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Harvey lecturer to speak on the logic of questions and answers

By Janet Harron | Oct. 4, 2008

The Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics, Dr. Mathieu Marion, will give the Henrietta Harvey Lecture in Philosophy at Memorial University on Wednesday Oct. 8. 

His lecture, Collingwood and the Logic of Questions and Answers, will begin at 8 p.m. in A-1043 of the Arts and Administration Building. A reception will follow.

In addition to the Henrietta Harvey Lecture, Dr. Marion, a professor of philosophy at the Université du Québec à Montréal, will take part in several departmental seminars over the course of his visit to Memorial. 

Dr. James Bradley, head of the Department of Philosophy is delighted to have someone of Dr. Marion’s calibre and reputation coming to Memorial to lecture and interact with students and faculty.

“He is, quite simply, one of Canada’s best philosophers of mathematics and logic,” said Dr. Bradley.

Dr.  Marion will speak on R. G. Collingwood (1889-1943), one of the few unjustly neglected philosophers of the 20th century. Also an archaeologist and historian, Collingwood was, in his day, the foremost specialist on Roman Britain. Reflection on his practice as an archaeologist led him to develop a method for inquiry, which he misleadingly presented in An Autobiography (1939) as a Logic of Questions and Answers, a method which he also sought to apply to anthropology.

Dr. Marion will explain the contemporary relevance of Collingwood’s work by relating this Logic of Questions and Answers through a study of passages from The Idea of History (1946), to the interrogative model of inquiry developed by Jaakko Hintikka, most recently in Socratic Epistemology (2007). 

The Henrietta Harvey Lecture Henrietta Harvey was a Nova Scotian who came to Newfoundland in 1905 to visit her aunt, Lady Whiteway, the wife of Newfoundland’s prime minister. A year later she settled in St. John’s as the wife of St. John’s business man John Harvey. When she died, in 1964, her will directed a substantial portion of her estate to Memorial University. The Henrietta Harvey lectureship is possible in any year where there are funds left over from the funding of the Henrietta Harvey research chair, the primary purpose of the endowment fund left by Ms. Harvey.