiate Athletic Association: A Study in Cartel Behavior
Kimo Quaintance, Education Strategist at IQ Gemini, international expert on emergent technologies and disruptive innovation

Click the names to learn more.


  Voices and the Voiceless: The Question of Advocacy

One irony of our current "age of information" is that people seem to be presented with news and perspectives that only reinforce their presuppositions and views. Another is that the dawn of global communication has perhaps only served to reinforce the systematic exclusion of certain voices. Their stories often go untold and their lives are undervalued. In short, their voices are silenced. When is it our duty to speak for them and what sort of moral dilemmas does doing so raise? Please join us for a discussion of the complicated nature of advocacy and the power of art in making other voices heard.

Musician and comic author R. Alan Brooks, documentary filmmaker Alan Dominguez, and Carol Quinn of MSU Denver's Philosophy Department will join Cafe Cultura's poets Tanaya Winder, Franklin Cruz, and Alexis Vigil, with a live acoustic set by Blisss.

Complimentary food and beverages will be provided by the MSU Denver Philosophy Club and Ratio Beerworks, respectively.

This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, 4/13 @ 5:30 pm

Tivoli, 900 Auraria Pkwy, Denver, Multicultural Room



Performance and Talkback

Disgraced Banner

Amir has spent his adulthood downplaying his upbringing to build the perfect life. But as a high-profile court case and his wife’s Islamic-inspired art show reveal just how little his culture is understood by the people around him, their misconceptions become too much to bear. The expectation to be true to yourself and to fit into mainstream society collide in this 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

After the performance, join us for a talkback, including questions from the audience, with the cast and director of Disgraced, along with MSU Denver Chair of Political Science Dr. Robert Hazan.

April 20th, 6:30pm

Denver Center for Performing Arts, Speer Blvd, Denver, CO 80204

Discounted tickets ($16) available to guests of D-phi- use code DPHI and select April 20th on the Denver Center for Performing Arts Website

Click this link to view detailed instructions.


  Esquire Theater Film Series & Discussion

Esquire Theater Building Face

The Esquire Theater joins us for another gripping and timely film series, each to be followed by an expert-led discussion on the film and its historical and literary contexts. Our panelists include Dr. Rebecca Gorman (Chair, English), Dr. Jim Aubrey (Film Studies), and Dr. Pitturro (English).

The films to be screened are:


May 3 - The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

May 10 – Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

May 31 - Norma Rae (1979)

June 7 - 1984 (1984)

June 14 - Do the Right Thing (1989)


These showings run one day only at 7:00pm.

Esquire Theater, 590 Downing Street

Popcorn is free with student ID. Tickets available online and at the door. Keep an eye on our Facebook for free ticket giveaways.


Religion and Violence

Where Faith and Violence Coincide

A day-long multi-disciplinary exploration of the relationship between violence and religion, featuring a variety of national and international experts in law, political science, psychology, and religious studies. 

October 18, 2017

St. Cajetan’s Church College Auditorium, Auraria Campus, Denver, Colorado

REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION                                                                             

Website:  (bios, abstracts, registration)

Contact: Harvey Milkman                             Cell: (303) 434 9898



9:00 am                        Welcome:  Joan Laura Foster, Dean, Letters, Arts, and Sciences

                                    Metropolitan State University of Denver

                                    Commencement: Rev. Mike Morran, First Unitarian Society of Denver          


Opening Remarks:  Harvey Milkman, Colloquium Chair, Professor Emeritus,

                                      Department of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver


9:30– 10:45 am            Keynote Presentation: Sustainable Peace through Inclusive Security

Alaa Murabit, Leading international advocate for inclusive peace processes




11:00am – 12:15pm     Panel Presentations (Understanding the Problem)

                                    [Moderator: Akbarali Thobhani, Executive Director, Office of International

                                      Studies, MSU Denver]


A Psychological Perspective on How Religion is Used to Promote Violence … and How to Reverse this Tendency

Thomas A. Pyszczynski, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


Apocalyptic Thinking, Religion and Violence

Arthur N. Gilbert, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver


The ISIS Crisis and the 'Broken Politics' of the Middle East: A Framework for Understanding Radical Islamism

Nader Hashemi, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver


12:30-1:45 pm             LUNCH – PROVIDED


2:00-3:15pm                Panel Presentations (Steps toward Solution)

[Moderator, Layton Curl, Chair, Department of Psychology, MSU Denver]


Peaceful Development and Women’s Status

                                    Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Professor, University of Haifa, Israel


  1. S. Middle East Policy and Strategic Nonviolent Action
  2. Know Thyself
  3. Spiritual Suite

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco; Associate Editor of Peace Review


Religion, Reconciliation, and Peacebuilding in Post-conflict Societies

Lucy McGuffey, CU Denver, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science    


3:30-4:15pm                Plenary Address: What We Know About Recent Hate Crimes in the U.S

Ryan Lenz, Senior Investigative Writer, Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center.




