2015 Selfridge Lecture

Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Kenan Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, will present the 31st Annual Selfridge Lecture, Monday, April 13, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in Linderman Library 200

Hill will present “Lies, Torture, and Utopias,” where he will address is what we would do in an ideal world (a utopia) relevant to what we should do now in our real and very imperfect world?  In an ideal world, we may suppose, no one would tell lies or torture anyone.  In our real and often corrupt world, however, telling a lie may be the only way to prevent a murderer from killing a friend and some say that using torture in interrogation could be the only way to prevent destruction of a whole city.  Is thinking about ideal worlds, then, relevant to decisions about what we ought to do – or is it dangerous or useless “utopian thinking”? A common thought is that we should live the standards that we would want everyone to follow, and similarly philosophers, such as Immanuel Kant, have thought the crucial question in ethics is, “What principles would free, rational, equal, and mutually respectful persons legislate for themselves and others in an ideal community?” But since we live in a non-ideal world, does it matter what people would do in an ideal (utopian) world?

A reception and book signing immediately following lecture in LL 342

A college lecture, “Duty and Choices in Philanthropic Giving: Kantian Perspectives,” is schedulej for Tuesday, April 14, 4:00 p.m. in Maginnes Hall 102

Sponsored by the Philosophy Department, the Selfridge Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information contact Donna Wagner, djw0@lehigh.edu, (610)758-3775