Night Owls

The Crowd at "The Philosophy of Divorce" Night Owls Event--Note the "Where Fun Comes to Die" t-shirt!
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 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? and The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. This series was profiled by UChicagoNews (check out the video!), the Chicago Tribune, and The Maroon (here and here as well).

2020 Autumn Quarter Online Events

Below are the two speakers who will be in conversation with Agnes Callard (Philosophy, UChicago):

Is Meritocracy Evil? with Fredrik DeBoer (author of The Cult of Smart), Wednesday, October 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (Central Time)

Should the People Rule? with Matthew Landauer (Political Science, UChicago), Wednesday, October 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m. (Central Time)

2020 Spring Quarter Night Owls Online Events

Below is a list of speakers who were in conversation with Agnes Callard (Philosophy, UChicago) this spring quarter. For information on how to see these videos and 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. The full video is here.

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

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

Do Minds Exist?