College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Stephen Toulmin: Orientalism and Occidentalism

Professor Stephen Toulmin gave a Gifford lecture entitled 'Orientalism and Occidentalism'.

Professor Stephen Toulmin

Event details

Lecture title: Orientalism and Occidentalism

Date: 1 March 2005, 5.15pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre A, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh


Professor Stephen Toulmin will deliver the second lecture of the Series.

Originally trained in physics, Stephen Toulmin worked on radar in World War II. On returning to Cambridge, he studied philosophy under Wittgenstein, publishing Reason in Ethics in 1949.

He has held distinguished professorships at many universities, including Leeds, Columbia, Dartmouth, Michigan State, Northwestern, Stanford and Chicago. Currently, he holds a Chair in the School of International Relations in the University of Southern California.

While at the University of Leeds he published The Uses of Argument (1958), a work that was initially shunned by philosophers but later praised by rhetoricians, particularly in the USA. Other important publications include Human Understanding (1972), Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (1990) and Return to Reason (2001).

These writings defend an alternative account of rationality in science, philosophy, politics and ethics to that offered by many post-modern theorists today. Professor Toulmin’s work has influenced scholars in several fields, including philosophy, the social science and theology.