Presidential Lecture Series
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HUMANITIES, MEDICINE, & ATHLETICS SYMPOSIUM:
MAY 7-8, 1999

[Detailed Schedule of Events] [Topic Description] [Participant Biographies]


Organizing Committee:

Lanier Anderson (Philosophy, Stanford)
Hans Gumbrecht (ex officio)
Brian Hoffman (Medicine, Stanford)
Seth Lerer (Comparative Literature, Stanford)
Gordon Matheson (Medicine, Stanford)
Richard Schavone (Athletics, Stanford)


Speakers:

Herbert Blau
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Laurence Dreyfus
Harry Edwards
Franz Grehn
Tim Noakes
George Plimpton
George Poste
Congressman Jim Ryun
Martin Seel
Norman Shumway



Panelists:

Bobby Clark
Ted Leland
Mike Montgomery
Erin Sones
Keri Strug
Debbie Thomas
Bill Walsh
Troy Walters

Garry Kasparov, World Chess Champion, is speaking as part of this symposium on April 22, 1999 at 7 p.m.


Topic Description:

The symposium will be broken into three half-day sessions exploring various aspects of the general theme: "Limits of Performance". Each session will have three or four principal speakers who will be asked to make presentations of about 40 minutes each. There will be some additional experts available designated to provide commentary as appropriate. A moderator will facilitate interactions amongst the participants and the audience.

  1. The theme of the first session relates to limits of human potential. We will explore and analyze circumstances that define and foster optimal individual achievement.

    • Psychological characteristics enabling maximal individual effectiveness.
    • What does excellence of achievement mean in the humanities?
    • Physical limitations in human accomplishment.

  2. The issue of this session is an exploration between the relationship of the whole (person, work of art, team) compared to the parts (organs/physiological systems, actors, athletes).

    • Philosophical implications of limits to achievement.
    • Humanistic orientation in the care of patients.
    • Making a play or movie more than sum of its individual actors.
    • Coaching: having elite athletes play as a team.

  3. The theme of the third session involves limits and their consequences. The implications of unbridled pursuit of individual limits may have broad, potentially unintended and unfortunate perils.

    • Medicine in a cultural context.
    • The cultural implications of focus on athletics.
    • Implications of advances in genetics.
    • The role of athletics in elite universities.



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