Philosopher to deliver 2017 Tanner Lectures at Stanford

By Kathleen J. Sullivan

Philosopher Richard Kraut, a professor at Northwestern University whose research interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, will deliver the 2017 Tanner Lectures on Human Values on April 19 and 20 at Stanford.

Richard Kraut

Richard Kraut (Image credit: Courtesy Richard Kraut)

Kraut, who is also interested in the ethics and political thought of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, will deliver two lectures: “The Richness of Human Experience” and “Virtue and Experience” during his campus stay.

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.

Kraut’s two most recent books are Against Absolute Goodness, published Oxford University Press in 2011, and What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being, published by Harvard University Press in 2007. He is the Charles and Emma Morrison Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern.

A discussion seminar will be held the day after each lecture.

The lectures and discussions, which are free and open to the public, are cohosted annually by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Office of the President.

Kraut will deliver his first lecture, “The Richness of Human Experience,” from 5:30-
7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Bechtel Conference Center in Encina Hall, which is located at 616 Serra St.

A discussion seminar will follow from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 20, in the Oksenberg Room in Encina Hall. Rachel Barney, a professor in the departments of Classics and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and Tom Hurka, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, will join in the discussion.

Kraut will deliver his second lecture, “Virtue and Experience,” from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, in the Bechtel Conference Center in Encina Hall.

A discussion seminar will follow from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 21, in the Oksenberg Room in Encina Hall. Stephen Darwall, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, a philosopher and writer whose most recent book is Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, will join the discussion.

The Tanner Lectures, which are held at nine universities in the United States and England, were created by the late American scholar, industrialist and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner. In creating the lectureship, 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.”

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