The Center for Ethics in Society collaborates with the Office of the President to host the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford.
The Tanner Lectures were established by the late American scholar, industrialist, and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner. In creating the lectureships, Tanner said, "I hope these lectures will contribute to the intellectual and moral life of mankind. I see them simply as a search for a better understanding of human behavior and human values. This understanding may be pursued for its own intrinsic worth, but it may also eventually have practical consequences for the quality of personal and social life."
Stanford is proud to be one of the nine distinguished universities to host the Tanner Lectures. The Tanner lectureships, which are comprised of annual lectures and seminars, are held at nine universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Michigan, Oxford, Princeton, The University of California, Utah, Yale, and Stanford.
The purpose of the Tanner Lectures is to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values. This intention embraces the entire range of values pertinent to the human condition, interest, behavior, and aspiration. The lectures are published in an annual volume.
Appointment as a Tanner lecturer is in recognition for uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values. The lecturers themselves come from the fields of philosophy, religion, the humanities, the sciences, the creative arts, and learned professions, or from leadership in public or private affairs. The lectureships are international and intercultural and transcend ethnic, national, religious, and ideological distinctions. Past Tanner lecturers at Stanford include: Jared Diamond, Dorothy Allison, Paul Krugman, Mary Robinson, Harry Frankfurt, Avishai Margalit, David Brion Davis, and Glenn Loury.
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