Liberal Arts Lecture Series Features Philosophy Talk Oct. 4

Katie Terezakis reveals ‘the most important philosopher you’ve never heard of’




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Katie Terezakis

Those following Katie Terezakis’ research already know her choice as the world’s most important ‘unknown’ philosopher. While the names John Locke, Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon may sound vaguely familiar, it’s unlikely most have ever heard of the philosopher John William Miller—until now.

Terezakis, associate professor of philosophy in Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Liberal Arts, presents “The Most Important Philosopher You’ve Never Heard Of,” 4-6 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Campus Center Reading Room. A brief welcome reception precedes Terezakis’ talk. A question-and-answer session follows.

Terezakis will explore the life and work of Miller, a Rochester, N.Y., native, who spent his academic career in the Berkshire Mountains writing, but publishing almost nothing.

“Though he turned his back on the intensifying professionalization of philosophy, Miller educated several generations of thinkers who proved eager to engage his work, and he labored unceasingly on his own philosophical system—the elaboration of which stretched to thousands of pages and a large set of finished works, a number of which his former students and colleagues have published posthumously,” Terezakis says. “In fact, as these writings show, Miller exemplifies a pivotal moment in American intellectual life. Miller took up the most important debates of philosophical modernity, contributing to them in a way that promises to reframe our understanding of the historical, protean character of human cognition and knowledge.”

In her talk, Terezakis will explore Miller’s approach and his philosophical program “in hopes of both illustrating the contours of his thinking and suggesting its relevance for our contemporary considerations,” she adds.

Terezakis’ areas of expertise include critical theory, aesthetics, 18th- and 19th-century philosophy and the philosophy of language. She is completing The Philosopher’s Measuring Stick: John William Miller and the Reinvention of Idealism, a book reconstructing Miller’s work and applying it in an analysis of authority, authoritarianism and the conditions of democratic pluralism.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served; RSVP to Marsha Johnson at 585-475-2076 or mmjsrs@rit.edu.

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Katie Terezakis