Law & Philosophy Program

Shiffrin Delivers Tanner Lectures on Human Values at UC Berkeley

Seana Valentine Shiffrin, the Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice at UCLA School of Law and chair of the Department of Philosophy at UCLA, delivered the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values at UC Berkeley in April 2017.

The Tanner Lectures, founded in 1978, are a pre-eminent collection of discussions in education and science relating to human values. Previous Tanner lecturers include several U.S. Supreme Court justices, authors Toni Morrison and J.M. Coetzee, philosophers John Rawls, Barbara Herman, Frances Kamm, and K. Anthony Appiah, and scientists David Baltimore and Richard Dawkins.

The lectures were endowed by and are named for religion and philosophy scholar Obert C. Tanner, and take place at one of nine participating universities in the United States and England.

In lectures titled "Speaking Among Ourselves: Democracy and Law," Shiffrin addressed democracy's intrinsic communicative value and law's role in expressing that value, and the democratic values of the common law and a democratic approach to constitutional balancing. In addition to delivering two lectures, Shiffrin participated in a seminar and discussion with commentators Richard R.W. Brooks, the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law at Columbia University; Niko Kolodny, professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley; and Anna B Stilz, the Laurance B. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University. Audio files of Shiffrin's lectures and seminar can be found in the Tanner Lectures archives.

Shiffrin is co-founder and co-director of the UCLA Law and Philosophy Program. A UCLA faculty member since 1992, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. Her book Speech Matters (Princeton University Press, 2014) explores the ethics of communications and the connections between freedom of speech, the prohibition on lying and moral progress.

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