Lectures and Events

Engage with the community through one of SFU Continuing Studies’ public lectures, events, or forums. Most are free, and admission is open to anyone. Some events require reservations.

August 2015

There are no events scheduled at this time.

September 2015

October 2015

  • Thu, 01 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Science and Government Policy
    The recent CBC documentary, “The Silence of the Labs” describes the systematic dismantling of many of Canada's top scientific laboratories. These labs were generating data that could have been used to modify and steer government policy. Some have said that actions such as these show that there is a "war against science" in Canada. Do you agree, or is that an exaggerated claim? What should be the relationship between government and scientists?
  • Mon, 05 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Capitalism and the Environment
    Both author-activist Naomi Klein and Pope Francis (in his recent encyclical) blame capitalism for our environmental crisis, implicitly suggesting that the economic model that has brought such an increase in wealth and well-being to the world is now outdated. Since at least Marx, capitalism has been blamed for many human evils, but viable alternatives have proven elusive.
  • Tue, 06 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | First Nations in Canada: What Role for Allies?
    In recent years, there has been considerable focus on promoting access to clean water, health care and other basic services in the developing world. But have we done enough to improve access to those services in our own country? First Nations in Canada have been largely segregated and ignored for years. In the wake of the recent final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, do you see a role for non-Aboriginal Canadians in advocating for First Nations to have access to the same type and level of services that other Canadians have?
  • Tue, 06 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | What Does It Mean to Be Italian in Canada?
    There is both tradition and novelty connected to being Italian in Canada. Join us for a discussion of questions such as who is an Italian-Canadian? Do new immigrants relate to the old or new stereotypes? What does it mean to be Italian?
  • Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Privilege
    What is the face of privilege today?
  • Wed, 14 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Does Internet Culture Produce Narcissistic Loners?
    We wonder how social social networking really is.
  • Thu, 15 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Free Will
    Guest Speaker: <i>Elena Bounina</i> <p>What is free will from the point of view of modern science?</p>
  • Thu, 15 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Sustainability and Perpetual Economic Growth
    Can we foster and establish slow-growth or no-growth economic systems capable of achieving true, robust sustainability?
  • Fri, 16 Oct 2015 10:30 AM
    Philosophers' Café | The Role of Lobbyists in Policy-Making?
    Lobbyists attempt to influence decisions made by government officials, elected or otherwise. Do lobbyists support or thwart the democratic process? How important is transparency about their activities and sponsors?
  • Fri, 16 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Power and Corruption
    Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Can this tendency be resisted? Do the potentially corrupt tend to seek power?
  • Mon, 19 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Genome Editing: An End to Genetic Disease?
    Recent advances in molecular biology techniques, most notably the development of Crispr, allow us to make specific changes to the DNA of cells. Crispr technology has the potential to correct aberrant genes causing disease, but how strictly should it be regulated? The ability to change any gene at will provides the ultimate tool for making “designer babies” and opens up many ethical questions.
  • Mon, 19 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Augmented Humanity: Should We Surrender Our Senses to Machines?
    Humans are increasingly looking to technology to enhance their daily lives. With the rise of the Cyborg Foundation, we appear to be moving towards a human-machine merger. How does this benefit or hold back society? Is it the next step in human evolution? Where do we draw the line?
  • Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:00 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Making a Meaningful Contribution
    The Right Livelihood Award "honours and supports those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” What types of people are most likely to contribute in this way? If you could, whom would you honour with the award?
  • October 21, 2015
    SFU Vancouver 2015 Open House
  • Wed, 21 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Cowardice
    We’ll consider cowardice from historical and philosophical perspectives.
  • Wed, 21 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Inclusive City Café | Helping Immigrants Integrate
