The Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought

Clemson University, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, and the Clemson Department of Philosophy and Religion present the Lemon Lectures in Social, Legal, and Political Thought. The Lemon Lectures are sponsored by the department's Law, Liberty, and Justice Program and are made possible thanks to the generous support of Calhoun Lemon. For further information, contact me at cdelmas@clemson.edu.

Upcoming talks

There are no Lemon Lectures planned for the academic year 2014-15, as I will not be on campus.  The Lemon Lectures will resume in the Fall 2015.  Check the Philosophy and Religion Department's website for information about their upcoming talks.

Previous talks

April 14, 2014: Amelie Rorty, "The Ethics of Collaborative Ambivalence," 5:30-6:30 (Lee Hall 1-100)

Bio:

Born in Belgium, educated at the University of Chicago and Yale, Amelie Rorty's interests in philosophy range widely. Most of her work has been in the history of moral and civic psychology: she is particularly fascinated by what might be called the dark side of the philosophy of mind: akrasia, self-deception, ambivalence, allegedly irrational emotions like jealousy, envy and fearing death. When in doubt, she tends to turn to Aristotle, Spinoza and Hume for illumination. Because she believes philosophy is essentially a participant sport, she likes to teach small discussion/workshop seminars on the usual suspect topics and authors, also occasionally offering courses in how to look at paintings, and on philosophic themes in literature.  From time to time, she despairs of philosophy and turns to other fields: she's working on a degree in anthropology, hoping to do a dissertation on people who live in two moral worlds, exiles, immigrants, refugees whose work requires them to absorb a new and distinctive set of "moral" values. For now, she is working on a book, On the Other Hand: The Ethics of Ambivalence.

Amelie Rorty (Tufts University) has written a vast number of books, some of which are listed here.  

Abstract:

We are all ambivalent at every turn. "Should I skip class on this gorgeous spring day?" "Do I really want to marry Eric?" Despite being uncomfortable and unsettling, there are some forms of ambivalence that are appropriate and responsible. Even when they seem trivial and superficial, they reveal some of our deepest values, the self-images we would like to project. I shall be exploring collaborative ambivalence, the kind of ambivalence that arises from our identity-forming close relationships. The sources and resolutions of collaborative ambivalence reveal how much of our thinking – and so also of our motivational structure – emerges from the details of our collaborative and dialogical engagements. The imaginative skills and strategies exercised in remaining justifiably of two minds – of preserving appropriate ambivalence—are central to practical reasoning. Because these skills provide models for addressing conflicts in the public sphere, because they prompt shared deliberation, they are among the civic virtues.

April 4, 2014: Bernard Harcourt, "Rereading George Orwell's 1984 in the Age of NSA Surveillance"

Bio:

Bernard E. Harcourt is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Chicago and directeur d’études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. During 2013-14, he is the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University. He has studied and written about Occupy Wall Street and is the author, most recently, of 
Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience with Michael Taussig and W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago Press 2013). He is the editor of Michel Foucault’s 1972-73 lectures at the Collège de France, La Société punitive (Gallimard 2013), and the co-editor of the forthcoming Foucault lectures delivered at Louvain in 1981, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice (Chicago 2014). He is author of several books, including The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press 2011), Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago Press 2007), which won the Gordon J. Laing Prize in 2009, Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy (University of Chicago Press 2005), and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing (Harvard University Press 2001). He is a former death row lawyer, having represented inmates sentenced to death in Alabama since 1990, and continues that work on a pro bono basis today. He also served on human rights missions to South Africa and Guatemala.

Abstract: 

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, interest in George Orwell’s novel 1984 soared, leading to an exponential rise in sales. Less than a week after the first leaks were revealed by The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times reported that sales of Orwell’s book had increased by nearly 6,000%. Editorialists around the globe instantly drew the connection, and President Obama fueled the analogy, immediately referencing Orwell’s novel on 14 June 2013: “In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.” The renewed attention to 1984 has triggered a robust public debate as to whether the comparison is apt—whether Orwell’s dystopian vision accurately captures our political condition today, whether it exceeds or minimizes it, and whether it is a useful lens through which to analyze the present. This lecture will continue the conversation…

January 27, 2014: Stephen Nathanson, "Political Polarization and the Markets vs. Government Debate"

Stephen Nathanson (Northeastern University) will give a talk on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 5:30-6:30pm in Hardin 232.  The event is open and free to the public.  This talk is co-sponsored with the Rutland Institute of Ethics.

