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Tanner Lectures Participant Bios

Speaker

Richard Kraut

RICHARD KRAUT is the Charles and Emma Morrison Professor in the Humanties at Northwestern University. His interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, as well as the ethics and political thought of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He is the author of Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford: 2011) and What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being (Harvard, 2007). His historical studies include Socrates and the State (Princeton: 1984), Aristotle on the Human Good (Princeton: 1989), Aristotle Politics Books VII and VIII, translation with commentary (Clarendon: 1997), Aristotle: Political Philosophy (Oxford: 2002), and How to Read Plato (Granta: 2008). He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Plato (1992), Plato's Republic: Critical Essays(Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), and the Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (2006). He served as President of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1993-4, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Center for Hellenic Studies. He served from 2002 to 2004 as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association. In 2006 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Starr Fellowship of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, for 2008-09.

Respondents

Rachel Barney

RACHEL BARNEY is Professor in the Departments of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Her research is on ancient philosophy, for the most part on issues of ethics and moral psychology, epistemology, and philosophical method. She's particularly interested in the questions that arise where several of these topics intersect – and, above all, their interplay in Plato. She's written several articles related in various ways to Plato’s conception of the Good: one on its status as the object of our desire, one on the closely related concept of the kalon, one on Aristotle’s attacks on the Form of the Good, one (in progress) on the ranking of goods in the Philebus, and another on how Plato’s theory of the good seems to be intertwined with his critique of rhetoric. She's also fascinated by the concept of technê, craft, in ancient ethics; in addition to a big-picture paper currently underway on the topic, she's written one working out the role of technê in Aristotle’s function argument, and another discussing the role of technê in the argument between Socrates and Thrasymachus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Darwall

STEPHEN DARWALL is Andrew Downey Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.  He has written widely on the history and foundations of ethics.  His first book, Impartial Reason (Cornell, 1983), was a critique of instrumental and egoistic theories of practical reason and a defense of the rationality of moral conduct.  His major work in the history of ethics, The British Moralists and the Internal Ought: 1640-1740 (Cambridge, 1995), was a study of early modern philosophical debates about the relation between obligation and motivation.  In addition to a book on the nature of well-being—Welfare and Rational Care (Princeton, 2002)—and an introductory text in ethical philosophy, Philosophical Ethics (Westview, 1998)—he is best known for writings that argue that fundamental moral concepts and principles are grounded in presuppositions of the perspective we take up in interpersonal interaction when we address claims and demands to one another.  The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect, and Accountability (Harvard, 2006) argues that morality is founded on the mutual accountability of any and all beings who are capable of holding themselves accountable.  Two recent collections of essays extend the second-personal framework.  Morality, Authority, and Law (Oxford, 2013) explores second-personal elements of autonomy, law, and authority.  And Honor, History, and Relationship (Oxford, 2013) investigates issues of interpersonal relationship, the difference between hierarchies of honor and orders of law and accountability, and second-personal themes in Grotius, Pufendorf, Kant, Fichte, and Adam Smith.  Currently he is working both on issues in moral psychology concerning trust, love, and contempt as well as on a book on the history of Western ethical philosophy from the seventeenth century: Modern Moral Philosophy.  A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a founding editor, with David Velleman, of the open access journal, Philosophers’ Imprint.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN is Professor of Philosophy at the New College of Humanities in London. She is also a novelist. Her novels include The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind (1989); The Dark Sister (1991), which received the Whiting Writer’s Award; Mazel, which received the 1995 National Jewish Book Award and the 1995 Edward Lewis Wallant Award; and Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics (2000). Her book of short stories, Strange Attractors (1993), received a National Jewish Book Honor Award. Her latest novel Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (2010), was named the best fiction book of the year by "The Christian Science Monitor" and among the top eleven of that year by "The Washington Post." In addition to novels, her books include Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel (2005), Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew who Gave Us Modernity (2006), and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away (2014).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Hurka

THOMAS HURKA is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His main area of research and teaching is moral and political philosophy, especially normative ethical theory. His books include Perfectionism (1993) and Virtue, Vice, and Value (2000). A selection of his ethics columns from the "Globe and Mail" newspaper (1989-92) was included in Principles: Short Essays on Ethics (1994).In 2011, he published a trade book called The Best Things in Life, about the many things – pleasure, knowledge, achievement, virtue, personal love – that can make life desirable. Recently he's also published British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing (2014).