The category “monster” disrupts the borders and boundaries of what we consider natural, normal, and even intelligible. Our rational systems of order are upended by the monstrous. In this lecture Dr. Asma will examine the role of monsters in cognition and knowledge, the ethical and political uses of monstrosity, the relation to personal identity, and the problem of evil. A philosophical “monsterology” is committed to the idea that we can better understand the human condition by examining what scares us–what makes us vulnerable.

Speaker: Stephen Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he is a Senior Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture. Asma is the author of ten books, including The Emotional Mind: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition (Harvard Univ. Press, April 2019), Why We Need Religion (Oxford Univ. Press, 2018), The Evolution of Imagination (Univ. of Chicago, 2017), On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford Univ. Press, 2009) and The Gods Drink Whiskey (HarperOne, 2005). He writes regularly for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Aeon magazine.

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