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 Prof. Martha Nussbaum (U Chicago) on January 15, 1998.

Past Riklin Lectures

2018–19:      Alexander Nehamas, "Metaphors in Our Lives: 'I Love You For Yourself'"

2017–18:      Lewis Gordon, "Thinking Race Constructively" (Echo Recording)

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 (1914–96)

Seymour 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 Masters degree in English from the University of Chicago; and—after several years in the services—received a Masters degree 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.

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