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Leibniz Lectures 2015: Prof. Owen Flanagan

Videos for all lectures now available - please see below for links.


Prof. Owen Flanagan (Duke University, North Carolina): “The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility”

This year’s Leibniz Lectures took place on June 9th, 10th and 11th 2015.

  • June 9, 6:15pm – 8:00pm, at the Main Building of the Leibniz University Hannover, Welfengarten 1, Building 1101, Room A310.
  • June 10, 6:15pm – 8:00pm, at the Leibniz-Haus of the Leibniz University Hannover, Holzmarkt 4-6, 30159 Hannover
  • June 11, 6:15pm – 8:00pm, at the Leibniz-Haus of the Leibniz University Hannover, Holzmarkt 4-6, 30159 Hannover

(Download flyer here)


The Leibniz Lectures are organized annually by the Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW, a Working Group at the Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz University of Hannover), Leibniz University of Hannover. In these lecture series, a world-renowned researcher presents the results of his or her work in three consecutive lectures. The lectures are presented in either German or English, and they are accessible to the general public (specialized jargon is avoided as far as possible). The Leibniz Lectures will be given this year in English by Prof. Owen Flanagan. Prof. Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. He is the author of Varieties of Moral Personality (Harvard 1991), Consciousness Reconsidered (MIT 1992) and other books in moral psychology and philosophy of mind. Prof. Flanagan has lectured on every continent, except for Antarctica, which he has nonetheless visited. His current work is in cross-cultural moral philosophy. The Geography of Morals will be published by Oxford. The title of the lecture series is “The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility”. The three lectures are as follows:


THE GEOGRAPHY OF MORALS: Varieties of Moral Possibility

Gottfried Leibniz was interested in Chinese culture and philosophy and believed that we could learn from cross-cultural philosophy.  In these lectures, I explore what exactly it is that we can learn from cross-cultural moral philosophy.  There are lessons for the genealogy of morals, for normative ethics, for debates about relativism, universals, moral truth, and the metaphysics of morals.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Lecture One: On Being Trapped By One’s Upbringing.

I develop a theme from Alasdair MacIntyre that cross-cultural ethical inquiry can help avoid the common problem of “being trapped by one’s upbringing” and open up “the varieties of moral possibility.”


Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Lecture Two: Anger, The Most Destructive Emotion.

Stoics and Buddhists say anger is the most destructive emotion and can and ought to be eliminated.  I revisit arguments from Seneca and Shantideva, and consider the prospects for eliminating anger.  I consider various arguments against elimination, and argue that in the best of all possible worlds anger should go.


Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Lecture Three: Self-Variations

There is empirical evidence that different cultures conceive the “philosopher’s self” differently.  In this lecture, I describe a dozen differences that cultural psychologists and anthropologists claim to find, and then discuss what, if any, implication reflection on these differences might have for normative ethics.



Attendance is free. Registration is not required.

Organizer: Prof. Uljana Feest (feestphilos.uni-hannover.de)

For further information please contact Dr. Sheldon Chow (sheldon.chowphilos.uni-hannover.de)