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Scholars@Hallwalls: Lewis Powell, “Style vs. Substance in Early Modern Philosophy”

February 10, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Please join us in the cinema space at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center!

John Locke called figurative language and the art of rhetoric an abuse of language used “for nothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment”.  Meanwhile, the 17th and 18th centuries were a flourishing time for a huge variety of philosophical styles: dialogues, poems, plays, epistles, and so on.  Locke’s vision of proper philosophical style has largely won out.  In this presentation, Powell will explore some philosophical conflicts surrounding allegedly clear and plain-meaning writing in opposition to more literary/rhetorical forms. 

This event will be simultaneously live-streamed. Click here to watch the live-stream via the Hallwalls website. The talk will begin at ~4:15pm.


About Lewis Powell, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy

Lewis’s research has focused on philosophy of mind and language in the early modern period.  He has published primarily on David Hume, Thomas Reid, and John Locke.  His current research examines the varieties of style/genre that proliferated in that period, and their winnowing over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as in the broader relationship between philosophy and fiction.  Outside of work, some things that bring Lewis particular joy are his niece Quinn, his dog Scully, the music of the Mountain Goats, and the novels of Rosemary Kirstein. 



February 10, 2023
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Humanities Institute


Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
341 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY United States
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