Professor Jeremy Waldron
Professor Jeremy Waldron's Gifford Lecture series is made of six lectures under the overall title ‘One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality’.
One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality
Dates: 26, 27, 29 January and 2, 3, 5 February 2015
Time: 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Venue: Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
Jeremy Waldron is University Professor at the New York University Law School.
Until recently, he was also Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford.
Professor Waldron was born in New Zealand and has degrees in law and philosophy from the University of Otago. In the1980s he taught politics at the University of Edinburgh, and he has also held positions at Berkeley, Princeton, and Columbia.
Professor Waldron’s work in jurisprudence and political theory is well known, as are his articles on constitutionalism, democracy, homelessness, judicial review, minority cultural rights, property, the rule of law, hate speech, human dignity, and torture.
His books include Law and Disagreement (Oxford, 1999), God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke’s Political Thought (Cambridge 2002), Torture, Terror and Trade-offs: Philosophy for the White House (Oxford 2010), The Harm in Hate Speech (Harvard 2012), and Dignity, Rank, and Rights (Oxford 2012).
He has lectured widely around the world, and has delivered the Holmes Lectures at Harvard, the Storrs Lectures at Yale, and the Daniel Jacobson Lecture in Jerusalem.
Professor Waldron was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998 and in 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2011 he received the Phillips Prize from the American Philosophical Society for lifetime achievement in jurisprudence.
That humans are all one another’s equals, and that our fundamental equality makes a difference to how we ought to deal with each other and to organize ourselves legally, politically, socially and economically -- all this has been an enduring theme in Western philosophy, including Jewish and Christian thought, for thousands of years. Yet it is woefully under-explored.
In recent political philosophy, a tremendous amount of energy has been devoted to equality as an economic or social aim. People ask whether equality of wealth, income, or happiness is something we should aim for; whether it is an acceptable aim in itself or code for something else, like the mitigation of poverty; whether it implies an unacceptable levelling; and whether, if achieved, it could possibly be stable. People also ask how it is related to other social values such as efficiency, liberty, and the rule of law. Such questions are important. But there has not been nearly enough discussion of the fundamental idea of equality that underlies all this.
These lectures are an attempt to remedy that shortfall. In the lectures I will be asking: What does it mean to say we are all one another’s equals? Does a sense of equality distinguish humans from other animals? On what is this human equality based? Is it a religious idea? Is it a practical commitment? Is it just a matter of human rights? Is there supposed to be some shared feature that all human beings have in common? And if we take that approach, what are we to say about our brothers and sisters who suffer from profound disability—whose human claims seem to outstrip any particular description that they satisfy or any capacity that they have?