Speaking Amongst Ourselves: Democracy and Law: Tanner Lectures on Human Values by Seana Valentine Shiffrin

Lecture | April 20 | 4:10-6:30 p.m. | Alumni House, Toll Room

 Seana Valentine Shiffrin, Professor of Philosophy, Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice, University of California, Los Angeles

 University of California, Berkeley

Seana Valentine Shiffrin will present a three day lecture series with commentary by Niko Kolodny, Richard R.W. Brooks, and Anna B. Stilz. This event will be held on April 18, 19, & 20, 2017. The first day's lecture is titled "Democratic Law." The second day's lecture is titled "Common and Constitutional Law: A Democratic Legal Perspective." There will be a seminar and discussion by Professor Shiffrin and the commentators on the third day, April 20th. Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

Seana Valentine Shiffrin:
Seana Valentine Shiffrin is Professor of Philosophy and Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice at UCLA, where she has taught since 1992 and is the co-director and co-founder of the UCLA Law and Philosophy Program. Shiffrin received her B.A. degree from UC Berkeley where she was the University Medalist. She attended Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar and received the B.Phil. with Distinction and the D.Phil. in Philosophy. She earned her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She teaches courses on moral and political philosophy as well as contracts, freedom of speech, constitutional rights and individual autonomy, remedies, and legal theory. She served for sixteen years as an associate editor of Philosophy and Public Affairs where she is now an advisory editor. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recent winner of the Rutter Award for excellence in teaching.

Her research addresses issues in moral, political and legal philosophy, as well as matters of legal doctrine that concern equality, autonomy, and the social conditions for their realization. She has written extensively on the morality of promising and the role of law in facilitating and fostering moral character, with a special emphasis on the connection between contracts and promises. Her recent book, Speech Matters, explored the ethics of communication and the connection between the prohibition on lying, freedom of speech, and moral progress.

About the lecture:
These lectures offer an account of democracy’s intrinsic communicative value and law’s special role in realizing that value. To nurture and sustain the social bases of self-respect and an operative sense of social solidarity, citizens must convey to each other their convictions of mutual equality, their commitments to respect their essential human needs and moral rights, and their mutual commitment to cooperate and provide every member with a stable place of belonging. The morally incumbent forms of interpersonal communication require a sort of public commitment undertaken through articulate action. Law serves as the requisite device of public communication that has qualities of substantive expression that mere discursive messages lack. Law is public, available for all to see, and takes the form of an ongoing, articulate commitment. But, for law to convey the message that citizens must convey, each of us must be able to contribute to its formation; hence, for law to play this special function, it must be democratically forged.

The first lecture traces these theoretical connections and some distinctive implications for democratic participation and respect for law. The second lecture explores two concrete implications — for contract law and for constitutional law– of a communicative conception of democratic law’s value.

 All Audiences

 All Audiences

 lectures@berkeley.edu, 510-643-7413