Conversations on Compassion 2016

Our inaugural four-week lecture series to explore diverse perspectives on compassion. Learn how the cultivation of this essential human trait benefits all beings from the individual to the environment. 

Jan. 20, 2016
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy and Compassion
Al Kaszniak, Prof. Emeritus, Department of Psychology

Historically, science has had relatively little to say about empathy and compassion. Recently, however, the new area of investigation known as social neuroscience has brought together approaches from social and cultural psychology, neuroscience, and emotion science to study brain processes related to empathy and compassion. Al Kaszniak, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology examines how empathy and compassion differ, what has been learned from the study of other animal species, and how such approaches as human functional brain imaging have contributed to new understandings. Also included is an exploration of recent research on compassion in both long-term and short-term meditation practitioners. 

 

 Jan. 27, 2016
How Altruistic Should We Be?
Michael Gill, Director, Department of Philosophy

Some people in the world today lack the resources to live a fully decent human life, while others have more than enough for plentiful non-essential luxuries. Michael Gill, Director, Department of Philosophy explores the extent to which the well off are morally obligated to help the poor. Is there a limit to how much one should be expected to give, or does virtue require (what has recently been called) “extreme altruism”? Dr. Gill also discussed a recent best-selling book on this subject called Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help. 

Is there a limit to how much one should be expected to give, or does virtue require “extreme altruism”? Explore what it means to be compassionate in considering the needs of all in this compelling conversation.

 

Feb. 3, 2016
Climate, Environment and Compassion
Gregg Garfin, Deputy Director, Institute of the Environment 

How do the power and possibilities of compassion intersect with climate and environmental change? In a time when species are threatened with extinction, and our global climate and environment is changing at such a rapid pace, cultivating compassion within ourselves, and applying a compassionate attitude may help us to understand and protect the living world.

 

Feb. 10, 2016
Can Compassion and Capitalism Exist Together?
Alok Appadurai, Co-Founder, Fed By Threads

What does compassionate entrepreneurism look like? As consumers, how can our choices be an expression of compassion? Take a closer look at how one local entrepreneur is setting out to change the clothing industry, and feed hungry Americans through an inspiring business model that will change the way you think about 'eco-fashion'. Alok Appadurai, co-owner of sustainable clothing boutique Fed By Threads in downtown Tucson, presented this exciting conversation.