Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 10.28.00 AMInstructor: Sara Waller

Dates: Wednesdays; Sept. 16 to Oct. 21

Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Location: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Course Info: This course will explore the philosophy and science of the ways that different animals understand the world. We know that dogs and dolphins follow commands, parrots speak, and creatures from monkeys to elephants use tools and recognize themselves in mirrors. What does this mean about their intelligence, their concept of the world, and our relationship to them? This course explores animal thoughts and communication and asks questions about human and non-human minds.

Readings: None required; readings will be distributed in class.

Instructor Bio:

Sara WallerSara Waller is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Montana State University. She received her PhD in 1999 from Loyola University Chicago in Philosophy of Language, and completed a Visiting Scholarship at the Chatterjee Neurology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Hospitals in 2003. Professor Waller studies the possibility of animal language, and has received funding from the NEH, NSF, and EPA to further her research on the meanings of vocalizations of cooperative predators, with studied species ranging from dolphins to wolves to cats. She is published in journals such as Synthese and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her current research focuses on wolf vocalizations during denning season in Yellowstone National Park (wolf puppies!).

Class Format: Lecture and discussion Readings.

Cost: $75 - members; $110 - nonmembers



Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In September Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on September 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  Also in September we’ll be a sponsor of the Bozeman Public Library’s celebration of Yellowstone National Park, Our Yellowstone.  

On October 3rdand 4thMSU Wonderlust is hosting an interactive symposium for practitioners and lifelong learners, Lifelong Learning: New Opportunities for Aging Communities.  This symposium, sponsored by Friends of MSU Wonderlust and MSU’s Office of Research and Development, will provide an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences, innovations, and strategies.

Save the dates: Wednesday, October 3, 5 pm – 7 pm, for the opening reception and presentation featuring Dr. Renee Reijo Pero of MSU and Dr. Rick Knopf of Arizona State, and Thursday, October 4, 9 am – 4 pm,for in-depth sessions on various topics, featuring speakers from across Montana and the U.S.  For details on the symposium and on all MSU Wonderlust program offerings, see   

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust