Event Information

Philosopher's Café

Philosopher's Café

Weapons rather than Words? Investigating State Violence as Persuasion

Host: Dr. Jeffrey Wigelsworth, RDP Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences

What would it take for you to change your mind; to change someone else’s mind? Would you listen to reasoned arguments and weigh evidence? What would you do if talking did not work? What if the difference between you and your opponent (for lack of a better word) centred on matters that couldn’t be ignored; would you resort to violence to change their mind? Under what conditions would you consider it acceptable to harm another person over matters of belief? In other words, how far would you go to change someone’s mind? How far would a state go?

Beginning with the 1972 Christmas Bombing campaign at the end of the Vietnam War, then travelling across time from seventeenth-century public executions, to General Sherman’s destruction of Atlanta in the American Civil War, to a disastrous invasion in the Peloponnesian War, and circling back to President Johnson’s 1965 decision to initiate bombing in Vietnam, we will consider the above questions. This talk explores why violence was understood as a necessary tool in bringing people around to a particular viewpoint, belief system, or political ideology. 

The Philosopher's Café promotes open, meaningful dialogue where participants can share ideas and broaden their perspective by considering the views of others.

  • No philosophical training or expertise is required. 
  • Registration is encouraged.
  • Free!
Thursday, October 19, 2023
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Library Main Floor, East End
  Library & Research  

Registration is required. There are 44 seats available.