2010 T.M. Scanlon

Being Realistic about Reasons

T.M. Scanlon is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity. He received his B.A. from Princeton in 1962 and his Ph.D. from Harvard. In between, he studied for a year at Oxford as a Fulbright Fellow. He taught at Princeton from 1966 before coming to Harvard in 1984.

    Professor Scanlon's dissertation and some of his first papers were in mathematical logic, but the bulk of his teaching and writing has been in moral and political philosophy. He has published papers on freedom of expression, the nature of rights, conceptions of welfare, and theories of justice, as well as on foundational questions in moral theory. His teaching in the department has included courses on theories of justice, equality, and recent ethical theory. His book, What We Owe to Each Other (last century's most important book in ethics, according to Derek Parfit), was published by Harvard University Press in 1998; a collection of papers on political theory, The Difficulty of Tolerance, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2003. Other recent publications include "Moral Theory, Understanding and Disagreement",  Philosophy & Phenomenological Research 55 (1995) pp. 343-356, and "Intention and Permissibility I," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 74 (2000), pp. 301-317.

    Pufendorf lectures, 2 – 5 June 2010.

    • The Problem of Normative Truth
    • Metaphysical Objections
    • Motivation and the Appeal of Expressivism
    • How Can We Know what Reasons We Have? (Unfortunately, the recording of the fourth lecture has been lost.)

    The Problem of Normative Truth, 2 June 2010:

    Metaphysical Objections, 3 June 2010:

    Motivation and the Appeal of Expressivism, 4 June 2010:

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