  4:30-5:15pm              Plenary Address: Religious Fundamentalisms and the Future of Tolerance Adam Graves: Professor, Department of Philosophy and Director of Religions Studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver




5:30-7:00pm                Closing Reception: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Performance

                                      Introduction: Myron R. Anderson, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

                                    Metropolitan State University of Denver





The Manual Alphabet

Reading and Conversation with Samuel Clare Knights

Photo Credit: Dave Getzschman

Join PEN America Best Debut Short Story author, Samuel Clare Knights, for a reading of his work and a conversation about the nature of language and his linguistic inheritance.

Samuel Clare Knights was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. He holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Denver and an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He lives in Colorado and listens to the Grateful Dead every day. “The Manual Alphabet,” a beautiful story told partially in sign language, is about a hearing boy born to deaf parents. - From Catapult


Tuesday, October 24th. 2:00pm

Auraria Library



Screening and Panel Discussion with Philosophers and Experts


Jere Surber Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Denver

Bruce Young, of 'Fiery Rain of Go Stones,' a Denver GO club

Dr. Vijay Mascarenhas, Associate Professor of Philosophy, MSU Denver

 Invented in China nearly three millennia ago, Go is believed to be among the oldest board games in the world. It's also said to have more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe. As such, Go—with its 19x19 grid—enjoys a reputation as the ultimate battleground for human versus artificial intelligence. 

On March 9, 2016, a seven-day tournament designed to test that premise took place in Seoul, South Korea. The Google DeepMind Challenge Match pitted a legendary Go master against an AI program—and director Greg Kohs (Song Sung Blue, DFF31) was there to capture the action. This entertaining, eye-opening documentary takes viewers from the DeepMind coding terminals in London, down the halls of Oxford and the backstreets of Bordeaux, to the site of the five-game competition in an attempt to answer the questions of our time: Where does the line between human and artificial intelligence begin and end—and what can computers teach us about ourselves?

November 9th

Screening - 4:15pm, UA Pavilions

Discussion - 6:30pm, Festival Annex (i.e., McNichols Building) 

Purchase tickets here.


On the Beach at Night Alone

Panel Discussion and Film Screening


Art imitates life in this haunting drama about an actress reeling in the aftermath of an affair with a married filmmaker: it's based on director Hong Sang-soo's own relationship with star Kim Minhee, which caused a media frenzy in their native South Korea. Kim won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at this year's Berlinale for her role as Younghee, who returns to Gangneung after escaping to Hamburg in an attempt to pick up the pieces—only to find herself spending one too many late nights making one too many startling confessions.

No stranger to mining his own experience for his films, Hong (Night and Day, DFF31; see also The Day After, playing in this year's festival) confronts his personal life with a newfound emotional directness here—drawing an incredibly raw and vulnerable performance from Kim in the process. It's one of the more remarkable director-actor collaborations in recent cinema.

Join us for a discussion of On the Beach at Night, with professors:

Boram Jeong, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Univeristy of Colorado Denver

Hye Seung Chung, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Colorado State University

David Scott Diffrient, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Colorado State University


Discussion - Monday, November 6th

6:00pm, Festival Annex (i.e., McNichols Building)

Showings are:
Fri Nov 10 4:00pm UA Pavilions 
Sat Nov 11 6:30pm UA Pavilions

Purchase tickets here.



Performance and Talkback (on a comedy that is unlikely to be spooky. Unless you think podcasts and Boston Market are spooky.)

Photo Credit: Dave Getzschman

A guy lives in his sister's basement, recording podcast episodes dedicated to his hero, the Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe. Much to his sister's dismay, he takes very little interest in anything else. But change is on the way, coming in the unlikely form of a thrift store suit. Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead and So Is My Cat is a fantastical comedy with a dash of the macabre. This play is the first full-length production of Buntport's 17th season, a season that hopes to examine and play with theatrical conventions. Come escape the news cycle and laugh.

