FLECK LECTURE: What Is the Source of Nature’s Moral Authority?

19.10.2018, 18:15-19:45
FLECK LECTURE: What Is the Source of Nature’s Moral Authority?
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Kunsthalle Zürich
Limmatstrasse 270
CH-8005 Zürich

Tel: +41 (0) 44 272 15 15
Fax: +41 (0) 44 272 18 88


Lecture by Prof. Dr. Lorraine Daston

In many cultures and epochs, natural orders have been invoked by revolutionaries and reactionaries alike as support for various political, social, and moral order: the stately movements of the stars served the ancient Stoics as the model of the good life; revolutionaries in Enlightenment America and France appealed to nature’s universal laws to justify rebellion; homosexuality has been condemned as “against nature”; recent floods and storms prompt headlines about the “revenge of nature” taken upon human greed and thoughtlessness. Yet for centuries philosophers such as Hume, Kant, and John Stuart Mill have argued that nature has no moral authority; nature simply is, and it is an error of logic to infer an “ought” from an “is”. These calls to drive a wedge between natural and moral orders have gone largely unheeded, as current debates about genetically modified organisms, new reproductive technologies, and homosexual marriage testify. Why do we continue to seek moral authority in nature, despite learned advice to the contrary?

Moderation: Hartmut von Sass

Vortrag Englisch, Diskussion Englisch / Deutsch

Prof. Dr. Lorraine Daston ist Direktorin am Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Berlin sowie Professorin an der University of Chicago.

Hartmut von Sass ist stellvertretender Direktor des Collegium Helveticum, Co-Leiter des Ludwik Fleck Zentrums, und ausserordentlicher Professor für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie an der Universität Zürich

Organisation: Ludwik-Fleck-Zentrum für Wissenschaftstheorie



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