Canadian philosopher, poet, essayist, and musician Dr Jan Zwicky will deliver the fourth annual Alex Fountain Memorial Lecture on Thursday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall. Her lecture is entitled "What Meaning Is and Why It Matters".

What is meaning? We tend to associate it first and foremost with language and information. But attention to the experience of meaning shows the situation is more complex. The experience of meaning involves the perception or comprehension of integrated wholes that are more than mere sums of parts. These integrated wholes can often be named without much difficulty, but our ability to discern them erodes under the press of demands to describe and analyze them. Such demands, however, are basic to 21st-century technocratic culture: articulate description and analysis are regarded as essential to intelligence. The consequence is that we, as members of this culture, are unable to take seriously our own experience of many complex integrated wholes: rivers, for example, forests, landscapes, nonhuman cultures of all kinds. Understanding what meaning is thus becomes a crucial political act if we are to appreciate ways the world actually is.

The Alex Fountain Memorial Lecturer is chosen each year by the student body of King’s. Students begin a nomination process at the beginning of the winter semester. A long list of twenty is narrowed to a short list of ten by student election. The short list is then prioritized by a student committee which includes the programme directors and the president. In years past, lecturers have included The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Dr. Charles Taylor, and Michael Ondaatje.

The Lecture will be followed by a short question and answer period. 

The 5th Alex Fountain Memorial Lecture will be held in the 2015-2016 academic year. We're currently looking for suggestions for speakers: Suggest a speaker