    Every year as many as 250,000 people immigrate to Canada from other countries. Feelings of loss, culture shock, separation from family, and language difficulties can all contribute to their stress and impede their integration. What happens when immigrants don’t feel they belong? What can we do to help immigrants integrate?
  • Thu, 22 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café |Post-Federal Election: What Now?
    What do the recent election results mean for Canada’s next generation(s)? Is the (ever-warming) sky going to fall? Or, if a coalition government is elected, how long until it falls? How do the results of this first-past-the-post vote augur for the ideal we call democracy?
  • Fri, 23 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Alzheimer's Disease: Prevention or Cure?
    As of 2015, 44 million people worldwide are living with dementia. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Total health-care costs for dementia amount to more than one per cent of the global GDP. The World Health Organization has set the goal of finding a cure or disease modifying therapy for dementia by 2025. Is a cure for dementia on the horizon? Are there things we can do now to reduce our risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, or is our cognitive future completely out of our hands?
  • Mon, 26 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Reefer Madness: Are Vancouver's New Dispensary Rules a Case Study in Contradiction?
    Vancouver City Council has recently approved a licensing regime for marijuana dispensaries in the City that include regulations about how close the dispensaries can be from schools, community centres and each other. There is also a licensing fee of $30,000. Yet federal criminal law provides that the sale and use of marijuana is illegal, unless the marijuana is obtained under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes regulations by mail order and under doctor's prescription. How are these "dispensaries" able to legally operate under license granted by the City without contravening federal criminal law? Why isn't the $30,000 licensing fee considered proceeds of crime? If they are illegal, why aren't the police closing down the “dispensaries”? <p> The laws on marijuana possession and use are changing, particularly in Washington State and Colorado. In Canada, change has mainly come from our Supreme Court. Are we witnessing a case study in how laws can be “changed” in Canada through the courts, the efforts of citizen advocates, and media relations? </p>
  • Tue, 27 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Are Western Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) a Manifestation of the “White-Man’s Burden”?
    Much has been written about the role of NGOs in global development and international relations. Most international NGOs are Western-funded entities that carry out mandates related to education, gender equality, democracy and secularism in developing countries. What are the roles of these entities? What are the indicators of their success? Are they inherently racist entities imposing a foreign perspective and structure on traditional societies, or predominantly forces for good? Are they in essence imperialistic?
  • Tue, 27 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Retribution, Punishment and Justice
    We seem to have natural impulses to see wrongdoers “pay the price,” often through suffering or deprivation. These impulses show up in traditional retributive justice systems and also in our daily lives. What motivates our desire to punish? Can punishment be morally justified, perhaps based on fairness? And is the concept of restorative justice at odds with our desire for retribution?
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2015 2:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café |“In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World.”
    “In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World.” (Ghandi)<p> What do you understand those words to mean? How have these words influenced your life thus far, and how have you responded?
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Living in a Photoshopped World
    Although we know that the human images we see in magazines, movies and online are digitally enhanced and manipulated, we still judge ourselves in relation to them, often with very damaging results. Why can't we stop ourselves? What can we do to lessen the negative effects of being surrounded by these unrealistic images?
  • Thu, 29 Oct 2015 6:00 PM
    Bike Café | From E-bikes to Cargo Trikes: Which Rides Are Right for You?
    Where does your current bike fall short in meeting your needs? Are there stigmas around adult tricycles, recumbent bikes and "fixies"?
  • Thu, 29 Oct 2015 7:00 PM
    Teen Café | Lying
    When is it okay to lie?
  • Sat, 28 Nov 2015 4:00 PM
    Art Salons | The RBC Painting Prize
    The purpose of the RBC painting prize is to support emerging Canadian artists. Curator Shaun Dacey will discuss the works on view. <p> For more information about the exhibit, please visit the <a href= "http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca">Contemporary Art Gallery website.</a></p>

