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Susan Neiman: In Need of Moral Language





Many developments in the last century have lead to the conviction, particularly in Europe, that moral concepts have been exploded - either as hypocritical attempts to impose one's own will on others, or as self-deceiving attempts to justify one's own actions in terms that are no longer valid. Thus many, from politicians to evolutionary psychologists, argue that all human action should be explained in terms of self-interest. This lecture will first examine why this came to seem obvious, and argue that we do indeed need moral concepts in order to understand the world - and certainly to change it.


Professor Susan Neiman is an American moral philosopher, cultural commentator, and essayist. She has written extensively on the juncture between Enlightenment, moral philosophy, and politics. She currently lives in Germany, where she is the Director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. Two books made her worldwide famous: Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy (2002) and Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists (2008).


Thursday 4th November, 19.30–21.00 hours; Amphitheatre.


This programme is a coproduction with Studium Generale of the University of Groningen and of the University of Maastricht.


English spoken.