This fall, Clark’s Higgins School of Humanities presents “How Do We Know?,” a symposium exploring what it means to discover and interpret, listen and rebut, learn and reconsider and better understand evidence in all its forms.
“While it is proverbial to say that facts don’t lie, the interpretation of evidence can be messy and even contradictory,” says Meredith Neuman, director of the Higgins School. “Differences in perception and experience, knowledge and instinct are inherently human and feel even more perplexing in the face of information overload.”
Symposium events will examine how we navigate unfamiliar and uncomfortable topics, and how we balance information from experts with criticism of knowledge that favors existing power structures, she says.
The symposium kicks off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with a community conversation facilitated by Wes DeMarco, professor of philosophy, about knowledge and the pursuit of questions — specifically who, what, when, where, why, and how? From childhood, these questions construct the foundation of knowledge gathering and problem-solving; seemingly basic, but often overlooked, they are essential to progressing from inquiry to answer, from simple thought to complex networks of understanding.
Other lectures and events this fall include, but are not limited to:
Tom Nichols, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, will present “The Death of Expertise” (Oct. 15) about the wave of ill-informed and angry citizenship that distrusts intellectual achievement and expertise, and will ask, “How do we defend against this threat to our well-being and to the future of our democratic institutions?”
Veteran local reporter, producer, and radio host Anthony Brooks will present “A Free Press in Turbulent Times” (Nov. 13), and offer insights on recent attacks on the media, the state of the press today, and the stakes for all of us as consumers of the news.
And continuing the Higgins School’s popular Halloween tradition, Theatre Arts Professor Gino Dilorio, English Professor Jay Elliott, and Jennifer Plante, director of the Writing Center will read scary tales of the uncanny, the unknowable, and the unfathomable in “Shadows of a Doubt” (Oct. 24).
All events are free and open to the public and will be held on the Clark campus. A complete list of events, times, and locations is available online.