Rutland Institute for Ethics

2014-2015 Presidential Colloquium


Remembering, Reckoning and Responsibility

The theme of this year’s Presidential Colloquium, “Remembering, Reckoning and Responsibility,” was chosen with an eye to alignment with the summer reading program for incoming freshmen as well as links to a series on “Race and the University,” sponsored by the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

The Colloquium will explore the significance of where we have been in knowing who we are now. This is an important question on the societal, organizational, and individual level. It invites attention to cognitive and social biases that are, more often than not, unnoticed and unacknowledged, but strongly influence judgments and decisions about individual action as well as public policy. And, most important, what’s at stake here is, in a word, “character,” the character of an organization or an individual, for example.

The aim of the Presidential Colloquium is to provide opportunities for Clemson University students and faculty, as well as members of the community to come together to explore important issues. The colloquium comprises various events spread over the academic year, e.g., speakers, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and films. In every case the event is linked to the colloquium theme, which is selected with an eye to its integration “across the curriculum.

October 7, 2014

Academic Success Center 118

Dr. Todd May

Professor of Philosophy, Clemson University

Dr. Todd May
Todd May

"What Makes Life Meaningful?"

People often think that unless our lives are given meaning by God or some larger cosmic order, then they are meaningless. However, there is at least one way to think about what makes a human life meaningful that doesn't rely on a meaning that is already out there. This paper sketches a new way to think about the meaningfulness of a life.

Todd May is Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities. He is the author of 13 books, including the forthcoming A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe (University of Chicago Press). More about Professor May and his books.

The Rutland Institute for Ethics
Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities



Student Commentators

Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily Miller is a senior majoring in philosophy with an emphasis in law, liberty, and justice and minoring in Spanish. She is involved in Chi Omega sorority, Order of Omega Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Mortar Board Honor Society, Blue Key Honor Society , and is an ambassador for Global L.E.A.D. study abroad . She is currently in the process of applying to law school to pursue a career in the legal profession.
Chameo Frierson
Chameo Frierson
Chameo Frierson is a junior majoring in philosophy. He is also an Army ROTC Cadet. He aspires to be an officer in the United States Army or work in federal law enforcement.
Ethan Moore
Ethan Moore
Ethan Moore is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy He is Vice President of the English Majors Organization and a Clemson Writing Fellow. After graduation he intends to enter into full-time Christian vocational ministry, which will mean attending seminary just as soon as he has enough money to do so.
Eric Horton
Eric Horton
Eric Horton a senior majoring in philosophy. After graduation, Horton, from Cincinnati, Ohio plans to take few years off of school to work and travel before returning to study philosophy in graduate school.


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