Hans Sluga: “From Normative Theory to Diagnostic Practice”

April 14, 2012

April 04, 2012

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ABSTRACT (written by author): "From the Greeks to the present our moral and political philosophizing has been preoccupied with a search for the timeless and the universal:timeless norms of moral action and universal principles of political life. Where this may once have seemed to be a plausible undertaking, it is not obviously so any longer. A clear understanding of the nature of our rapidly changing world should alert us to the need for another form of philosophical thinking – one that pays attention to the condition in which we find ourselves and that seeks to reach practical conclusions, if any,on the basis of a proper diagnosis of the present. In place of the usual normative theorizing we need to foster, what I will call, a diagnostic practice in moral and political philosophy."

Professor Hans Sluga will be speaking at 4:00PM on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the invitation of the Philosophy Department. This event is free and open to the public.

Hans Sluga studied at Oxford University, where he became familiar with the writings of Wittgenstein. Sluga credits Sir Michael Dumment with influencing his extensive interest in Frege’s contribution to the development of modern logic and philosophy of language. During his time at Oxford he also studied under R.M. Hare and Isaiah Berlin, stirring his interest in questions of ethics and politics.

Professor Sluga’s overall philosophical outlook is radically historical as he believes that “we can understand ourselves only as being with a particular evolution and history”. As such he is drawn to the works of Nietzsche and Foucault. Sluga claims to be “attracted to a realist and naturalistic view of things rather than any sort of formalistic rationalism”.

He has recently taught courses on Political Philosophy, Nietzsche, and Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right”.