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 second Spinoza Lecture is entitled ‘Selves Like Us'.
Since at least the seventeenth century, philosophers have distinguished membership in the species homo sapiens from moral personhood, a category which they take to be of considerable ethical and practical significance. But there are other non-biological features that are of ethical and practical significance as well, suggesting that there is an ethical, non-biological conception of humanity that is different from the standard philosophical understanding of moral personhood. After reflecting on the benefits and dangers of focusing attention on the idea of “the distinctively human,” the lecture explores the variety of features and capacities that distinguish “selves like us” from lower animals, artificially intelligent machines, and possibly imaginary divine and extra-terrestrial rational individuals.
On Thursday 17 May, Susan Wolf held the first Spinoza Lecture entitled 'Aesthetic Responsibility'.
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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