EX LIBRIS: News from the Library

07 October 2013 Comments Off on EX LIBRIS: News from the Library

The Library Lunchtime Lectures for this academic year begin this Thursday with a talk by Assoc. Prof. Simon Wigley (PHIL) entitled “Homicidal Sleepwalkers: Can We Blame Them?” In his lecture, Dr. Wigley will suggest that zombie horror movies are closer to reality than we might think. Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is a disorder in which the “walker” is not fully conscious but performs actions normally associated with wakefulness. Some sleepwalkers even behave violently toward others while they are asleep. Upon waking they are horrified to discover that they have injured or even killed someone they dearly love. Their actions often appear no different from the preplanned violence that is carried out by criminals while they are awake. According to sleep experts, somnambulists are caught in the twilight zone between wakefulness and sleep. They are asleep, but their muscles are not paralyzed. Violence during sleepwalking raises a number of fascinating questions for moral and legal philosophers. Is immorality possible in dreams? Should the violent sleepwalker feel shame? Should we punish the violent sleepwalker? If we are not consciously aware of our actions, can we be held responsible for them? Dr. Wigley will discuss these questions and more. The talk will be in English and will take place on October 10, at 12:40 p.m., in the Main Campus Library Art Gallery. Lunchtime refreshments will be provided.