Date: Wednesday, April 19
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Enrollment: 12 min./30 max.
Register By: April 12
Participants begin with a simple and universal insight: the world is not as we wish it to be. In responding to the call to remake the world, we face the complexity of the issues at hand, the enormous weight of the past, and the recalcitrance of the social and political systems in which we do our work. But of all of these obstacles, cynicism is among the most stubborn and debilitating. The cynic asks us quite bluntly: “why bother?” In this course participants confront cynicism head-on, seeking to understand what it is, where it comes from, and what we can do about it. We will explore several varieties of cynicism, focusing on two mainstream (and often warring) types of cynicism — religious cynicism and scientistic cynicism. Each offers us the same self-fulfilling cynical prophecy: we are fools to believe and act as though this world might be made better.
Megan Mustain, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, where she currently serves as Dean of Graduate Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She received her doctorate and master’s in philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her book, Overcoming Cynicism: William James and the Metaphysics of Engagement, was published in 2011 by Bloomsbury. Megan is recipient of St. Mary’s Distinguished Faculty award and the President’s Award for Excellence, and nominated to the Minnie Stevens Piper award for excellence in teaching.