Seymour Riklin Memorial Lecture in Philosophy

Made possible by Dolorais Riklin and friends, the annual Seymour Riklin Memorial Lecture is an accessible philosophical talk on a topic of current interest, which is free to attend and open to the public. It honors Seymour Riklin (1914-96), a major figure in humanities education in Metropolitan Detroit. The inaugural Riklin Lecture, "Feminist Internationalism: A Defence of Universal Values," was delivered by Professor Martha Nussbaum (U Chicago) on January 15, 1998.

Past Riklin lectures

Semester Speaker Title
2023/24 George Yancy African American Philosophy: Philosophical Reflection Under the weight of Anti-Blackness
2022/23 Elizabeth Anderson What Should the Work Ethic Mean for Us Today?
2019/20 Charles Mills Liberalism and Racial Justice
2018/19 Alexander Nehamas Metaphors in Our Lives: 'I Love You For Yourself'
2017/18 Lewis Gordon Thinking Race Constructively" (view/listen)
2016/17 Sally Haslanger Culture and Critique: How Do We Change Society for the Better?
2015/16 Kwame Anthony Appiah What is the Point of the Humanities?
2014/15 Susan Wolf Character and Responsibility
2013/14 Tamar Szabó Gendler The Costs of Unintentional Racial Bias
2012/13 John W. Carroll Three Paradoxes of Time Travel
2011/12 Seana Shiffrin Lies and the Murderer Next Door
2010/11 Geoffrey Sayre-McCord Evolution and Moral Agency
2009/10 Alfred Mele Free Will and Neuroscience
2008/9 Roy Sorensen Visual Paradoxes
2007/8 Alastair Norcross Human Cloning: The Ethical Issues
2006/7 Peter Kivy Mozart's Skull: Looking for Genius (In All the Wrong Places)
2005/6 Noretta Koertge Science in the 21st Century: Canons on the Right, Cannons on the Left
2004/5 Owen Flanagan Minds, Morals, and the Meaning of Life
2003/4 Daniel C. Dennett Real Consciousness, Real Freedom, and 'Real Magic'
2002/3 Noël Carroll Art and Human Nature
2001/2 Laurence Thomas Forgiving the Unforgivable
2000/1 Ted Cohen If I Were Someone Else: Fragmentary Thoughts about Understanding One Another
1999/2000 Margaret P. Batlin Sex and Consequences: Global Population Growth and Reproductive Rights
1998/99 Martha Nussbaum Feminist Internationalism: A Defence of Universal Values

Seymour Riklin (1914-1996)

Seymour RiklinSeymour Riklin was born in Russia on October 18, 1914. His family emigrated when he was six years old and settled in Detroit. He graduated from Northern High School; received his B.A. from Wayne (later Wayne State) University; received a master's in English from the University of Chicago; and after several years in the services received a master's in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Seymour was a major figure in humanities education in Metropolitan Detroit. During his career, he taught at the University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University and Wayne State University. He served as assistant director of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Detroit (which later became Detroit Adventure)an exciting program that offered lectures, poetry readings and a film series, which all drew large audiences. The film series eventually became the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which Seymour co-founded and to which he served as an adviser. He produced and moderated the award-winning television series "Conversations in Depth" for PBS and hosted numerous radio programs on WDET, including "This I Like," which was re-broadcasted by 30 commercial and educational stations in the U.S. and Canada. He edited the books "Children Who Hate" and "Controls from Within" by Fritz Redl and David Wineman and for several years edited program notes for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He twice received the Adult Education Association of Michigan's Teacher of the Year Award.

Despite "officially" retiring in 1985, Seymour continued to teach philosophy for Henry Ford Community College, Oakland University, the College for Creative Studies and Wayne State University until ill health forced him to retire a second time in 1991.

Seymour Riklin was much respected by his students and academic colleagues. Described by many as a Renaissance man, his passion for knowledge and learning never abated. During the year before his death, on May 24, 1996, he had a tutor come to his home to teach him a foreign language.