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Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Colloquium with Philip Kitcher, ‘Moral Progress’

Thursday 31 January 2019
Past events 2019
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

The Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Colloquium Series is pleased to announce a lecture by

Philip Kitcher


What exactly are the conditions under which individuals and societies make moral progress?  I shall attempt to address this question by elaborating a framework I’ve presented elsewhere (“Über den Fortschritt”).  An important feature of that approach is the denial of any commitment to teleology.  Pragmatic progress consists in overcoming the problems and limitations of the prior state.  In the moral domain, these problems are frequently hard to identify.  I shall attempt to outline a method for moral inquiry, so as to make moral progress, both for individuals and for societies, more systematic and sure-footed.


Philip Kitcher obtained his B.A. from Christ’s College, Cambridge, and his Ph.D from Princeton University.  He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht.  He is currently John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University in New York.   Kitcher is the author of many books and articles on a wide range of philosophical topics.  He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) and Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science.  A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was also the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize, awarded by the American Philosophical Association for work in expanding the frontiers of Science and Philosophy.  Among his recent books are Preludes to Pragmatism (Oxford University Press), Life after Faith (Yale University Press) and The Seasons Alter: How to Save our Planet in Six Acts (co-authored with Evelyn Fox Keller, Norton/Liveright, 2017).  In 2018, he was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society, and to an Honorary Fellowship at Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Series

The aim of the series is to present lectures expressing non-standard views on philosophical questions relating to knowledge, truth, science, logic, metaphysics, and the mind, including their history.

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