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Presidential Teaching Professor Seminar

A Platonic Socratic Dialogue for Our Time

Dr. Tomis Kapitan
Dr. Tomis Kapitan

Tomis Kapitan, Ph.D.
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Department of Philosophy

When we consider what the practice of philosophy involves, one thing that springs to mind is its employment of the Socratic Method of instruction, so brilliantly illustrated in Plato’s dialogues. Many of us have a rudimentary notion that this method is intended to enhance understanding through dialogue. A more complete description recognizes that the Socratic method proceeds by way of refutation (elenchus) with the aim of stimulating an individual’s desire for acquiring wisdom. By challenging deeply-held moral, social, political, and other normative convictions in this way, use of the method may stir passions, generate controversy, and even create enemies. Yet, recalling Plato’s dictum that “refutation is the greatest of all purifications,” the method is intended not only to educate, but to promote an individual’s moral improvement. This presentation will illustrate the Socratic method in considering certain aspects of contemporary American foreign policy, notably, the so-called “war on terror.”

Tomis Kapitan is a professor of philosophy at NIU. His research focuses on issues in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, and international ethics. He has also taught at Indiana State University, Birzeit University (Palestine), East Carolina University, the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), and Boĝaziçi University (Turkey).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center, Main Floor
11:30 am—12:00 pm, Refreshments
12:00 pm—1:00 pm, Presentation

No registration is required—Everyone is welcome!


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Last Updated: 07/16/2014