Susan Wolf will hold the Spinoza Chair of the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities in the second term of the academic year 2017-2018 and will be delivering the accompanying two Spinoza Lectures on 'Responsible Humanity'.
Wolf's first Spinoza Lecture is entitled ‘Aesthetic Responsibility'.
Philosophers often distinguish between causal responsibility and moral responsibility, taking the latter to be an important mark of our distinctive humanity. But focusing exclusively on the attitudes and judgments we form toward people on the basis of their moral characters and behaviour leads us to overly narrow conceptions both of responsibility and of humanity. As a corrective, this lecture considers the attitudes and judgments we make of artists on the basis of their artwork. By attending to the way in which artists may be aesthetically responsible for their creations, we can develop a richer understanding of responsibility and a more comprehensive idea of humanity.
On Thursday 14 June, Wolf will be holding a second Spinoza Lecture entitled 'Selves Like Us'.
Susan Wolf is Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Wolf received her B.A. in Math and Philosophy from Yale University in 1974 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton in 1978. She taught at Harvard University, the University of Maryland, and the Johns Hopkins University before moving to the University of North Carolina in 2002, and she has held visiting appointments at the Australian National University, Utrecht University, and University College, Oxford. Wolf has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship and a Distinguished Achievement Award in the Humanities from the Mellon Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2010-11.
Wolf is the author of Freedom Within Reason (1990), Meaning in Life and Why It Matters (2010), and The Variety of Values: Essays on Morality, Meaning, and Love (2015), and co-editor, with Christopher Grau, of Understanding Love: Philosophy, Film, Fiction (2014), as well as numerous articles on a wide range of topics in ethics and in adjoining areas of metaphysics, political philosophy and the philosophy of mind.
The Spinoza Lectures are given by high-profile thinkers of our time. They are intended for a wide audience that would like to keep abreast of current developments in philosophy.
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