The Tanner Lectures on Human Values
The Tanner Lectures on Human Values is a multi-university lecture series in the humanities, established in 1976 by the American philanthropist and scholar Obert Clark Tanner. The purpose of the Tanner Lectures is to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values.
Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.
American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion
Shklar identifies the right to vote and the right to work as the defining social rights and primary sources of public respect. She demonstrates that in recent years, although all Americans profess their devotion to the work ethic, earning remains unavailable to many who feel and are consequently treated as less than full citizens.
The Trouble with Confucianism
In East and Southeast Asia, as well as China, people are asking, “What does Confucianism have to offer today?” For some, Confucius is still the symbol of a reactionary and repressive past; for others, he is the humanist admired by generations of scholars and thinkers, East and West, for his ethical system and discipline.
Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life
Separated by millennia, Aristotle and Sigmund Freud gave us disparate but compelling pictures of the human condition. But if, with Jonathan Lear, we scrutinize these thinkers’ attempts to explain human behavior in terms of a higher principle—whether happiness or death—the pictures fall apart.
Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership
Theories of social justice, addressing the world and its problems, must respond to the real and changing dilemmas of the day. A brilliant work of practical philosophy, Frontiers of Justice is dedicated to this proposition. Taking up three urgent problems of social justice—those with physical and mental disabilities, all citizens of the world, and nonhuman animals—neglected by current theories and thus harder to tackle in practical terms and everyday life, Martha Nussbaum seeks a theory of social justice that can guide us to a richer, more responsive approach to social cooperation.
The Decline and Fall of the American Republic
Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism, and proposes a series of reforms that will minimize, if not eliminate, the risks going forward.
A Case for Irony
Vanity Fair has declared the Age of Irony over. Joan Didion has lamented that Obama’s United States is an “irony-free zone.” Here Jonathan Lear argues that irony is one of the tools we use to live seriously, to get the hang of becoming human. It forces us to experience disruptions in our habitual ways of tuning out of life, but comes with a cost.
Citizens Divided: Campaign Finance Reform and the Constitution
First Amendment defenders greeted the Court’s Citizens United ruling with enthusiasm, while electoral reformers recoiled in disbelief. Robert C. Post offers a constitutional theory that seeks to reconcile these sharply divided camps, and he explains how the case might have been decided in a way that would preserve free speech and electoral integrity.
Nihilistic Times: Thinking with Max Weber
Wendy Brown diagnoses a late-modern nihilism that trivializes values—including truth itself—and reduces politics to narcissism and power-mongering. Rereading Max Weber, who saw a similar predicament in his own time, Brown seeks to reground political action in responsibility and reorient classrooms to the critical thinking citizens need today.