Baker-Nord Scholar-in-Residence to discuss Monty Python, economic advantage and more in upcoming lectures

ThompsonThe Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities will host Frank Thompson as a Scholar-in-Residence from Feb. 23 to March 7. Thompson, a lecturer and research investigator at the University of Michigan, is a social scientist with a broad background in the humanities, and his articles have been published in both philosophy and economics journals. A current focus of his research is intergenerational justice.

Thompson will give three talks during his time as Scholar-in-Residence.

The first, “Monty Python and Philosophy,” will take place Wednesday, Feb. 26, from noon to 1 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206. Thompson disagrees that “Philosophy [is] on the whole no laughing matter.” – W.V.O. Quine, Quiddities. To formally register his disagreement, Thompson will lead a discussion on the oeuvres of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “Dead Parrot” (Episode 8), “Argument Clinic” (Episode 29), and their movie The Meaning of Life, along with selections from Hardcastle and Reich’s “Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think.” Lunch will be provided and registration is recommended.

Next, Thompson will give a lecture titled “Morally Arbitrary Economic Advantage,” on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 309. In this lecture, Thompson will offer an introductory analysis of the notion of morally arbitrary advantage, focusing on morally arbitrary economic advantage (and disadvantage). Registration for this event is recommended.

Finally, Thompson will lead a book discussion on Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt on Monday, March 3, from noon to 1 p.m in Clark Hall, Room 206. The book addresses the history and contemporary thinking about what is arguably the most profound question of all in physics and its philosophy. Thompson will lead a discussion of Holt’s accessible, thought-provoking, occasionally funny, and well-written explication of this very difficult problem. Lunch will be provided.

More information on these events can be found at