In addition to their original full-length plays, Buntport consistently creates all sorts of fun events, involving talented locals from all mediums. Every month offers a variety of entertainment opportunities, such as The Great Debate, buntporTED talks, Siren Song, The Narrators, and Joan and Charlie Discuss Tonight's Theme. Season 17 will also see a new live sit-com from the company that created Magnets on the Fridge, Starship Troy, and The Unauthorized Story of a Fictional Television Show.

Expert talkback to follow the performance

Sunday, 11/12 3:00pm

Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan Street


Race & Justice

Discussion with Mayor Hancock & author Claudia Rankine


o Boettcher Concert Hall, Nov. 15
o Tivoli Turnhalle, Auraria campus, Nov. 16

Sponsored by: The City of Denver, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, MSU Denver, Denver Public Library, and NEA Big Read

Contact Angela Levalley ( for more information.


Wounds to Scars: Acts of Remembrance in Word & Image

Above: A sample of Keaney and Gallagher's work in a segment of their Twinsome Minds project


A one-day only stunning multimedia performance of philosophy, art, and healing. The performance will touch on themes of visual art and stories of remembrance as acts of healing.

Richard Kearney is The Charles B. Seelig Professor in Philosophy at the Boston College Philosophy Department. He is the author of over 20 books on European philosophy and literature (including two novels and a volume of poetry) and has edited or co-edited 14 more. As a public intellectual in Ireland, he was involved in drafting a number of proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement (1983, 1993, 1995).
Sheila Gallagher is an Associate Professor of Fine Art at Boston College where she teaches courses on drawing, painting and contemporary art practice. Her work takes many forms including video, flower installations, smoke paintings and computer-aided drawing. Widely exhibited in the United States, Gallagher's work has been shown at such venues as The Institute of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Dodge Gallery, NYC, and Wellesley College.

Their Twinsome Minds project (a phrase from Finnegans Wake) is a multimedia performed talk with text by Richard Kearney and moving images by Sheila Gallagher. The performance mines what is often lost behind official historical accounts and acts of commemoration, and proposes a transformative work of interpreting the past for a new generation. Their Guestbook Project promotes the power of digital storytelling as a means of healing divisions. 
"Peace takes practice. Peace takes creativity. Peace takes engagement."

The event will take place at MSU's Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis, which boasts 180 degrees of projection screen and state of the art audio systems.

February 15th, 6:00pm

Student Success Building (890 Auraria Pkwy) Room 420

Entry is free and open to the public.


The Tragedies of David Lean: A Philosophical Film Retrospective

Join philosophers Adam Graves and Sean Morris as they discuss the moral and aesthetic dimensions of Lean’s masterpieces. 

David Lean is perhaps best known for his larger-than-life cinematography. His widescreen Technicolor spectacles, such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, contain some of film’s most iconic images—images of such monumental proportion that they tend to dwarf the characters who appear almost imperceptibly in their all-encompassing frame. He once commissioned Panavision to manufacture a custom 482mm telephoto lens, aptly known as the “Lean lens,” just to capture a single scene: Omar Sharif’s character emerging from a mirage shimmering over the vast Jafr mudflats in Lawrence of Arabia. 

And yet, when asked to comment on his own strengths as a director, Lean spoke of a different kind of lens and a different sort scale: “My distinguishing talent is the ability to put people under the microscope, perhaps to go one or two layers farther down than some other directors.” Lean’s true legacy lies in his ability to move seamlessly between the monumental and the microscopic, to use impossibly large canvasses to paint intimate portraits, and to explore the inner depths of complex characters through a sweeping visual style. In a Lean picture, these inner and outer worlds are neither disconnected, nor juxtaposed—they disclose themselves simultaneously, each through the other. And for this reason his films and characters, perhaps more than most, deserve to be encountered on the silver screen. 

This series will include three of Lean’s most critically acclaimed films, each of which might be characterized as a twentieth-century tragedy. We begin with the lesser-known Brief Encounter, a relatively small picture produced in England a decade before Lean’s first Hollywood-backed epic. Celia Johnson plays a suburban housewife whose illicit affair with a stranger awakens exhilarating emotions as well as paralyzing guilt. This will be followed by Lean’s first major international success, The Bridge on the River Kwai, where Alec Guinness plays the dignified Colonel Nicholson, whose obsession with duty ultimately prevents him from recognizing his highest obligation. We conclude the series with Lawrence of Arabia,where Peter O’Toole delivers a breakout performance as an ambitious young man who, with remarkable hubris, tries to give a people something we know he cannot—namely, their freedom. 

Each of these films tells a tale of profound unfulfillment: unconsummated love in Brief Encounter, unfulfilled duty in Kwai, and frustrated ambition in Lawrence. And each film provides a unique occasion to contemplate good and evil, virtue and vice, innocence and guilt, and to reflect upon the power of film to illuminate the nature of human existence. 

