Professor Steven Lukes, renowned social and political theorist, New York University, will lecture on Morality and Power, Thursday 20 March at 6pm in the Emmet Theatre (Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin).
This event has been organised by School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies in cooperation with the TCD Departments of Sociology and Political Science, and the Centre of European Studies.
‘Morality and power interconnect in several ways, some of which I will explore in this lecture. Plato reports Thrasymachus as saying that justice is ‘nothing other than the advantage of the stronger’ and Bernard de Mandeville wrote that ‘the first rudiments of Morality’ were ‘broach’d by skillful Politicians to render men useful to each other as well as tractable.’ Nietzsche tells a different genealogical story: that morality (at least in its Christian form) arose out of the ‘slave-revolt’ and opposes the ‘will-to-power.’ Recently the anthropologist Christopher Boehm has suggested that human morality evolved through the inhibition of anti-social tendencies as a defence mechanism against those who abused their power. It is often thought that morality sets limits to domination because those in power need legitimacy: political regimes, for instance, need moral legitimation to be effective and stable. But we also know that the powerful have ways of overcoming those limits. And in figuring out where power lies, especially when disaster strikes, we typically look for who is responsible and whom to blame.’
BIO: Steven Lukes is professor of sociology at New York University. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate, writing a thesis on Durkheim under the supervision of the anthropologist E. E. Evans-Prichard. He has previously held posts in politics and sociology at Balliol College, Oxford, in political and social theory at the European University Institute in Florence, in moral philosophy at the University of Siena and in sociology at the London School of Economics. He is an emeritus Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY. His writing and teaching have ranged over political science, political and moral philosophy, sociology, anthropology and the philosophy of the social sciences. His published works include EMILE DURKHEIM: HIS LIFE AND WORK, INDIVIDUALISM, ESSAYS IN SOCIAL THEORY, MARXISM AND MORALITY, MORAL CONFLICT AND POLITICS, LIBERALS AND CANNIBALS: THE IMPLICATIONS OF DIVERSITY, THE CURIOUS ENLIGHTENMENT OF PROFESSOR CARITAT: A COMEDY OF IDEAS (a novel recently reissued) and POWER: A RADICAL VIEW, which recently appeared in a much expanded second edition. With Martin Hollis he co-edited RATIONALITY AND RELATIVISM, with Michael Carrithers and Steven Collins THE CATEGORY OF THE PERSON: ANTHROPOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY and, most recently, with Nadia Urbinati an edition of Condorcet’s political writings containing his SKETCH FOR A PICTURE OF THE PROGRESS OF THE HUMAN MIND and other writings. Recently published are a revised and much expanded edition of DURKHEIM AND THE LAW co-edited with Andrew Scull and new editions in English of Durkheim’s DIVISION OF LABOR and THE RULES OF SOCIOLOGICAL METHOD with revised translations and new introductions. His most recent book is MORAL RELATIVISM. He is currently working on the sociology of morals.
No booking necessary.
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