Lectures For Lifelong Learners!

Mike McGowan

Mike McGowan

Mike McGowan


Philosophy, Religion

Available for in-person lectures in:
Naples/Ft. Myers

Available via Zoom?

To book Mike, e-mail:

Dr. Michael McGowan is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Florida Southwestern State College. He publishes and speaks on the relationship between popular art, ethics, political philosophy, and religion. He earned graduate degrees from Yale University, University of South Florida, and Claremont Graduate University. His latest book is titled, Speaking Words of Wisdom: The Beatles and Religion, published by Penn State University Press in spring 2024. He has also recently contributed chapters to Saturday Night Live and Philosophy as well as The Good Place and Philosophy. His articles have appeared in Christianity Today, the Journal of Religion and Film, the Journal of Human Rights, the Teaching Philosophy journal, and the Teaching Ethics journal, where he also served on the Editorial Board.

Lectures include:

Speaking Words of Wisdom: The Beatles and Religion

In this lecture, we look at the remarkable journey of the most successful music group of the twentieth-century and their relationship to religious shifts underway in the tumultuous 1960s. We’ll watch clips from early performances, delve into their game-changing mid-career recordings, and their visit to India, we’ll track the changes the Beatles and America made toward a freer society, as well as the cost of that freedom on religious life in America and Britain.

Comedy's Second Golden Age: Humor in the 2020s

In this lecture, I’ll chart the rise of stand-up comedy’s free speech advocates in the years between 2015-2025. After first describing comedy’s first golden age, we’ll look at clips from three of its current leading figures – Dave Chapelle, Bo Burnham, and Hannah Gadsby – to explore the broader issues of cancel culture, the ethics of joke-telling, and what to do when art becomes offensive.

Critical Race Theory: Should You Be Concerned?

In this lecture, I’ll provide an easy-to-understand overview of critical race theory: its leading proponents, their arguments, where they’re right, and where they’re wrong. We’ll also discuss the importance of history education and how it relates to Florida’s “war on woke.”

Don't Say Gay? The Ethics of Sex and Gender

In this lecture, we’ll discuss the rapid 21st-century shifts in public moral sentiments regarding alternative sexualities and genders. We’ll dive deep into the rise of the transgender movement in America: what it is, how reasonable people can/should respond, and what it means for a nation committed to (a) law and order, and (b) civil rights.

Abortion: Is Middle Ground Possible?

In this lecture, I will talk about the ethics of abortion in the twenty-first century. I will dissect some ways in which people on both the right and left are disingenuous on the issue, but more importantly, I will dive into the arguments offered by liberals and conservatives to assess their coherence. We’ll also discuss how the science itself has improved since Roe v. Wade, shifting the vitally important line of “viability” (and why it matters).

Peace Through Strength: The Ethics of War

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in an anti-western alliance between Russia and China, which puts the world on the precipice of a third World War. Senior Russian leaders are threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons. In this lecture, we’ll ask whether talking heads are right to say “all is fair in love and war.” How exactly are wars justified? We’ll go through the three standard moral positions on the ethics of violence, as well as what responsibility the United States has in 21st century global leadership.

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