Adam Graves is associate professor of philosophy at MSU Denver, specializing in phenomenology and hermeneutics (the theory of interpretation). He is currently teaching an Honors Seminar on the representation of evil in film. 

Sean Morris is associate professor of philosophy at MSU Denver and works in logic, the foundations of mathematics and the history of analytic philosophy. From time to time he dabbles in questions relating to the good life as they arise in classic films. 

February 14th, 6:30pm: Brief Encounter

February 21st, 6:30pm: Bridge on the River Kwai

February 28th, 6:30pm: Lawrence of Arabia

1510 York St., 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80206

$15 Tickets at the SIE Website

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for a ticket giveaway!


Evil: A Multidisciplinary Discussion

A philosopher, a historian, a political scientist, and an English professor walk into a bar.
No, this isn’t the opening to an old joke. This is the opening to an evening of
multidisciplinary discussion of one of the oldest and most fraught of theoretical
concepts: Evil. The concept of “evil” may not mean the same thing across scholarly
disciplines, and may be a suspect term for scholars who wish to historicize and
contextualize the concepts and terms they work with. But while scholars post-Nietzsche
and post-Wittgenstein might be wary about the usefulness of a seemingly metaphysical
or universalizing concept like evil, the concept continues to play a significant
communicative, symbolic, and ethical role in the wider culture. Please join Professors
Amy E. Eckert (Political Science), Adam Graves (Philosophy), Andrea Maestrejuan
(History), and Craig Svonkin (English) for a multidisciplinary discussion of EVIL.

Craig Svonkin is an Associate Professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Executive Director of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. His publications include “From Robert Lowell to Frank Bidart: Becoming the Other; Suiciding the White Male ‘Self’,” New Directions in American Literary Scholarship: 1980-2002 (co-authored with Emory Elliott), “Melville and the Bible: Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale, Multivocalism, & Plurality,” “If Only L.A. Had a Soul: Spirituality and Wonder at the Museum of Jurassic Technology,” “A Southern California Boyhood in the Simu-Southland Shadows of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room,” and “Manishevitz and Sake, the Kaddish and Sutras: Allen Ginsberg’s Spiritual Self-Othering."

Amy E Eckert writes "I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. My interests in teaching and research lie in international relations and, more particularly, in international ethics and international law. For the past several years, I have been working on and teaching about the just war tradition, which provides us with a set of norms that apply to the waging of war. My latest work applies these norms to the new realities of privatized war. Educational Biography: Graduate School of International Studies (now known as the Josef Korbel School of International Studies), University of Denver, Denver, Colorado Ph.D., with distinction. Fields: International Politics, International Law; Concentration: Human Rights Dissertation Topic: Society and Spherical Justice in Rawls’s Law of Peoples Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado J.D. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana B.A. cum laude, Government and International Studies"

Andrea Rene Maestrejuan writes "After contemplating careers as a veterinarian and a scientist in biotechnology, I have woven my interests in science and technology with my passion in history to analyze the creative pursuits of inventors." Dr. Maestrejuan teaches History of Science and Technology, Economic History, World History, European History, and areas of research include intellectual property rights, inventorship, production of scientific and technological knowledge.

Adam Graves writes "My Ph.D. (UPenn, 2007) is in Religious Studies (with a concentration on Modern Religious Thought and Philosophy of Religion). I wrote my dissertation on the role of intersection of religious and philosophical thought in the work of three important twentieth-century philosophers: Heidegger, Marion and Ricoeur. I am currently elected an officer in the Society for Ricoeur Studies. I enjoy teaching a range of subject within philosophy (ethics, phenomenology, existentialism, history of modern philosophy) and the field of religious studies (introduction to western and eastern religions, the history of Christian thought, religion and culture, etc.)." His areas of research include Modern European philosophy of religion, with particular interest in phenomenological philosophy (Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, and Marion); the development of hermeneutic theory from Schleiermacher to Gadamer, Ricoeur and Vattimo; methodological issues in the study of religion; sociological and philosophical accounts of secularization; the theological and philosophical sources of modern theories of autonomy.

March 8th 2018, 3:30-5:30pm

890 Auraria Pkwy (Student Success Building)

Room 400

This event is free and open to the public!


Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

 Above: D-phi's 2016 collaboration with Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, a vingette of their Romeo and Juliet

The Denver Center for Performing Arts' “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot” will perform an abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream outside the Tivoli Building, to be followed by an interview with the director and actors.

