The seminar is open to students who have a genuine interest in and - most importantly - some prior knowledge of modern analytical moral and legal and philosophy. It is not an introductory course.
The seminar is a speakers seminar on a broad theme: The value of humanity and associated problems of responsibility and normativity. The visitors were asked to give us papers representing important aspects of their views on some aspect of the theme.
Listed in the order of their visits, they are Japa Pallikkathayil (Pittsburgh), Nandi Theunissen (John Hopkins), Sarah Buss (Michigan), Sarah Stroud (McGill), Susan Wolf (Chapel Hill), Julia Markovits (Cornell).
The term will divide into a sequence of blocks, two weeks each, each one dedicated to current work by one of the visitors. In the first session of each block we will discuss in class a draft submitted by the author. On the basis of the discussion and helped by
suggestions from seminar participants, I will write to the author to indicate which aspects of his/her paper we found most challenging, or most requiring clarification. The author will be with us in the second week of the block, opening the session by responding to the letter,
after which there will be a general discussion.
Sessions without visitors will be 2-3 hours long. Sessions in which we meet with one of our visitors will be over 3 hours long, with a short break in the middle (during which refreshments will be provided). The second part of the session will continue the discussion and is an integral and compulsory part of the seminar.
Assessment will be on the basis of three short papers (5-6 pages) by each student as well as on the basis of participation in class discussion. The first paper will have to be submitted within the first 4-5 weeks of the term. Major writing credit will be available.
However, any student desiring to qualify for major writing credit should consult me very early in the term, well before the deadline for the submission of the first essay.
For the attention of auditors: Upon request I will consider allowing qualified and interested people to audit the seminar, provided they agree to regard themselves as full participants in all respect except that they are not allowed to submit written work, and are not awarded
a grade. That means that they have to attend regularly, prepare for the sessions as required, and participate in class discussion.
First essay: to be submitted by Sunday 5th October
Second essay: by Sunday 2rd November
Third essay: by Sunday 30 November
In each case the deadline is midnight at the end of the day.
Deadlines will be Strictly enforced, though students who feel a likely difficulty emerging, or are aware of any impediment to meeting the deadline should get in touch with me as soon as possible and well in advance of the deadline, to discuss the possibility of a special
The seminar is supported by The John Dewey Lectureship Fund in the School of Law
More details may be posted from time to time on my website at