UC Berkeley News


Joshua Cohen to present Tanner Lectures
Political philosopher, a specialist in democratic theory now teaching at Stanford, currently focuses on questions of global justice. His Berkeley lectures on 'Power, Reason, and Politics' will take place next week

04 April 2007

Joshua Cohen, a distinguished political philosopher, will present this year's Tanner Lectures on Human Values, a three-day event to be held April 10-12. Cohen's lectures will address the topic "Power, Reason, and Politics." The first lecture, on Tuesday, April 10, is "On Public Reason." The second lecture, "Democracy's Public Reason, Global Public Reason," will take place on Wednesday. Following his lectures, Cohen will take part in a seminar discussion with commentators on Thursday, April 12.

Joshua Cohen

All of these events, which are free and open to the public, will take place from 4:10 to 6:30 p.m. in the Toll Room of Alumni House.

Commentators for the lecture series will be Elizabeth Anderson, John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Charles Larmore, W. Duncan MacMillan Professor in the Humanities at Brown University; and Avishai Margalit, Schulman Professor of Philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Cohen is a renowned political theorist trained in philosophy. He specializes in democratic theory and its implications for personal liberty, freedom of expression, electoral finance, and new forms of democratic participation. Cohen is currently working on questions of global justice, including the foundations of human rights, distributive fairness, and supranational democratic governance.

Cohen received both his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Yale University in 1973, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1979. He began teaching philosophy and political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977, where he was Goldberg Professor of the Humanities. In 2006 he moved to Stanford University, where he is professor of political science, philosophy, and law, and director of the Program on Global Justice. Since 1991, Cohen has also been editor of Boston Review, a bi-monthly political, cultural, and literary magazine.

Cohen's many publications on political philosophy include several written with University of Michigan law professor Joel Rogers: On Democracy (1983); Inequity and Intervention: The Federal Budget and Central America (1986); Rules of the Game (1986); and Associations and Democracy (1995). His collected papers are forthcoming from Harvard University Press, and A Free Community of Equals: Rousseau on Democracy is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Cohen has also authored more than 70 articles and edited dozens of essay collections, many growing out of debates originally published in Boston Review.

Established by American scholar, industrialist, and philanthropist Obert Clark Tanner in 1978, the Tanner Lectures aim to advance scholarly and scientific learning in the area of human values. Berkeley is one of nine institutions to have a Tanner Lecture series; others include Harvard, the University of Michigan, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford.

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