March 29th, 3:30 pm

Tivoli Commons (SE Corner of 900 Auraria Pkwy)

*Note* IN CASE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER, this event will be held in the King Center Concert Hall at 4:00pm

Performance is free and open to the public.


Humanities in Charlottesville, After 'Charlottesville'

Speaker: Victor Luftig, Professor and Director of the Center for the Liberal Arts, University of Virginia
This year Prof. Luftig had prepared to teach, in addition to a couple of his usual literature courses, a class called 'Global Resistance and Student Activism'; and the little center he has run since 2000 was going to run some of its usual programs for K-12 teachers, perhaps with some additional emphasis on political questions.  Then the events of August 2017 in Charlottesville required some considerable adjustments.  Prof. Luftig will discuss what he has learned during these months—from collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center, conversation with his academic colleagues, and most of all the leadership of students-- and what’s ahead. 
Join us for a talk and conversation about the role the humanities can play in times of crisis for our schools and communities.


Thursday April 5th, 2018


Student Success Building Room 400

(890 Auraria Parkway)

This event is free and open to the public.



Bio: James D. Reid holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and is currently associate professor of philosophy at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has taught ethics and the history of philosophy, with special emphasis on Greek and German intellectual traditions, at Chicago, the Colorado College, the College of William and Mary, and the United States Air Force Academy. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing from philosophical, scientific, and literary sources, and is devoted to problems in the theory of meaning, value, and significance, and finding appropriate ways of talking, more richly and compellingly, about the importance of what we care about. He is currently working on several book-length projects, including a monograph on the ethical import of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, a book on philosophical poet Novalis (forthcoming, Northwestern UP), and, with Benjamin D. Crowe (Boston University), a translation of Heidegger's _The Question Concerning the Thing_ (forthcoming, Rowman & Littlefield). He is the co-editor of _Thoreau's Importance for Philosophy_ (Fordham UP, 2012). He contributed several entries to Cambridge's forthcoming, multi-volume _Heidegger Lexicon_, edited by Mark Wrathall. His book on Rilke, poetry, and philosophy, which includes a fresh translation of the Duino Elegies, was published by Northwestern University Press. Thanks to generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he will be on leave until the fall of 2018. 

Thursday April 12th, 2018


Student Success Building Room 403 (CAVEA)

(890 Auraria Parkway)

This event is free and open to the public.


Creating Local Change


Tuesday April 10th, 2018


Auraria Library, Discovery Wall

This event is free and open to the public.


Trust, Anger, Resentment: On Blame and the Economy of Disesteem

Bio: Jay Wallace works in moral philosophy. His interests extend to all parts of the subject (including its history), and to such allied areas as political philosophy, philosophy of law, and philosophy of action. His research has focused on responsibility, moral psychology, and the theory of practical reason. Recently he has written on promising, normativity, constructivism, resentment, hypocrisy, love, and regret and affirmation (among other topics). Current research projects include a study of the relational elements in moral theory, The Moral Nexus, which is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.


Blame is naturally understood in terms of reactive attitudes such as resentment. These attitudes, in turn, are responsive to reasons, i.e. considerations that make them fitting or appropriate. It seems to follow that the conditions of blame are in place whenever a person has been wronged by another—just as it is appropriate to withdraw trust whenever someone has betrayed the confidence we had invested in them. But this analogy between resentment and the withdrawal of trust neglects the affective dimension of blame, its connection to anger.

I argue that angry disapprobation functions as a form of social pressure that helps to incentivize compliance with basic interpersonal norms. In experiencing reactive attitudes, we understand ourselves to be participating in a natural economy of disesteem, a system that seems crucial to the emergence of stable cooperative relations between people. The significance of this affective dimension of blame comes into clear focus when we reflect on the role of anger and resentment within the context of a personal relationship: these attitudes do not merely register transparently the existence of independent reasons to adjust our behavior toward another person; they have emotional weight in their own right, as factors that come between us and the agent who has wronged us.

States of this kind can be managed in different ways, as the example of forgiveness shows: in forgiving someone, we decline to attach significance to affective states that are nevertheless appropriate, given the behavior of the party whose behavior is forgiven. I suggest, in conclusion, that the question of how affective states of this kind are to be managed provides a point of entry for the application of practical norms of various kinds to the assessment of the reactive attitudes, including norms of prudence and moral norms of fairness"

Friday April 20th, 2018


Tivoli 320

(900 Auraria Parkway)

This event is free and open to the public.


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