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Talk of Teaching Values

Don’t look for easy questions when the Princeton University

Center for Human Values convenes its two-day symposium, a 10th anniversary

celebration for examining issues in ethics. "We are committed

to raising and responding to some of the most difficult moral and

social challenges of our time — and all time," says Amy Gutmann,

founding director of the center.

"Examining values in a spirit of open-minded and imaginative,

careful and collaborative inquiry is what the University Center for

Human Values is all about," she says.

"Questioning Values, Defending Values," will open on Thursday,

April 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the Helm Auditorium, McCosh 50, on the Princeton

University campus. Harold Shapiro, the university’s president, will

chair a panel with these celebrity guest/thinkers: Toni Morrison and

Peter Singer of Princeton; Ruth J. Simmons, president, Smith College;

George F. Will, syndicated columnist; and Susan Wolf, Johns Hopkins

University.

An overflow audience is expected. All sessions will be simulcast live

in McCosh 28 and McCosh 46; also broadcast live on cable channel 11-A

in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township; and broadcast via the

Internet at www.princeton.edu/webmedia. Sessions continue Friday,

April 28, and are free, but preregistration is encouraged. Call 609-258-4798.

The panelists are certain to voice opinions that represent all points

on the philosophical and political spectrum. Wolf is the author of

"Freedom Within Reason," and she teaches ethics at Johns Hopkins.

Will has received the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary, and his books

include "The Woven Figure: Conservatism and America’s Fabric"

as well as a book about America’s favorite pastime, "Men at Work:

the Craft of Baseball."

Singer is the highly controversial Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics

at Princeton. His most recent book is "A Darwinian Left: Politics,

Evolution, and Cooperation," and his other books include "Animal

Liberation" and "Practical Ethics."

Simmons, who has done academic study on the schools of Haiti, was

the vice provost at Princeton before taking the post of Smith College

president. Morrison won a Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize for Literature,

and her novels include "Jazz," "Beloved," and "Paradise,"

and she also has edited works on the role of race and gender in American

culture.

The discussion turns political on Friday, April 28, at 9:30 a.m.,

when a panel entitled "What Do Citizens Own Their Constitutional

Democracy?" will be chaired by Josiah Ober, with George Kateb,

Kathleen Sullivan, Michael Walzer, and David Wilkins.

Ober teaches classics at Princeton and wrote "The Athenian Revolution"

and "Fortress Attica." Kateb teaches politics at Princeton,

and his books include "Utopia and its Enemies" and "The

Inner Ocean."

Walzer is a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced

Study and has written "Just and Unjust Wars" and "On Toleration."

Wilkins teaches at Harvard Law School and has written articles on

the role of legal education in shaping the values of values of Black

corporate lawyers.

On Friday at 11:15 a.m., Harry G. Frankfurt, Princeton professor of

philosophy, will moderate a discussion on "How Should We Address

the Greatest Evils and Injustices of Our Time?" with panelists

K. Anthony Appiah, Frances M. Kamm, Glenn C. Loury, and Avishai Margalit.

Frankfurt is author of "The Importance of What We Care About."

Appiah is professor of philosophy and African-American studies at

Harvard and co-editor with Henry Louis Gates Jr. of "The Dictionary

of Global Culture." He also wrote "Color Conscious: The Political

Morality of Race," co-authored with Amy Gutmann.

John Cooper, a classical philosophy professor at Princeton,

chairs the 2:15 p.m. discussion on "What’s Public? What’s Private?"

The panel also includes Charles Fried, William A. Galston, Connie

S. Rosati, and Alan J. Ryan. Fried is a Harvard Law School professor

who wrote "Order and Law: Arguing the Reagan Revolution."

Galston directs the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at

the University of Maryland and is the founding co-editor of "The

Responsive Community." Rosati, who teaches at the University of

California, Davis, has written an article entitled "Internalism

and the Good for a Person." Ryan, who is Warden of New College

at Oxford University, has written books on John Stuart Mill and John

Dewey.

Perhaps the most controversial question will be whether popular culture

should support morality. Joyce Carol Oates, who is drawing both criticism

and applause for her semi-fictional study of Marilyn Monroe, entitled

"Blonde: a Novel," will be on that 4 p.m. panel. It also includes

Caryl G. Emerson, David Bromwich, J. Peter Euben, and Nancy L. Rosenblum.

Emerson, who chairs the panel, teaches Slavic languages and comparative

literature at Princeton and has written on the life of Musorgsky.

Bromwich teaches English and law at Yale and has written books on

Hazlitt and Wordsworth.

Euben’s titles have included "Corrupting Youth: Political Education,

Democratic Culture, and Political Theory;" he teaches at University

of California at Santa Cruz. Rosenblum is author of "Membership

and Morals: the Personal Uses of Pluralism in America," and she

is a political science professor at Brown.

In her work for the center Gutmann has tried to draw from all the

disciplines — the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences

— to address these issues. "Over a decade, the work of the

University Center has radiated out into all divisions of the university

and, through our publications and events, into the public realm of

educated discourse," she says. In addition to being the founding

director of this center, Gutmann teaches politics at Princeton and

co-authored a book with one of the panelists, K. Anthony Appiah. She

has also written "Democratic Education: Democracy and Disagreement"

with Dennis Thompson.

More than one-fourth of the university’s undergraduates enroll each

year in courses that the center either sponsors or cosponsors. For

many of the lectures — such as the Tanner and Moffett lectures

— attendance by the general public is encouraged.

Don’t look for hard and fast answers, because firm conclusions serve

only to exclude those who are still asking questions. "By emphasizing

the provisional nature of our responses," says Gutmann, "we

hope to encourage as many people as possible to join us in the ongoing

endeavor of discerning the worth of what is humanly possible and the

limits of what is morally defensible."

"People want to be part of this discussion," says Gutmann.

"They want to participate in this search for greater moral and

ethical understandings. We have not had to convince them that this

is important. We just try to broaden the discussion, to give it depth."

Questioning Values, Defending Values, Princeton University

Center for Human Values , Helm Auditorium, McCosh 50, 609-258-4798.

Preregister. Free. Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28.


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