Bio: 

Stephen Nathanson is Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B. A. with Honors in Philosophy from Swarthmore College, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Professor Nathanson's most recent book is Terrorism and the Ethics of War (2010). In addition, he is the author of Patriotism, Morality and Peace (1993); Economic Justice (1998); An Eye for an Eye? The Immorality of Punishing by Death (2nd ed., 2001); Should We Consent to be Governed? (2nd ed., 2001), and numerous articles on issues in ethics and political philosophy.

Abstract:

One of the most divisive questions in U. S. politics concerns the roles of governments and markets and their relation to each other. What functions should be carried out by government and what should be left to the workings of a “free market” economy? In this talk, I suggest that the markets vs. government debate is especially polarizing because it assumes that we face a stark choice between two, extremely different systems, capitalism and socialism. In fact, our current system in the U.S. is neither capitalism nor socialism but instead is a welfare state. In addition, there are many different forms of capitalism, socialism, and the welfare state. I will describe some of these systems and consider some of the reasons for supporting or rejecting different types of systems. 


November 18, 2013: Adam Hosein, "The Fundamental Argument for Legalizing Unauthorized Immigrants"

Adam Hosein (University of Colorado, Boulder) will give a talk on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 5-6pm in Hardin 235.  The event is open and free to the public.  

Bio:

Adam Hosein is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Before coming to CU, he was a fellow in Law and Philosophy at the University of Chicago Law School. He holds a BA from Merton College, Oxford and a PhD from MIT. Adam works mainly in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law. Some topics he has recently published on include distributive justice, immigration, campaign finance, and the ethics of harming. 

Abstract:

The United States has a large population of 'unauthorized' migrants, usually estimated at around 10-12 million, who entered the country in contravention of its immigration laws. In recent years there have been many controversies about the treatment of unauthorized migrants. In this paper I consider perhaps the most controversial step: allowing them to transfer to “legal” status, which would allow them to live and work legally in the United States. I will criticize the most popular existing defense of legalization, which focusses on an immigrant's becoming a member of the community, and offer a new argument for legalization, which focusses on the importance of securing freedom for unauthorized migrants. I will focus on the U.S. as a case study, but my findings will be applicable to the many other liberal democracies, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, with significant populations of unauthorized migrants.      

September 26, 2013: Anna Stilz, "Occupancy Rights and Corrective Justice"

Bio: 

Anna Stilz is Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University. Her research focuses on questions of political membership, authority and political obligation, nationalism and self-determination, rights to land and territory, and collective agency. She also has a strong interest in early modern political thought (particularly 17th and 18th centuries). Her first book, Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State (Princeton University Press, 2009), focused on questions of state authority and citizenship, examining the question of whether we have different, and perhaps more stringent, moral duties to our fellow-citizens than we do to people in foreign countries. She has also published articles in Ethics, History of European Ideas, International Theory, Journal of Political Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, Policy and Society, and Philosophy & Public Affairs. She is currently working on a new book on self-determination and states' rights to control land and territory. She is interested in related questions concerning the status of indigenous peoples, historic injustice, colonialism, and theories of property. She has a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University (2005) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1999).

Abstract: 

Most of us think that territorial removals—such as the expulsions of Germans and Poles following World War II, or the removals of tribal peoples in the Americas, Australia, and South Africa—are wrong because the people who live in a place have a very weighty right to be where they are. But what gives people the right to occupy a particular geographical space? I develop a plan-based account of occupancy that connects it to our interest in pursuing situated goals, relationships, and projects fundamental to the structure of our lives—what I call our located life-plans. I then consider the appropriate remedies for violation of occupancy rights. Are there duties of repatriation on the part of wrongful settlers, and rights of return on the part of expelled victims? I argue that the occupancy theory grounds a presumption in favor of repatriation and return in first-generation cases of wrongful settlement, though this presumption can sometimes be weakened by countervailing factors. I also claim that we can extend additional remedies beyond first generation cases, in situations where victims’ descendants are still suffering for the lack of a suitable territory of permanent residence. I hold that victims’ descendants continue to be harmed in these cases, and that settler states—and sometimes individual settlers who benefited from the wrong—may have persisting duties of repair.

