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Aug. 25-Sept. 29: Robert Boyle Memorial Lecture Series

FREDERICK, Md.—A world-renowned fellow of the faculty of philosophy at Oxford University will be giving a series of lectures on higher education, history, science, ethics and criminal justice in honor of a Hood College professor who passed away May 1.

Daniel N. Robinson, Ph.D., a distinguished research professor emeritus at Georgetown University and author of multiple books on psychology, philosophy, science and law, will give the Robert Boyle Memorial Lectures every Tuesday from Aug. 25 to Sept. 29 in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons at 7 p.m. Robert Boyle was a passionate and a beloved professor of psychology who served the Hood College community in many ways.

In the Aug. 25 lecture “Higher Education: What Makes It ‘Higher’?,” Robinson will explain that education is higher not because it requires more time or more courses and grades, but because it addresses issues that are themselves higher; higher in the order of things able to shape or challenge the aspirations of a rational animal.

Robinson’s Sept. 1 “The Founders’ Conception of Education for a Self-Governing People” lecture will explore John Adams’, Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s views on education. These founders were explicit on the nature of an education required of self-governing citizens, especially those of humble birth and possessions. Robinson will pose the question: Do we prepare today's children in ways that might ground a decent and purposeful civic life?

On Sept. 8, the “‘Luck’ and Achievement” lecture will discuss how white privilege, gender bias and even the advantages of being tall play into achievement in life, asking the question: How is moral and constitutive luck to be understood?

The “‘Scientism’ and Its Orthodoxies” lecture on Sept. 15 will pose scientific and philosophical questions including: Do brains make decisions?; Are questions about evolutionary theory off limits?; Is moral science finally and merely a set of issues to be settled by science?; Which science?; and What is science?

The Sept. 22 “Culture and Justice” lecture will talk about the international courts claiming to protect universal human rights but asks the question: What is universal within the larger human community of cultural diversity?

Robinson will finish the lecture series on Sept. 29 with “Life and Its ‘Value’,” talking about the preservation of human life. Scarce and costly resources, as well as significant but entirely personal values, raise questions about the justifications for saving and for taking life. He will inquire how a critical philosophical examination might guide such decisions and whether people are able, finally, to assign a value to any given life.

All lectures in this series are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Ingrid Farreras, organizer of the lecture series, at or 301-696-3762.