An Optimistic Pessimism

Date(s) - 03/04/20
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Wheaton College Blanchard Hall

Hosted by
Wheaton College

McManis Lecture: An Optimistic Pessimism

Wheaton College

Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 7:30 – 9pm

The Department of Philosophy at Wheaton College presents the second 2019-20 McManis Lecture on Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Hud Hudson will deliver a lecture entitled “An Optimistic Pessimism.”

Hudson writes: “The philosophy of pessimism is well grounded, quite independent of any particular religious orientation. The collective evidence drawn from the plight of non-human animals, the natural dispositions of human persons, our checkered history of social and political institutions, the world’s religions and wisdom traditions, and humanity’s achievements in art, literature, music, and philosophy is clear and compelling. In short, we live in a rough neighborhood and in trying times. Moreover, this pessimism is overdetermined and even more austere for the Christian who takes the doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin seriously – a worldview according to which our shared history is a relentless tale of sin and corruption yielding pain and suffering and rarely brightened by genuine human flourishing. Yet these very doctrines have been invoked to ground both a traditional theodicy (designed to give a partial response to the problem of evil) as well as a kind of optimism through which the philosophy of pessimism can be tempered. In this talk, I will present and critically examine this proposal according to which our current predicament may be regarded as a fortunate fall.”

Hud Hudson is Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University, where he works primarily in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and the history of philosophy. An award-winning teacher and scholar, he is the author of A Grotesque in the Garden (Xerxes Press 2017), The Fall and Hypertime (Oxford University Press 2014), The Metaphysics of Hyperspace (Oxford University Press 2006), A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person (Cornell University Press 2001), and Kant’s Compatibilism (Cornell University Press 1994).



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