About Philosophy

Philosophy examines such topics as the nature of knowledge, justice, right and wrong, good and evil, persons, freedom, determinism, moral responsibility, beauty, art, and the nature and grounds of religious experience and belief.

Engagement with the central questions of philosophy is valuable in itself; it is also valuable as a means of developing analytical, critical, and imaginative skills useful in the study of most other subjects, in the pursuit of careers as varied as law, business, medicine, science, education, and the arts, and in effective participation in civic life.

Upcoming Philosophy Talks*

October 8  Win-chiat Lee, Professor of Philosophy and Chair, Wake Forest University
“Anarchy, World State and International Criminal Law”

International criminal law (ICL) is enforced through the exercise of jurisdiction that lacks political authority. In that sense it is anarchic. However, it does not follow that ICL is illegitimate. The legitimacy of the universal jurisdiction exercised in ICL is based on the legitimacy of vigilantism where there is no relevant legitimate political authority to address problems of impunity. Nor is ICL necessarily anarchic in the sense of being disorderly. Legitimate vigilantism is subject to ethical constraints that explain certain orderly features of international criminal law. Vigilantism, even when practiced within ethical bounds, still creates problems of injustice. That is what justifies the existence of the state and its exercise of political authority to begin with. However, we cannot overcome the problems of possible injustice associated with ICL by entering into a world state that has political authority over all of the states and all of humanity.

October 22  Agnes Callard, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago
Paper Title: TBA

November 5  Amie Thomasson, Professor of Philosophy and Cooper Fellow at the University of Miami
Paper Title: TBA

November 12  Sharon Street, Associate Professor of Philosophy at New York University
Paper Title: TBA

*All talks are in B316 Tribble Hall at 5 pm.

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