November 2015

  • Mon, 02 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Inequality: What to Do?
    Most agree that inequality is on the rise, but there is less agreement about the causes of the increase and even less about what, if anything, should be done about it.
  • Tue, 03 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Losing Sleep in a Sped-Up World
    Studies show that most people today sleep less than in the past. However, some argue that the quality of sleep has improved. At the same time as work and other obligations cut into sleeping time, millions of people in Canada and around the world deal with insomnia on a regular basis. Why can't we get the sleep we want? And what does it mean to be awake in the night?
  • Thu, 05 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Pretending and the Role of Facebook
    Are we pretending to be what we are not? Are our addictions to posting selfies and updating our “status” on Facebook signs of selfishness and narcissism?
  • Tue, 10 Nov 2015 6:00 PM
    Bike Café | Best Practices: What Can We Learn From Other Cities?
    With cycling growing (if not exploding) around the world, this is a great time to experience how other cities and their leaders, urban designers, engineers, businesses and a rich diversity of cyclists, are experimenting with new ideas - whether on infrastructure, regulation, education, or even fashion. Come share your experiences and insights - particularly those that would benefit Vancouver.
  • Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Self-Serving Bias
    How do we overcome the universal delusion?
  • Sat, 14 Nov 2015 10:30 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Immortality and Reincarnation
    Is there life after this life?
  • Mon, 16 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Humour as a Weapon: Relax, It's Just a Joke
    Humour can bring healing, hope and mass social change when used in the right ways. But in the wrong hands, it can also be a weapon that victimizes and reinforces harmful stereotypes. Is a joke ever "just a joke"? Should we be more responsible about what we say or are we just becoming too sensitive?
  • Tue, 17 Nov 2015 10:00 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Acquiring Empathy
    Empathy is the ability to understand another and communicate that understanding. It is an important component of counselling and many other types of human relations. In light of that, how can one acquire or increase this ability? When is it essential?
  • Wed, 18 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Victims and Victimhood
    We’ll consider the various attitudes with which we respond to victims.
  • Wed, 18 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Inclusive City Café | Volunteering: A Foreign Concept?
    Volunteering is vital to a just and democratic society. It fosters civic pride and responsibility and strengthens our communities. But is volunteering a foreign concept to Canadian immigrants? Or is that a myth? We’ll discuss how our community benefits from immigrant volunteers and what we can do to provide more and better volunteer opportunities for immigrants.
  • Thu, 19 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Art, science and religion
    The creative urge to express ourselves, the critical study of the world around us using our rational faculties, and belief systems that give our lives meaning – these three overlapping, sometimes contradictory paradigms have been with us since the dawn of humanity. What roles do they play in human development? Are they inevitable or universal? Can they continue to coexist?
  • Thu, 19 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Making Decisions
    Guest Speaker: <i>Arslan Illiassov</i> <p>How do people make important decisions about their lives? </p>
  • Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:30 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Election Reflection
    What were the significant events in the lead-up to the election and during the campaign? What do the results mean for Canada?
  • Fri, 20 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Near-Death Experiences
    Some people have come close to dying, or even been labelled clinically dead, yet lived to talk about it. What can a person learn from a near-death experience? Could such a person be confused or mistaken in making sense of his or her experience? Can the rest of us learn anything from those experiences?
  • Tue, 24 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | A**holes: Are They Really Amongst Us?
    In our everyday conversation we tend to refer to some individuals as “a**holes.” So what is the definition of an a**hole? Is a**holeness a permanent state of being or a temporary condition? Are as**holes necessarily bad or are there perhaps some who are actually reasonable people who happen to push our buttons?
  • Tue, 24 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | The Fiscal Burden of Recent Immigrants
    According to Statistics Canada, recent immigrants have below-average incomes. What implications does this have for tax revenues and government budgets?
  • Wed, 25 Nov 2015 2:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café |“What Is it You Plan to Do with Your One Wild and Precious Life?”
    Poet Mary Oliver posed this provoking question. At one level, the answer is…live it! Well, duh. But perhaps there are other levels and answers worth interrogating and exploring.
  • Wed, 25 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Testimony and Trust
    Our lives are constantly flooded with information that is given to us through the medium of conversation, that is, through the words of others. What allows us to trust the words of others? How do we avoid gullibility? What are the barriers to trust? How do we gain knowledge from the words of others?
  • Thu, 26 Nov 2015 6:00 PM
    Bike Café | Cycling, Walking, Driving: What Really Are the Rules?
    As the city adds more kinds of functionality to its transportation infrastructure, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are finding ever more opportunities to get in each other’s way. Should street laws be revamped to reflect more sustainable movement practices and patterns? Or is the current small set of rules sufficient? Does anyone even know what all the rules are?
  • Thu, 26 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Is Post-Secondary Education Worthwhile?
    Is Post-secondary Education Worthwhile?Is Many European countries offer free university courses (even to foreign students), while at the same time North American schools are increasingly priced beyond reach of the middle class. What would a business school cost-benefit analysis suggest about the wisdom of investing in tuition versus incremental opportunity rates?<p> *<i>Current high school students and recent graduates are encouraged to attend. </i></p>
  • Thu, 26 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Teen Café | Identity
    How can you tell who you are?
  • Fri, 27 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Dreams as Keys to the Collective Unconscious
    Everyone dreams. They mean different things to different people. But do they have an objective meaning? Are they solely personal phenomena? Or do they have a deeper more ancient meaning? Are they part of a collective unconscious? Who are the key thinkers on dream theory? Come and share your thoughts and dreams!
  • Sat, 28 Nov 2015 1:30 PM
    Saturday Forum | SFU At 50: What About the Next 50 Years?
  • Mon, 30 Nov 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Outrage Culture
    Many say we are living in an outrage culture, where social media facilitates instant mob justice at the expense of open dialogues and debates. Others say social media provides us with an unprecedented opportunity for collective monitoring of responsible public discourse. We will discuss the ethics of public engagement, the impact of public shaming and the role of compassion in the age of social media.

December 2015

  • Tue, 01 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | The Social Life of Water
    With at least 50 percent of the human body and 70 percent of the planet composed of water, this vital element plays a key role in our private and social worlds. Is water a space that connects or divides us? Is access to clean water a human right? Who owns water and who is allowed to use it?
  • Thu, 03 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | We Landed on a Comet: So What
    Last year the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission landed a probe on a comet for the first time in history. What does this extraordinary achievement in space mean for our world here on Earth? What can we learn from it?
  • Mon, 07 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Fortuna
    Are we all subject to a grand plan? Do we underrate the extent to which our success or failure is a product of events beyond our control? To what extent are our lives a product of accident and luck?
  • Wed, 09 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Loving and Hating Democracy
    We'll discuss "the worst form of government except for all the others."
  • Fri, 11 Dec 2015 12:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Fear of God
    Is there wisdom in it?
  • Mon, 14 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Can Society Afford the Costs of Medical Advances?
    With the advances in preventive medicine, diagnostics and new treatment regimens, we are living longer and longer. But these advances come at a cost. Sophisticated drugs can cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands per patient per year. Death rates from many diseases are decreasing but conditions of the elderly, such as dementia, are on the rise. The longer we live, the greater the financial burden to society and ourselves. How do we get the balance right?
  • Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:00 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Biomimicry: Solutions in Nature
    Biomimicry is the process of solving human challenges by imitating nature. What patterns and processes in nature could provide insight into human problems? What current examples illustrate how human enterprise appears to imitate nature?
  • Wed, 16 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Sticks and Stones
    We'll explore the philosophy of insults.
  • Wed, 16 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Inclusive City Café | Surrey Immigrant Youth: Challenges and Opportunities
    The City of Surrey is growing by around 1,000 people per month, and one-third of the population is under 19. Our schools are overflowing and the strain on support staff is intense. How does this affect our newcomer youth? What are some opportunities to engage youth in the city?
  • Thu, 17 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Water Issues in an Era of Climate Change
    Some of us work hard to conserve water in our households and communities, while others continue to be quite wasteful. How do we become as water-efficient as possible?
  • Thu, 17 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | The Structure of the Universe
    How is our universe is structured and what is the anthropic principle?
  • Thu, 17 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Holidays: An Opportunity for Wild and Drunken Revelry?
    Staff Christmas parties, the May long weekend, Saturday Night Live’s “drunk uncle” at Thanksgiving…Rather than stewing over political correctness and commercialism, perhaps a better approach is to recall how ancient holidays were, ahhh, rather spirited affairs. How do you think holidays should be marked?
  • Fri, 18 Dec 2015 10:30 AM
    Philosophers' Café | Ethics and Socio-Technological Change
    Rapid change presents us with new and complex ethical questions and challenges. How can ethics keep up with and remain relevant in an environment of ever faster change? What ethics or principles stand the test of time?
  • Fri, 18 Dec 2015 7:00 PM
    Philosophers' Café | Officers of Parliament
    Canada has a number of parliamentary officers who are appointed by and provide independent analysis to all the members of parliament, not just the prime minister and cabinet. What, if any, additional parliamentary officers could further enhance democracy and our legislative process?
  • Sat, 19 Dec 2015 4:00 PM
    Art Salons | Kim Beom
    For Kim Beom’s first solo exhibition in Canada, the CAG will present a selection of artwork spanning 20 years of the artist’s practice. The exhibition will function as a survey, tracing shifts in Beom’s materials and forms, and following a tangential line through his work, which humorously pokes at the way we come to see and know things. <p> For more information about the exhibit, please visit the <a href= "http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca">Contemporary Art Gallery website.</a></p>