Columbia University

Purpose in a Secular Age?

March 23, 2018 at 9:00pm / Roone Arledge Auditorium, Lerner Hall

Columbia University

In the past, religion, tradition, and tribe offered human beings purpose and identity. Where can we find these in a post-religious world? Do we still long for the transcendent?

Professor James K.A. Smith will present the case that secularism does not satisfy and that, when we turn to anything but God for transcendence and purpose, we will not only find disappointment but also contribute to society's polarization.

A panel of Columbia Students from different perspectives will respond by challenging Smith's argument:

Daniel Cohen, B.A. Candidate, Philosophy Molly Gurdon, PhD Candidate, Philosophy Isaac Jean-François, B.A. Candidate, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College. Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Smith is also an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic. He has authored numerous books including "How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor" (2014) and "Who's Afraid of Post-Modernism?: Taking Derrida , Lyotard, and Foucault to Church" (2006)

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James K.A. Smith

Professor of Philosophy

Calvin College
Columbia University