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President's Colloquy on Civil Discourse

Can we still speak the truth in love? Christian reflections on civil discourse.

Evening One | Oct. 19, 2017 | 7 p.m. | Seeley G. Mudd Chapel

By unpacking the "we," the "speak," the "truth" and the "love" in this question, speakers will address the interaction of such topics as community ("we"), the theological purposes of speech ("speak"), the interface between community, speech and Christian doctrine ("truth"), and the difference Christianity makes to all of this ("love"). This session will set the tone for the colloquy series by making it clear at the outset that the whole discussion will be driven by our Christian commitments.

Plenary speaker: Joshua Leim (Theology)

Discussants: Kamesh Sankaran (Engineering & Physics), Karen Petersen Finch (Theology), Lorna Hernandez Jarvis (Psychology)

Audio | Video

Can we disagree without being disagreeable?

Evening Two | Feb. 19, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Seeley G. Mudd Chapel

This question serves as an invitation to discuss a range of important issues: tolerance, the epistemology of disagreement, a range of relevant intellectual virtues (e.g., humility, open-mindedness, firmness, fair-mindedness and charity) and the psychological mechanisms that lead to unhealthy interactions (e.g., the fundamental attribution error, cognitive dissonance, my-side bias and the representativeness heuristic). This forum will be an opportunity to provide the community with a set of tools and techniques conducive to constructive discussions.

Plenary speaker: Nathan King (Philosophy)

Discussants: Nicole Sheets (English), Patty Bruininks (Psychology), Fred Johnson (English)

Handouts: Building Better DiscourseThe Nature of Hate

Audio | Video

How free should free speech be?

Evening Three | April 16, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Seeley G. Mudd Chapel

During this discussion, the community will have the opportunity to apply the foundation and tools provided during the first two sessions to one of the most complex and pressing contemporary issues of our day. Though the issue of free speech is highly controversial, it is timely, and it doesn’t divide people neatly along political lines.

Plenary speaker: Erica Salkin (Communication Studies)

Discussants: Kathy Lee (Political Science), Mike Ingram (Communication Studies), Will Kynes (Theology)

Audio | Video