September 5, 2013: Kit Wellman, "Procedural Rights"

Bio: 

Christopher Heath Wellman is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He works in ethics, specializing in political and legal philosophy. His most recent books are Liberal Rights and Responsibilities and (with Phillip Cole) Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude? He is currently completing a book on criminal law.

Abstract:

In this essay, I argue that, absent special circumstances, there are no moral, judicial procedural rights. I divide this essay into four main sections. First I argue that there is no general moral right against double jeopardy. Next I explain why punishing a criminal without first establishing her guilt via a fair trial does not necessarily violate her rights. In the third section I respond to a number of possible objections. And finally, I consider the implications of my arguments for the human right to due process.

February 2013: Jules Lobel, "Solitary Confinement in American Prisons: Legal and Moral Dilemmas"

Bio: 

Professor Jules Lobel is the Bessie McKee Wathour Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human and constitutional rights organization based in New York. He has written about and litigated cases involving the use of solitary confinement, including arguing in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of prisoners placed in solitary at the Ohio Supermax prison. He is currently the Center's lead attorney in Ruiz v. Browna class action lawsuit of 1000 prisoners in California's Pelican Bay State Penintentiary who are in a draconian form of solitary confinement in small, windowless cells 23 hours a day. About 500 of these prisoners have languished in solitary for over 10 years and almost 100 for more than 20 years.

Abstract:

Professor Lobel's talk will explore the use of solitary confinement in American prisons including California, trace the history of its use, and raise questions of how we define "cruel and unusual" punishment prohibited by the Constitution. Is solitary confinement cruel for constitutional and moral purposes only if it can be shown that the prisoner is seriously mentally ill, as one prominent judge found? What makes a practice cruel - should it require a showing of mental harm, or proof of the intent of the jailor? What are "unusual" practices - are practices that we might recognize as cruel but are nontheless widespread, be held unconstitutional? Should our society accept prolonged solitary confinement as a means to make prisons less violent?


January 2013: Chris Cuomo, "Consciousness and Moral Action: Considering Climate Change"

Bio: 

Chris J. Cuomo is Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, and an affiliate faculty member of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program and the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Georgia. The author and editor of many articles and several books in feminist, postcolonial, and environmental philosophy, Cuomo earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book, The Philosopher Queen, a reflection on post-9/11 anti-war feminist politics, was nominated for a Lambda Award and an APA book award, and her work in ecofeminist philosophy and creative interdiciplinary practice has been influential among those seeking to bring together social justice and environmental concerns, as well as theory and practice. She has been a recipient of research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Ms. Foundation, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ideas for Creative Exploration at UGA, and she has been a visiting faculty member at Cornell University, Amherst College, and Murdoch University in Australia.

Check out some of Cuomo's books here.

Abstract:

It is often taken as given that general publics must be "convinced" that global warming and climate change are real, or really caused by pollution and deforestation, before relevant political and corporate decision-makers will carry out necessary and sufficient greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. I agree that all general publics should be educated about the causes and impacts of climate change, and that various government and independent agencies should take on the challenge of nurturing greater general environmental understanding and awareness. However, I suggest that the primary agenda of such projects should be not to convince, but rather to cultivate emotional intelligence about the realities of our embeddedness in various systems of energy, exploitation, and innovation. I recommend a tentative re-reading of concepts such as virtue, affection and sacrifice to frame discussions of collective responsibilities and the pressing need for decisive action on the part of powerful corporate actors.


