College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

4th annual James W. Carey Memorial Lecture

Date: September 17, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Loosemore Auditorium

This fall, for the 4th annual James W. Carey Memorial Lecture on Wednesday September 17 at 7:00 in Loosemore Auditorium, the Communication Studies Major of the School of Communications, the School of Communications will be featuring Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Social Psychology at Skidmore College. 

The topic he will address is related to his work in Terror Management and how people's fear of death influences their attitudes and behaviors. 


Summary of Dr. Solomon's Lecture:

According to cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, the uniquely human fear of death has a pervasive effect on human beings' thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Humans manage the terror of death by adhering to culturally constructed beliefs about reality that provide a sense that one is a person of value in a world of meaning, and thus eligible for either literal or symbolic immortality.  The quest for immortality underlies some of humankind’s most noble achievements. However, it also engenders some of our most ignominious affectations, including: hostility and disdain for people with different beliefs; indifference to, or contempt for, the natural environment; and, the mindless pursuit of material possessions—which, if unchecked, may render humans the first form of life responsible for their own extinction.  I will provide an overview of Becker's ideas and empirical work that corroborates them, and conclude by pondering the implications of these ideas for individual and social behavior.