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College News

6th Annual Philosophy Day Scheduled for November 19-20 at St. John Fisher College


St. John Fisher College will host "Philosophy Day: The Medium and the Message" on Wednesday, November 19 and Thursday, November 20 in the Midlevel of the Golisano Gateway on campus. "World Philosophy Day" is observed globally as an occasion for people to reflect upon the importance of critical thinking, world peace, international cooperation, and the love of wisdom. The sessions at Fisher are free and open to the public.

The events will begin on November 19 at 6:30 p.m. with a showing of a documentary film about Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), the Canadian communications expert and literary critic famous for expressions such as: "The world is a global village," "Cool is involving, hot is not," and "The medium is the message."

A frequent visitor to St. John Fisher College, McLuhan received an honorary degree in 1969 and was the keynote speaker at that year's commencement ceremony. The documentary, narrated by Tom Wolfe, was produced and directed by McLuhan's daughter, Stephanie. A panel discussion with Fisher faculty and former faculty, who knew and worked with McLuhan, will immediately follow the screening of the film.

On November 20, sessions will begin at 8 a.m. and are scheduled through 9 p.m. Topics to be discussed include "The Wilderness in Philosophy," "Cosmetics and the Cosmos," "Gendered Images in Sports Films," and "Plate and Neurobiology." Presenters include faculty and students from St. John Fisher College, Monroe Community College, Daemen College, Medaille College, as well as a Rochester City School District psychologist, and Miss USA 1979, Mary Therese Friel. A philosophical "Jeopardy" game will also be played in the afternoon. The evening will conclude with a showing of the 1998 film, "The Truman Show," starring Jim Carrey.

Philosophy Day is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an agency of the United Nations. UNESCO was founded in November 1945 and is dedicated to furthering the education of the world beyond classrooms and the publication of scientific breakthroughs.

The full Philosophy Day schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, November 19

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

A showing of the documentary “Marshall McLuhan: The Man and His Message,” hosted by Tom Wolfe and directed by Stephanie McLuhan
A panel discussion will immediately follow. Panel participants are: Diane Lucas, Archivist, St. John Fisher College; Leo Hetzler, CSB, Department of English, St. John Fisher College; and Thomas Proietti, Department of Communications, Monroe Community College.

Thursday, November 20

8:00 – 9:20 a.m.

Roundtable I: The Call of the Wild
Participants: Welcome by David Pate, St. John Fisher College Dean of Arts and Sciences; Sarah White (School Psychologist, Rochester City School District): “The Role of the School Psychologist”; Mark Overmyer (SJFC student): “Gary Snyder, the Wild, and You”; Charles Natoli (Philosophy, SJFC): “The Wilderness in Philosophy”

9:30 – 10:50 a.m.

Roundtable II: Appearance and Reality
Participants: Jonathan Howard (SJFC alum): “Love @ First Type: Online Dating and the Allegory of the Cave”; Tim Madigan (Philosophy, SJFC): “ Cosmetics and the Cosmos”; Heather Cartonia (SJFC student): “Sephora and Philosophy”; Mary Therese Friel (Fisher alum, Miss USA 1979 and Owner, Mary Therese Friel, LLC): “Coaching Models and Beauty Pageant Contestants”


11:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.

Roundtable III: The Medium and the Message
Participants: Gerald Erion (Philosophy, Medaille College): “Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death“; Jeremy Sarachan (Communication/Journalism, SJFC): “A Media or A Place: Virtual Worlds as a Form of Interpersonal Communication”; David E. White (Philosophy, SJFC): “Walter Lippmann: Stereotypes and Public Opinion“

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Luncheon: Philosophical Jeopardy
Master of Ceremonies: Susan Dawn Wake (Philosophy, SJFC). Test your knowledge of philosophy and win “valuable” prizes. Also, if time permits, join us for a game of “Pin the Tale on Buridan’s Ass”

1:45 – 3:05 p.m.

Roundtable IV: Media Reality
Participants: Emily Dane (Sport Studies, SJFC):  “Gendered Images in Sport Films: What Messages Are Being Sent?; Elizabeth Laidlaw (Philosophy, Monroe Community College): “Platonic Neurobiology”; James Moran (Philosophy, Daemen College): “Bioethics in the Media”

3:10 – 4:30 p.m.

Roundtable V: McLuhan Rides Again
An encore showing of the documentary “Marshall McLuhan: The Man and His Message”

4:35 – 5:55 p.m.

Roundtable VI: Advertising Ethics
Participants: Erica Eaton and Fionnuala Regan (English, SFJC): A showing of the film No Logo (42 minutes) with discussion to follow

6:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Dinner Break

6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Roundtable VII: “The Truman Show” at 10: A ‘Reality’ Show Ahead of its Time
A showing of the 1998 film, “The Truman Show,” starring Jim Carrey. Discussion to follow.

For more information about Philosophy Day at St. John Fisher College, please contact Dr. Tim Madigan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, at (585) 385-5259 or

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