Higgins to present annual philosophy lectures at Linfield

Kathleen HigginsKathleen Higgins, a philosophy professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will present two lectures Oct. 5 and 6 at Linfield College.

The talks are part of the annual Walter Powell-Linfield College Philosophy Lectures at Linfield. They are also part of this year’s Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) lecture series on the campus-wide theme “Air, Water, Earth and Fire: The Ancient Elements on a Changing Planet.”

Higgins will present “Life and Death in Rock: Meditations on Tombstones” Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in Ice Auditorium located in Melrose Hall. She will discuss the symbolic resonances behind stones, which suit them for use in commemorations of the dead, and how many cultures make use of them for this purpose. In an effort to make sense of this phenomenon, Higgins will consider some of the roles stones play in other aspects of human experience and the associations that arise from them.

Higgins will present “The Functionality of the Aesthetic in the Context of Mourning” on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall. She will focus on the context of mourning, and how human beings often turn to aesthetic activity. Higgins will argue that the aesthetic sphere has certain characteristic capabilities that make it especially well suited for helping one deal with bereavement.

Higgins’ areas of research are in continental philosophy, aesthetics and philosophy of music. She is a frequent visiting professor at the University of Auckland and the author of a number of books including, “Comic Relief: Nietzsche’s Gay Science,” “What Nietzsche Really Said” with Robert Solomon, “A Passion for Wisdom,” “A Short History of Philosophy” with Robert Solomon, “The Music of Our Lives” and “Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.” She has edited or co-edited several others on such topics as German idealism, aesthetics, ethics, erotic love and non-Western philosophy. She has been a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University Philosophy Department and Canberra School of Music.

The Walter Powell-Linfield College Annual Philosophy Lectureship is in recognition of a generous gift from Michael Powell in honor of his father. Walter Powell founded Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, the largest private bookstore in the United States with over one million volumes.

The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza, Linfield professor of philosophy, at 503-883-2362 or jilunda@linfield.edu.