Jordan PetersonDr. Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist, with two main areas of study: the psychology of belief, including religion, mythology and political ideology; and the assessment and improvement of personality, including the prediction of creativity and academic and industrial performance. The author or co-author of almost one hundred scientific articles, he published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief in 1999 with Routledge, which was subsequently made into a televised lecture series on TVO (jordanpetersonvideos on YouTube). Dr. Peterson is presently elaborating upon the ideas in Maps of Meaning, communicating them to a wide public audience, and developing an online system to aid people in understanding and improving their characters (

Dr. Peterson will be giving the following keynote lecture, as well as participating in the panel on Terrorism & Heroism for the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference, July 28-31, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Keynote Title

Hierarchies of Value as Determinants of World-Revelation

Scheduled for Sunday, July 31, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM


In the late 1800s, Both Dostoevsky and Nietzsche prophesied that the destruction of traditional religious belief by rationality and the empirical method would produce the catastrophic consequences of nihilism and totalitarianism. Dostoevsky advocated a form of romantic return to the past, in the form of rejuvenated Russian Orthodoxy, as the antidote, while Nietzsche posited that the man of the future would have to create his own values. Both of these positions are problematic: once the genie escapes from the bottle, it is hard to force it back in, and man encounters severe constraints, even impossibilities, when he attempts to merely “create” values. I want to present an alternative, grounded in philosophy and science: a joint project between culture, nature and the individual, devoted towards constructing a hierarchy of values, oriented towards the good, predicated on truth. We now know that values determine both perception and emotion, in a much more powerful manner than previously suspected. What this implies is that the “properly constructed” value hierarchy is one that structures perception and emotion such that the world reveals itself as meaningful enough to justify its tragedies. Religious thinking, mostly collective and unconscious, has been striving for aeons to construct and represent such a hierarchy. We may know enough now to articulate its structure and render it more fully conscious.

Learning Objectives

Deeper understanding of:

  1. the philosophical roots of twentieth century thinking
  2. the cognitive and hierarchical structure of value
  3. the relationship between motivation, perception and emotion
  4. the developmental psychology of the “ideal”

Panel Title

Terrorism & Heroism

Scheduled for Sunday, July 31, 11:15 AM – 1:15 PM