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Psychology prof gives free public “Last Lecture” tonight

April 14, 2008

Psychology Professor Peter Killeen is known as a Renaissance man to many of his students because he can speak intelligently on almost any topic. Students find him so fascinating that they have asked him to speak in the 13th annual Last Lecture Series tonight, at 7:30 p.m. in the Education Lecture Hall, room 117. The talk is free and open to the public.

The annual honor is based on students’ nominations and the nominees’ lecture proposals, with the idea that professors can speak on any topic close to their hearts—as if it were the last lecture they would ever give. In Killeen’s case the honor is especially appropriate, since he will retire from ASU next year after 30 years of teaching.

As a student of how people learn and understand, Killeen will speak about a theory of mind, comparing the thinking of Plato and Aristotle. His topic is “Greek Mind, Geek Mind: Chaos, Complementarity, Consciousness.”

“Humans comprise a self-referential system equally capable of self-scrutiny and self-delusion, of single-mindedness and instability,” says Killeen. “The role of consciousness in mediating these states is contemplated.”

Anthony Barnhart, the graduate student who nominated Killeen, cited him for his hands-on approach to teaching, his contributions to the field of behavioral psychology and the fact that he makes it a point to get to know each of the students in his classes.

The event is sponsored by ASU Campus Activities and Student Engagement programs. A reception is at 7 p.m., before the lecture. Other lectures are scheduled April 22 and 29. The Education Lecture Hall is on Gammage Parkway, east of Mill.