Night Owls

The Crowd at "The Philosophy of Divorce" Night Owls Event
The SRO crowd at Night Owls, "The Philosophy of Divorce," November 2018

The Department of Philosophy designs events to inspire philosophical explorations among students. The craziest, and the most UChicago, of these events is our Night Owls series, which features several faculty-led, late-night conversations each year on arcane philosophical topics. Past in-person events have included discussions such as Is Philosophy a Blood Sport?, Do Minds Exist?, Should We Strive to Live Without Anger and Sadness?, The Philosophy of Divorce, Economics vs. Philosophy: The Battle for Your Soul, Why Is There Organized Violence?, The Meaning of Death, Is Love Worth the Pain?, Let's Get Philosophical about Sex, Does Science Leave Room for Philosophy?, The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and Can Philosophy be Taught? This series was profiled by UChicagoNews (check out the video!), the Chicago Tribune, and The Maroon.

2023-2024 Night Owls Schedule

  • May 2, 2024, 8:00 pm, TBA, with Robin Hanson (Economics, George Mason University), Location: Ida Noyes 3rd Floor Theatre
  • April 19, 2024, TBA, with Joe Swanberg (Film Director), Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes)  
  • April 4, 2024, 8:00 pm, TBA, with Eamon Duede (Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard) and Thomas Pashby (Philosophy, UChicago), Location: Classics 110
  • February 15, 2024, "Antigone," with Jonathan Lear (Philosophy, UChicago), Location: Court Theater
  • February 1, 2024, 8:00 pm, "Are Your Political Opponents Rational?," with Kevin Dorst (Philosophy, MIT), Location: Classics 110
  • January 18, 2024, 8:00 pm, "Life After Climate Change," with Daniel Holz (Physics, UChicago) and David Wallace-Wells (NYT Journalist), Location: Swift Lecture Hall, Room 310A
  • January 13, 2024, 6:30 pm, Screening of May December and discussion afterward with Professors Arnold Brooks and Agnes Callard (Philosophy, UChicago), Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes)  
  • November 2, 2023, 8:00 pm, "Is Travel Worth It?," with Chris Arnade, Location: Swift Lecture Hall, Room 310A
  • October 5, 2023, 9:00 pm, “The Future of Tradition” with Ross Douthat, Location: Mandel Hall
  • September 25, 2023, 6:30 pm, Screening of The Blues Brothers and discussion afterward with Professor Daniel Morgan (Cinema and Media Studies, UChicago), Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes)  

2022-2023 Night Owls Schedule 

  • September 25, 2022, 6:30 pm, Screening of Jurassic Park and discussion with Professor Daniel Morgan (Cinema and Media Studies, UChicago), Location: Doc Films (Ida Noyes) 
  • November 3, 2022, 9:00 pm, “What is an Intellectual?” with Leon Wieseltier, Location: Classics 110
  • January 18, 2023, 8:30 pm, “Should Writers Talk?” with Becca Rothfeld, Location: Ida Noyes 3rd Floor Theatre
  • January 29, 2023, 7:00 pm, Screening of Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry and discussion with Professor Daniel Morgan (Cinema and Media Studies, UChicago), Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes) 
  • February 9, 2023, 9:00 pm, “Is Anything Sacred?” with Robin Hanson, Location: University Church
  • February 18, 2023, 7:00 pm, Screening of The Banshees of Inisherin and discussion with Professors Arnold Brooks and Agnes Callard, Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes) 
  • March 28, 2023, 9:00 pm, "Must we forgive those who have wronged us?" with Elizabeth Bruenig, Location: Ida Noyes 3rd Floor Theatre
  • April 10 and 11, 2023, 7:00 pm, “(Really, Truly) Independent Filmmaking” with Dan Sallitt, Location: Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes) 
  • May 4, 2023, 9:00 pm, “The Gamification of Life” with C. Thi Nguyen, Location: Classics 110

Recent Online Events

Below is a list of speakers who were in conversation with Agnes Callard (Philosophy, UChicago) online:

Spring Quarter 2021:

Sophie-Grace Chappell (Philosophy, Open University), in conversation with Agnes Callard, Gender and Transgender

Hollis Robbins (Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, Sonoma State University), in conversation with Agnes Callard, Black Intellectuals and the Literary Canon

Winter Quarter 2021:

Autumn Quarter 2020:

Spring Quarter 2020:

(NB: To read winning entries in our spring essay contests, see our Virtual Night Owls Website.)

  • Patrick Jagoda (English, Cinema and Media Studies, UChicago), Life Online: Community or Isolation?
  • Stephen White (Philosophy, Northwestern), The End of the World?
  • Daniel Diermeier (Provost, Harris School, UChicago), Why Do Universities Matter? 
  • Kevin Hector (Divinity School, UChicago), Are We Obligated to Love Someone?
  • Brian Frye (University of Kentucky Law School), A Defense of Plagiarism 
  • Ethan Bueno de Mesquita (Harris School, UChicago), The Perils of Quantification
  • Abe Macabee, and Izzy University of Chicago Laboratory School Students), What Does It Mean to Be a Child?
  • Chris Kennedy (Linguistics, UChicago), Is Language a Game?
  • Daniel Morgan (Cinema and Media Studies, UChicago), Why Movies Matter

Past Night Owls Event Videos

Here are a few highlights from "The Philosophy of Divorce," in which formerly married UChicago philosophers Ben Callard and Agnes Callard respond to each other's questions and to student questions. Here is the full video.

Here are a few highlights from "Economics vs. Philosophy: The Battle for Your Soul," featuring Agnes Callard and George Mason University Economist Tyler Cowan. Here is the full video.

Here are a few highlights from "Let's Get Philosophical about Sex," featuring Agnes Callard and Rebecca Kukla (philosophy, Georgetown University). Here is the full video (note that there are some difficulties with the microphones).

 

Poster for "The Dangers of Public Philosophy" event
Socrates, Bill S. Preston, and Ted "Theodore" Logan being dangerous