November 2012: Kimberley Brownlee,"Many Refusals in Healthcare are Not Conscientious and It Does Not Matter"

Abstract:

This paper shows that neither objective integrity nor subjective moral conviction can delimit the refusals by healthcare professionals that we should be willing in principle to accommodate. The paper outlines reasons to care about healthcare professionals’ subjective sense of wellbeing irrespective of their integrity or their convictions, because disregard for that subjective sense of wellbeing poses serious risks for professionals, their patients, and the healthcare culture to which they contribute. These risks include psychological risks for the professional including perceived self-alienation and akrasia. They include risks for her patients of poor service and sabotage. And, they include risks for the healthcare culture of eroding professionalism. This paper advocates a broad principle of accommodation that is sensitive to the costs and benefits of accommodating refusals of performance in healthcare.


Bio:

Kimberley Brownlee is an Associate Professor in Legal and Moral Philosophy at the Warwick School of Law. She holds a BA in Philosophy (McGill), MPhil in Philosophy (Cambridge), and DPhil in Philosophy (Oxford; Rhodes Scholar). She has held a Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Research Fellowship, Philosophy Department, Vanderbilt University; an HLA Hart Visiting Research Fellowship, University College, Oxford; and a Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Visiting Fellowship, Philosophy Department, St Andrews University. 

Kimberley's work focuses on practical reason theory, ideals and virtue, human rights, conscience and conscientious disobedience, philosophy of punishment, and restorative justice. Kimberley's book Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience, just came out at Oxford University Press (October 2012). Arguing for the moral and legal defensibility of conscientious disobedience, and particularly civil disobedience, this book first examines the morality of conscience and conscientiousness and then the legality of conscientious breach of law.


October 2012: Elizabeth Brake, "A Just Law of Marriage: Contractual or Caring?"

Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University) gave a talk on Friday, October 26, 2012, 5-6 pm at 235 Hardin Hall.

Abstract:

Political liberalism requires that states not justify law or policy by appealing to contested conceptions of the good, such as comprehensive religious or moral views. Recently, some philosophers have argued that political liberalism entails recognizing same-sex marriage; others have argued that it requires contractualizing marriage, in essence relegating civil marriage to private contract. I argue, instead, that it implies that the state has reason to provide legal frameworks needed to support and maintain caring relationships, but that the state has no legitimate interest in whether or not such relationships are sexual, romantic, same-sex, or dyadic. Thus, the state ought to provide legal rights supporting a diverse range of caring relationships; I call this 'minimal marriage'.

Bio:

Elizabeth Brake was educated at The Universities of Oxford (B.A.) and St. Andrews (M. Litt., PhD). From 2000-2011, she taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calgary, Canada; in 2007-2008 she held a Fellowship at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs, Murphy Institute, Tulane University. She has written on political liberalism, Kant's and Hegel's ethical thought, parental rights and responsibilities, and marriage. Her recent book on marriage in moral and political philosophy, Minimizing Marriage, is published by Oxford University Press. 

Right: Elizabeth answers a student's question about how to enter into and dissolve "minimal marriages," the caring relationships that the state should recognize. "Minimal marriage" places no principled restrictions on the sex or number of spouses and the nature and purpose of their relationships.


September 2012: Jean-Cassien Billier, "Democracy and Judicial Review in France"

Jean-Cassien Billier (University of Paris-IV Sorbonne) gave a talk on Wednesday, September 26, 5:30-6:30 pm at 235 Hardin Hall. 


Abstract: 

The sovereignty of the legislative power has been a basic tenet of French democracy since the Revolution. But since 2010, the Constitution has been the stage of a "new French Revolution": the legal system now confers greater importance to the Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees, and gives new authority to the Constitutional Council to exercise judicial review. As a result of this “revolution,” any person involved in legal proceedings before a court has a right to argue that a statutory provision infringes on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus the Constitutional Council is becoming a kind of French Supreme Court. I will argue that far from obstructing the general will, constitutional judges actually legitimize it.


Bio:

Jean-Cassien Billier is Professor at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, and also teaches at the University of Paris II and Sciences-Po Paris. He specializes in philosophy of law, ethics, meta-ethics, and applied ethics. He is the Director of the European Institute of Public Ethics (IEEP), which is part of the International Center of Applied Political Philosophy. He is also chief editor of the column                                                                                                  "Penser l'Ethique" in the journal Raison Publique.




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